Hawthorn Tea Benefits & Recipe: Everything You Need to Know About Hawthorn Berries in Tea
Hawthorn tea bridges the gap between ancient traditions and modern wellness.
Steeped in history, this unifying brew combines the oft’ strained worlds of herbal remedy, medicinal treatment, and nectarous taste.
In fact, it blends even more than that.
Fruity meets floral. West meets East. Softly sweet … with a touch of tart.
Unfortunately, very few people understand hawthorn berry tea’s powerful health benefits; let alone have experienced them. Whether you’re a seasoned tea enthusiast or a curious novice, that’s exactly why this guide exists.
Together, let’s explore its origins, the art of brewing & the benefits of hawthorn tea.
- What Is Hawthorn Tea? Meet the Hawthorn Berry
- How to Make Hawthorn Tea? Preparation & Recipe 🍵
- Why Put Hawthorn Berries in Tea? Health Benefits vs Side Effects
What Is Hawthorn Tea? Meet the (Mighty) Hawthorn Berry
History & Origins
Scientifically classified as crataegus monogyna, hawthorn berries have a rich history that spans continents and cultures. Also known as the hawberry — derived from “haw,” an old English name for hedge — other names include quickthorn, thornapple, May-tree, whitethorn, and Mayflower.
As a member of the Rosaceae family, the hawthorn plant originated from temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere: Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America.
Ancient civilizations have long revered the hawthorn tree …
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
“Shān zhā” in Chinese, the dried fruits of crataegus pinnatifida have been used in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, dating back to 659 AD. In TCM, hawthorn fruit is commonly recommended to improve digestion and blood circulation as well as to treat heart problems such as high blood pressure.
European Herbal Practices
Likewise, the hawthorn shrub’s leaves, berries, and flowers have a storied past in Europe and North America to support heart health – most notably, heart disease and heart failure symptoms.
Today, that reverence continues thanks to its nutritional benefits and a growing body of scientific evidence. In other words, hawthorn berries aren’t just historically significant; they’re nutritionally rich too.
Packed with antioxidants, flavonoids, and vitamins, these berries are a powerhouse of health benefits — not to mention caffeine free.
They contain essential nutrients like vitamin C, B vitamins, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. The presence of bioflavonoids — oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) and quercetin — makes them especially beneficial for heart health.
As a fruit tea, it’s made by steeping dried or fresh berries in hot water. Unlike teas derived from the camellia sinensis plant (like black, green, or oolong tea), hawthorn berry tea does not contain caffeine.
When it comes to taste, hawthorn berry tea offers a unique flavor profile. The tea has a mildly tangy taste with a hint of sweetness, reminiscent of overripe apples or a blend of berries.
The flavor can vary based on the ripeness of the fruit, the concentration of the brew, and the steeping duration. Some describe it as a mix between rose hips and cranberries, with a slightly earthy undertone.
Herbal vs Organic
Hawthorn berry tea is an herbal infusion. While all organic teas are free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, not all herbal teas are organic.
Organic hawthorn berry tea ensures that the berries are grown without the use of chemicals, preserving their natural goodness. Additionally, organic certification often means that the product is non-GMO, ensuring that the hawthorn berries have not been genetically modified and maintain their natural genetic integrity.
Hawthorn Hibiscus Tea
You’ll often see hawthorn and hibiscus tea bundled together. Not only sold together but discussed in tandem, too. Why? Because both have been used to support cardiovascular health.
Given their complementary benefits, they’re often combined in herbal tea blends to promote a strong heart.
How to Make Hawthorn Tea? Preparation & Easy Recipe
Foraging by the Hawthorn Leaf
For those adventurous at heart, foraging for hawthorn berries can be a rewarding experience. You can identify the hawthorn tree by its lobed leaves, thorny branches, and clusters of red or black berries.
Consult a local plant expert or use a reliable plant identification guide. Remember, while hawthorn berries are edible and beneficial, some wild berries can be toxic … don’t send yourself to the hospital.
Preparing Hawthorn Berries
Once you’ve sourced your hawthorn berries, whether through foraging or purchase, it’s time to prepare them for brewing. Fresh berries can be rinsed and used immediately, while dried berries might need a quick inspection to remove any stems or leaves.
Storing & Preserving
If you have an abundance of fresh berries, you might want to consider drying or freezing them for future use. So, what’s the difference?
Drying hawthorn berries
Spread cleaned berries in a single layer on a tray and place them in a warm, airy location, or use a dehydrator. Once thoroughly dried, they can be stored in airtight containers away from direct sunlight.
The benefit of drying is that it concentrates the flavors and allows for long-term storage without the need for refrigeration. However, some of the berries’ nutritional content might be reduced during the drying process.
Freezing hawthorn berries
After washing and removing any damaged berries, place them in freezer-safe bags or containers and store them in the freezer.
Freezing retains most of the berries’ nutritional value and ensures they remain fresh for up to a year. The drawback is that it requires adequate freezer space, and the texture of the berries may change upon thawing.
Recipe for Hawthorn Berry Tea
Serving size: One cup of tea (or more)
1. Gather Your Ingredients
Ensure you have hawthorn berries (either dried or fresh) and water. Feel free to include optional ingredients like honey, a lemon slice, or a cinnamon stick for additional flavor.
2. Measure the Berries
For dried berries, use 1 teaspoon for every cup of water. For fresh berries, use a handful (approximately 10-15 berries) per cup.
