Home Made Hawthorn Remedies For Blood Pressure and Heart

Natural Herbal Remedies

‘Hawthorne for the Heart’s Woes’, methinks.  Hawthorn is considered by many herbalists to be ‘the traditional organ remedy for the heart’, whether the problem be of a physical or emotional origin.

As my Uncle Ivor used to say, ‘It’s very good for what’s wrong with you’.

Botanical names for Hawthorn: Crataegus Oxyacantha. Crataegus Monogyna.

The common Hawthorn is also known as the ‘Mayflower’, because it flowers in May, in Britain, from whence it originates.  The famous pilgrim ship to America was named ‘The Mayflower’ after the English Hawthorn bush.

Hawthorn is a wonderful remedy which has been known since ancient Roman times.  For strengthening the heart, for circulation problems, and stabilizing the  blood pressure, there is no other herb that can beat Hawthorn for its safe and tonic effect.

It was known as a gout medicine around 1695, according to Robert Barnett.  He also says that Hawthorn is used in Chinese medicine for what they call ‘food stagnation’ of the gut and intestines.

Homeopathic Crataegus   Homeopaths often use Hawthorn (Crataegus) combined with Arnica, which  is considered to be a mild heart tonic.

General Tonic For The Blood: Hawthorn Berries and the leaves are rich in antioxidant flavanoids.  These chemicals, plus its abundant Vitamin C and B content, and trace elements such as iron, make the Hawthorn a great blood cleanser and general tonic.

Insomnia and Nervous Depression:  Hawthorn can be helpful as a tonic for the relief of these aforesaid conditions, since Hawthorn has a mildly sedative effect on the nervous system.  The homeopathic combination of Crataegus and Arnica would be an efficacious remedy for treating nervous conditions and insomnia:  The Arnica would enhance the sedative and calming effect of Hawthorn.

High Blood Pressure: People suffering hypertension, or high blood pressure, would do well to begin drinking  Hawthorn tea, simply made with the Hawthorn leaves  and mixed with some peppermint or spearmint herb for flavour. Below is a recipe to make palatable Hawthorn tea.

Note:  Do not begin using Hawthorn tea, or using the tincture, if you are already on prescription medicine of some sort.  Doubling up on a remedy which affects blood pressure may not be helpful.  The cardiac glycoside drugs such as Digitalis or Digoxin should not be mixed with herbal medicines which will do the same thing. Ask your doctor or naturopath about using Hawthorn if you are taking medication.

Low Blood Pressure:  Hawthorn Tea is equally good for treating low blood pressure, according to Louise Tenney and other herbalists.

Hypoglycaemia: Whilst Hawthorn can be helpful for normalizing either low or high blood pressure, it can  also have a stabilizing effect on the blood sugar levels.  It is a useful herb for treating hypoglycaemia, when the blood sugar levels plummet from high to low, leaving the person feeling lifeless and depressed.

Tasty Hawthorn Tea Combination

Crumble  1/4 cup  of dried Hawthorn leaves into the teapot. You can use your fermented leaves if you have them – see the previous post on making fermented Hawthorn tea leaves.

Add 1/4 cup of fresh or dried Peppermint or Spearmint leaves.

Pour over 4 cups of boiling water.

Leave to infuse for 5 minutes, then add the juice of one lemon and a tablespoonful of honey.

Drink one cup of this tea three or four times a day as a general tonic.

Hawthorne Tea To Help Lower Blood Pressure

Pour 250 mls of boiling water over either dried leaves, flowers or berries of Hawthorn, or a mixture of these.

Infuse for 20 minutes, then strain off the tea.  Drink two or three cups of cold tea per day over a period of around two months or so to help reduce high blood pressure. (see ‘Your Complete Guide To Natural Health’)

Hawthorn Tea To Help Angina and Arrhythmias

Use two teaspoons of Hawthorn berries.  Pour over 250 mls of boiling water and leave to infuse for twenty minutes.

Strain the tea.  Drink cold.

‘Your Complete Guide To Natural Health’ recommends drinking two or three cupsful of this tea each day, one cup at a time, of course,  for around two months or so, for the effect of helping the conditions of angina and arrhythmias.

