In spring I love watching the beautiful Hawthorne trees, also known as Crataegus, come into bloom. Although the white flowers are delicate and lovely to look at, try to bring them into your house and you'll quickly be repelled by the smell of rotting flesh or other unsavoury whiffs as they dry.
These flowers attract wasps and flies as pollinators. It is not a surprise to me, however, as the Hawthorne is specific for things that are bloody, in particular the heart, the veins and the flow of blood through our body. It makes sense that the flowers would follow suit.
This tree is one of my favorite healing friends. It has long been viewed as a sacred tree, a doorway to other dimensions or ways of being. All parts of the plant, berries, leaves and flowers, can be ingested. A few drops of the tincture or flower essence are specific for a broken heart, while regular doses of it through tea or tincture will slowly and thoroughly heal all physical heart and vein conditions.
Just look at the plant when it is bare in the winter. The branches look like the web of capillaries that lace through our bodies. When the berries come in they range from bright red to black-red, and there are the thorns that poke us and make us bleed. The leaves were called “bread and butter” at one time, as the peasants could eat them quite easily when they had nothing else to eat during the day.
Considered an important tree, energetically, there are many superstitions around this plant and older cultures considered it unlucky, even dangerous, to cut one down. However, I find a certain welcoming exudes from it and draws me into its circle of friendship. This tree has been a friend to me during difficult and lonely times. Crataegus has drawn me into its shade and yielded up its leaves, flowers and berries for me to use in my own healing journey. It has been a doorway to many things for me, most particularly the portal to learning just how very capable the plants around me are of speaking to my heart and healing me.
If you are interested in learning more about the plants around us here on the West Coast of Canada, consider signing up for a Year of Healing with West Coast Herbs; a look into the plant medicine that grows abundantly around us.
Guest post by Heather Macleod from an article in the Feb'18 issue of the Herbal Collective. For more information email Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.