3. Prepare the Berries
If using fresh berries, rinse them thoroughly under cold water. If dry, remove all stems and leaves.
4. Crush the Berries
Lightly crush the fresh berries to release their flavors. If using dried berries, simply measure out the required amount.
5. Boil the Water
In a kettle or pot, bring the desired amount of water to a boil.
6. Add the Berries to a Teapot
Place the prepared berries in a teapot or heat-proof container.
7. Pour the Boiling Water
Pour the boiling water over the berries in the teapot or container.
8. Steep the Tea
Cover the teapot or container and let the tea steep for 10-15 minutes. The longer you steep, the stronger the flavor.
9. Strain and Serve
Using a strainer, pour the tea into cups, ensuring that the berries are left behind. Now’s also the time to add any additional ingredients if desired.
10. Enjoy Your Brew!
Sip your hawthorn berry tea, savoring its unique tangy flavor while benefiting from its health properties.
Why Put Hawthorn Berries in Tea? The Health Benefits vs Side Effects
1. Rich Antioxidant Properties
Hawthorn berry stands out as a potent source of polyphenols — powerful antioxidant compounds predominantly found in plants. These antioxidants play a crucial role in neutralizing unstable molecules known as free radicals.
The presence of these antioxidants offers a protective shield against various health issues.
Polyphenols have been linked to a myriad of health benefits. From reducing the risk of certain cancers and type 2 diabetes to preventing asthma, infections, heart problems, and premature skin aging, the benefits are vast and varied.
2. Heart & Cardiovascular Health
Historically, hawthorn berry has been a cornerstone in traditional medicine, especially in the treatment of heart conditions associated with high blood pressure. Modern research echoes this sentiment, highlighting the berry’s ability to act as a vasodilator.
Relaxing constricted vessels lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow.
Additionally, the berry’s potential in improving blood cholesterol levels cannot be understated. By keeping cholesterol levels in check, they play a pivotal role in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by plaque buildup in blood vessels, which can lead to severe cardiac events.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Wellness
In the realm of natural remedies, hawthorn berry emerges as a potential anti-inflammatory powerhouse. Chronic inflammation, often lurking silently, is a precursor to numerous diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers.
Preliminary research, encompassing test-tube and animal studies, suggests that hawthorn extract can combat inflammation, offering a beacon of hope for those plagued by inflammatory conditions.
4. Digestive Aid & Gut Wellness
For centuries, the humble hawthorn berry has been revered as a remedy for a spectrum of digestive issues, with indigestion and stomach pain being the most prominent.
The berry’s fiber content is a godsend for digestion.
Not only does it alleviate constipation, but it also acts as a prebiotic, fostering the growth of healthy gut bacteria. This symbiotic relationship promotes a robust digestive system, facilitating optimal nutrient absorption and overall well-being.
5. Potential Treatment for Anxiety
In the ever-evolving landscape of natural treatments, hawthorn berry is being closely examined as a potential remedy for anxiety disorders. Some studies, albeit in their nascent stages, suggest that its extract, especially when combined with other natural ingredients, can significantly dial down anxiety levels.
What sets hawthorn apart is its minimal side effects juxtaposed against anti-anxiety medications.
This characteristic positions it as a promising candidate for treating not just anxiety, but also depression. As with all natural remedies, it’s imperative to tread with caution and seek professional advice before embarking on a hawthorn-infused journey to mental well-being.
Possible Side Effects
Some individuals might experience mild digestive upset after consuming hawthorn berry or its supplements. Others might notice symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, or headaches.
Hawthorn has the potential to interact with certain medications, especially those prescribed for heart conditions.
For instance, when taken alongside medications that regulate blood pressure, hawthorn might amplify their effects, leading to excessively low blood pressure. Similarly, there could be interactions with medications that treat chest pain or other cardiac issues.
It’s also worth noting that while hawthorn tea offers numerous cardiovascular benefits, those with severe heart conditions should approach with caution. There’s a possibility that high doses might exacerbate heart irregularities or the effects of cardiac medications.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid hawthorn supplements, as there’s limited research on its safety for this demographic.
Research & Further Reading
- Roles and Mechanisms of Hawthorn and Its Extracts
- Hawthorn as an Herbal Remedy (Poison Control)
- Crataegus Extract: An Overview (Science Direct)
- Hawthorn Information from Mount Sinai, New York
- 9 Impressive Health Benefits of Hawthorn Berry
- WebMD: Hawthorn Overview, Uses & Warning
- Verywell Health: The Health Benefits of Hawthorn
- NCCIH Clearinghouse: Hawthorn Summary
- Dr. Axe: 5 Hawthorn Berry Health Benefits
- Herbal Academy: The Heartfelt Hawthorn Berry
- Hawthorn Berry Profile (Mountain Rose Herbs)
- Hawthorn: Plant Intelligence for Heart Health
- Hawthorn Berry Herbal Information (Annies Remedy)
- Benefits of Hawthorn for the Heart (Traditional Medicinals)
This article is intended for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content provided herein does not cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, or adverse effects related to hawthorn berry tea.
It is not intended to endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.
Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, those taking medications, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and individuals with allergies should consult with a qualified healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before consuming hawthorn berry tea or any other herbal supplements to avoid potential adverse reactions or interactions.
The author and publisher of this article disclaim any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of the information provided, and assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other reliable sources and to direct any questions concerning their personal health to licensed healthcare professionals.
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