Cratageus spp.

Common Names: Hawthorn, May Thorn, May Blossom, May Day Flower
Family: Rosaceae
Part/s Used: Leaves, flowers, fruit 
Energetics: Warming
Taste: Sweet, sour, salty
Actions: Cardiac tonic, hypotensive, adaptogen, antispasmodic, astringent 
Constituents: Flavonoids, tannins, phenolic acids, saponins, glycosides  
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture: Fresh: 1:2   Dry (ratio & % alcohol):  1:5 50%
Drops: 10-30   Times a day: 3x

Capsules: 1-3 "00"   Times a day: 3x

Tea:  Hot/cold infusion   Ounces: 8-12   Times a day: up to 3x

Habitat and Botanical Description: 

Hawthorns are found in stream sides, moist open places, forests and meadows. The two non native, European species and most commonly used (introduced and naturalized in the PNW) are the one seeded red pommes (Crataegus monogyna) or two seeded (C. laevigata). Our two native species, black hawthorns (C. Douglasii, C.columbiana) in the PNW usually have three or more seeds and are purplish-black pomes and thorns less than 1".  Others may have thorns up to 3". The species can be used interchangeably. The white flowers have a musty floral scent and cluster by the hundreds on a single branch.  

Medicinal Uses:

Hawthorn is a mild heart tonic. It’s soothing influence on the heart makes it an excellent cardiovascular tonic and stimulant that improves the blood flow to the heart. Hawthorn is beneficial for a variety of heart conditions such as murmurs and palpitations. Hawthorn should be used slow and gradual as a long term heart tonic to prevent degenerative disorders. The benefits of hawthorn can take weeks or even months to be felt. 

Hawthorn is a subtle nervine for an over excited nervous system.  It's calming and relaxing without being overly sedative. Helps reduce elevated blood pressure, hypertension from anxiety. Start with three drops. Most say that is corrective but can exacerbate in others. Makes an excellent herbal treatment for those who are hyperactive and have a hard time concentrating and cannot sit still. To enhance the nervine properties of hawthorn combine it with herbs such as rose petals and hips, milky oats, lemon balm and passionflower.  

Hawthorn can be used as a long-term anti-inflammatory. It helps speed up the healing of wounds, injuries, bruising, broken blood vessels and helps prevent the formation of scar tissue 


Gather the flowering branches in mid spring. Tincture fresh or dry. For fresh tincture, use the leaves, small twigs, floral parts. For dry, leave the flowers and leaves on branches and place loosely in a paper bag until completely dry and then strip off. In the fall, harvest the berries before the frost when they are ripe and red but before they begin to ferment. Crataegus douglasii berries should be fully purple black. For a complete hawthorn tincture, combine the flowering tincture made in the spring with the berry tincture made in the fall. 


Herbal cordial, herbal drinks, herbal honey, elixir, jelly, herbal vinegar, wine, flower essence


Use caution with low blood pressure and slow heartbeat. Avoid with individuals taking blood pressure medication, blood thinners. Large doses of leaf and flower may cause upset stomach in some individuals, if this happens decrease amount.

Recommended Products:


  • Grieve, M. (1971). A Modern Herbal. New York, NY: Dover Publications. (Original work published 1931
  • Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Santa Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press; 1993
  • Sinadinos, Christa. The Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine. Fieldbrook, CA; 2020
  • Sinadinos, Christa. Northwest School for Botanical Studies Course. Lecture Notes; 2014

 Disclosure: This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.