Home Made Hawthorn Tincture – Heart Remedy

See the previous post for another method of making Hawthorn tincture.  This simple recipe here below is adapted  from one found in ‘Your Complete Guide To Natural Health’. International Masters Publishers, Auckland, NZ.  No date.

Take a clean jar with a screw top lid.

Put in 20 gms of dried Hawthorn, leaves and flowers. Crumble the herbs a little.

Cover the herbs with vodka.

Screw on the lid.

Shake every day for 10 days.

Strain into a clean, dry bottle.

To strengthen the heart, take between 20 to 40 drops in a little water three times a day.

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Olive Leaf Tea

Olive Leaf Benefits Health:

The value of olive oil in treating gall bladder and liver disfunction and in strengthening the heart is discussed on several other posts on this site. Olive oil is well known as having value as a detoxifier of these organs  and as a laxative. Olive oil is a natural liver cleanser.

But today, let’s look at the benefits to the health in using olive leaves as an infusion and as a tea.

Olive Leaf Is a Natural Antiseptic

Olive leaves are a natural antiseptic. Leaves of the species olea europaea, from the Oleaceae family, can be infused in boiling water to make an antiseptic solution. This infusion, once it has cooled, can be used to bathe sores and cuts and bruises.

Circulation: A well as lowering the blood pressure, this olive leaf infusion can help to improve circulation. It is therefore a good remedy for varicose veins. It can be used externally to bathe varicose veins and to use as a footbath. A footbath of olive leaf infusion can help relieve varicose veins and improve circulation to the legs.

Olive Leaf Tea can be taken internally to help lower blood pressure, and improve circulation, provided you are not already on any medication to alter your blood pressure. Check with your health professional before using olive leaves to lower your blood pressure.

Olive Leaf Tea is rich in nutrients, one of which is an antioxidant called Oleuropein. Olive leaf tea is a tonic which can help reduce free radical damage. It is also a relaxant which can soothe frayed nerves.

Olive leaf tea, and also olive oil itself, is a gentle and safe natural laxative.

Olive Leaf Tea can be made from any of the following varieties of olive tree:

Olea Arbequisa: This comes from Catalonia in Spain. It produces a small brown olive fruit.

Olea Kalamata: This variety comes from the Kalamata region in Greece. It has a large black fruit.

Olea Picholine: This variety is French. Its fruit is a longish green olive.

Massage For Meridian Health

Meridians and Massage for Health.

The science of Meridians and their pressure points dates back to ancient Tibetan medicine.  The same science forms the basis of Japanese Shiatsu and Chinese Acupuncture.

Massaging the meridian lines can do much to improve the health of the body and the mind. Sometimes, when we are feeling poorly,  we find that no medicine or herb or diet will make any  difference to our health.  This is usually because the meridian energies have become out of balance:  a treatment of the appropriate acupressure points by a professional Shiatsu practitioner, or an Acupuncturist, can often work wonders in these cases, having the effect of restoring us to total health again.

However, much can be done to improve your health  and sense of well-being by practicing Shiatsu, or  ‘DoIn’  self massage and acupressure at home.

Shiatsu Leg Massage: Here is a very simple Shiatsu leg massage treatment  which you can do in about the same  time that it takes to brush your teeth.  This leg massage  has enormous benefits, as it energises several meridians which run along the legs.  These are the Liver and Spleen meridians, and the Gall Bladder Meridian.  The Stomach Meridian is also affected by this massage, and so this routine will  benefit your digestion.

