Hips and Haws

With the cold weather upon us, one of my favorite things to do is to walk around and spot for the telltale signs of little red kisses of hawthorn berries and rosehips among the turning yellow of trees and bushes. Just a warm hearted reminder that there's still something left to forage before winter comes. And to top it off, they provide fantastic remedies to cheer and uplift the heart during our dreary Pacific Northwest winters. Not to mention, really does anyone need an excuse to go out to forage and explore and not stay indoors working in a stuffy insipid environment? 

Honestly, I ADORE hawthorn. And cannot tell you how nerdy and giddy I get when I do talk about hawthorn. As a kid I grew up on a candy called hawflakes as my staple ... that and black currant gummy pastilles from Ribena. Imagine me squealing in delight when I figured out that hawflakes were made from hawthorn berries!!!! My old childhood obsession just grew exponentially. I can MAKE hawflakes now... or hawthorn pastilles which resembles the flavor! And then progress to hawthorn mead, hawthorn ketchup, hawthorn and rose hip chutney...  I need no additional excuse :)

Rosehip Medicinal Properties

The rosehip is the fruit or haw of the rose plant. It is typically red to orange, but ranges from dark purple to black in some species. Rose hips begin to form after blooming of flowers in spring or early summer, and ripen in late summer through autumn. Just don't deadhead your roses after the blooms fade, and you will see these lovely red bulbs that beckon you !!!

Rosehips and petals are edible and have vitamin c (to 1.7%), vitamins b, e, and k, nicotinamide, organic acids, tannin, pectin. It's even been studied that some species of roses are able to supply as much as 1000 mg. per cup. Recent studies now indicate that taking more than 2000 mg. of vitamin C per day changes the vitamin into a pro-oxidant that actually increases cellular damage caused by unstable free radicals. Other experts seem to think that this action takes place with as little as 1000 mg. of vitamin C per day.

You'll most likely find rosehips in the grocery aisle as tea or even rosehip jam. Both fantastic uses for them. Did you know that there are other medicinal uses too?

Some medicinal uses of rosehips include:
Rosehip tincture -  an effective astringent for treating diarrhea or in relieving colic or as a component in cough remedies.
Rosehip syrup - used as a cough remedy or taken as a source of vitamin C.
Rosehip decoction -  taken with other herbs to treat chronic diarrhea associated with stomach weaknesses.

Hawthorn Medicinal Properties

Hawthorn  is the fruit or haw of the Hawthorn tree. It forms when the flowers are done blooming in spring through to early summer and you see them ripen and ready for foraging in fall through winter. Most of the time hawthorn berries over here in the North American continent tend to be of the red variety but there are black hawthorns as well. In Asia, their variety - fruits of species Crataegus pinnatifida (Chinese hawthorn) are tart, bright red, and resemble small crabapple fruits. There is also the Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica), which are sometimes used as ornamental bushes in California , which has white berries.

Hawthorn has long been widely regarded as a safe and effective treatment for the early stages of heart disease as well as a remedy for broken hearts and emotional trauma. It is used to promote the health of the circulatory system and has been found useful in treating angina, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia. It has been found to strengthen the heart and stabilize it against arrythmias.

She's also known to be the "Everything is going to be OK" plant as energetically she provides this swaddling calming effect effect. And as such is effective remedy to take away anxiety and panic attacks.

I make a combination of hawthorn and motherwort elixir which i take from time to time with my tea or just infuse dried motherwort and add in dropperfuls of hawthorn elixir on days I find myself in the midst of an anxiety storm... Inevitably, I always breathe this sigh of relief and calm as soon as I take my first sip.  

Some of my favorite uses of hawthorn include:
Hawthorn tincture
Hawthorn Elixir
Hawthorn Honey 
Hawthorn Joy Truffles
Hawthorn ketchup
Hawthorn and Rosehip chutney

Hawthorn Joy Truffles 
(good for kids and adults)

For today, I'll talk about how to make Hawthorn Joy Truffles. One of my favorite way of getting remedies to everyone - HEALING WITH CANDY!!! I mean who wouldn't say yes to these little joys! 

A really super easy dessert/candy to have on hand and it does have a long shelf life... well that's IF they aren't all swiped by your friends and family members beforehand... or maybe yourself too...

I made a huge batch for a class I was teaching and I thought oh well I can easily bring this up to share with my parents and their church friends who live up north in British Columbia. Unfortunately, in my rush to set off on my road trip, I forgot to bring the joy truffles... really what a shame, because that just left me with more to eat... ALL - BY - MY - SELF. (shh... oh wait my mother and her friends are probably going to read this...)

Way off topic - the thing about writing this blog and having Lidia's Family Table show on PBS going on in the background just makes you EVEN HUNGRIER... now I want to make mussels in tomato broth with garlic rubbed toast... back on topic...

Ok let's get a mixing and a rolling...

1 cup dried apricot (no seed)
1 cup dried dates (no seed)
1 cup raisins (golden)
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup walnuts (or almonds)
Cocoa powder (or chocolate chips)
Honey (or maple syrup if giving to young children)
*Hawthorn and Rosehip Elixir 

Grind raisins, apricots, dates and walnuts (or almonds) in food processor until rough chop. Stir in coconut , 1 tsp of honey or maple syrup and 2-3 dropperfuls or 2-3 tbsp of herbal elixir or tincture ( you can also use herbal infused honey here too).
Roll mixture into small 2inch balls and roll balls into cocoa powder.
Or if you prefer, melt chocolate chips and roll balls into melted chocolate and let sit on parchment paper till chocolate has hardened. Serve and enjoy!

*Hawthorn and Rosehip Elixir
(Are half alcohol and half honey based remedies)

1 part fresh hawthorn berries (chopped)
1 part rosehips (processed to remove seeds and hairs and chopped)
quart mason jar
1 part brandy
1 part unfiltered and unpasteurized honey 50% to top filled jars

Fill jar halfway with hawthorn and rosehips. Pour in equal parts honey and brandy and close jar. Shake to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Let infuse 2-3 weeks. And strain and bottle in dark amber bottles.

Hawthorn might decrease blood pressure. Taking hawthorn along with medication for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Hawthorn also increases blood flow. Taking hawthorn with medications that also increase blood flow to the heart might increase the chance of dizziness and lightheadedness.

As always I recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products or remedies, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.


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