The Method for Stimulating the Meridians on the Legs:

  • With the knees slightly bent, lean forward a little and rub the base of the spine, including the kidney area, with the backs of the hands. Move about the lower back in a circular motion.  Do this until you feel some warmth emanating from the back.
  • Now, still with the knees bent,  put one hand on the knee.  With the other hand, gently tap the same area of the lower back with your bent knuckles,  covering  the base of the spine,  the kidney area, and hips and buttocks.  This routine is very good for the kidneys and the kidney meridian, as it improves circulation to the area.  It also helps to energize the nervous system.
  • With the legs slightly apart and the knees bent, lean forward and tap the backs of the legs with the fists.  Begin at the top of the thigh at the base of the buttocks, and continue the tapping movement down the back of the legs to the heels.  This helps the bladder meridian and encourages circulation of blood and lymph in the legs.
  • The next phase of the massage  is to tap the inside of the legs, beginning from the ankles and tapping all the way up the inside of the legs  to the groin.  This energises the Liver and Spleen meridians.
  • Now the Gall Bladder meridian benefits by a tapping down the sides, from the lower hip area to the ankles.
  • Continue up the inside of the legs from the ankles to the top of the leg, stimulating the Liver and Spleen meridians again.
  • Now finish off the leg massage by tapping down the front of the legs, down to the ankles, and then up the inside of the legs again.  The front of the legs takes care of the Stomach meridian.

General Tone-Up on ST36 –  Shiatsu Treatment: The next step is to sit on the floor.  Give some acupressure to the point ST36 which is four finger widths  down from the knee cap.  This is located on the stomach meridian which runs along the tibia bone.  The point ST36 is a helpful point to use in cases of varicose veins, as it helps relieve aching and tired legs.

Foot Shiatsu Treatment:  This treatment tones up all the meridians which run to the end of the toes.  Your fingers,  which are wound around the toes,  exert pressure which  massages all these meridians.

Method:  Bend the right knee and bring the ankle up over the left knee and thigh area so that you can massage the foot.  Support the right ankle with the right foot, thenusing the left hand over the sole of the foot, place a finger between each toe.   Put the little finger of the left hand between the little toe and the next, and the other fingers between each of  the other toes.  Breathe in and gently move the foot around in a circular motion, breathing out in a long slow exhale through pursed lips, just as if you are whistling.  Take a breath in, and then rotate the foot in the other direction, again, breathing out through pursed lips as if you are whistling.

Repeat three times in each direction,  gently stretching  the foot using these circular motions, whilst  holding the foot with the fingers between the toes.

Now press the centre of the sole of the foot with the thumb, aiming at the KID1 point, or ‘Gushing Spring’ which is a vital kidney point.  This is found down from the base of the second toe, about a third of the way down the foot from the toes, just by the big joint at the base of the big toe.  It is almost at middle distance from each side of the foot. Three or four presses on this point will be enough.

Do the same routine with the left foot over the right thigh, left hand supporting the ankle, and the right hand fingers intertwined between the toes.

Hawthorn Berries

The Hawthorn Tree, a Rosaceae.

Crataegus Monogyna and Crataegus Oxycanthoides are two common types of Hawthorn which grow in many parts of the Middle East, Europe, India, Africa and Asia. Its Chinese pharmaceutical name is fructus crataegi, commonly called shan zha in Chinese medicine.

The Hawthorn tree has special significance  as a healing herb in the West, because, in the Christian tradition,  it was supposed to have formed the Crown of Christ. It is known as ‘the Mother of the heart’ , perhaps with reference to the Virgin Mary, in traditional Western  herbal medicine.

Hawthorn trees can be anything from the size of a bush to the size of a large tree, depending on where they are grown, and what the genus is.

Hawthorn berries, with their  hard texture, and attractive,  rich,  robust, cherry-like appearance,  are great to use  for decorative purposes.  However,  all the parts of the plant can be used medicinally,  the flowers, leaves and the berries. Note:  Hawthorn should be used  as an  herbal medicine only under the guidance of a professional herbalist, or other health practitioner, especially if you are already taking other medications.

Valuable Nutrients in Hawthorn: Hawthorn berries are rich in sugar and Vitamin C.  They also contain malic acid, citric acid, iron, calcium, carotene, riboflavin and traces of niacin.

Are Hawthorn berries poisonous? Apparently not, if you can believe that  Hawthorn berries were ground and added to British bread in the first world war, which had the effect of ‘keeping down the blood pressure of the population as a whole’, according to Jade Britton, Tamara Kircher, and Edward Linkner M.D., who co-wrote ‘The Complete Book of Home Herbal Remedies’ published by Universal International Pty. Ltd, NSW, Australia, 1998.

These authors also state that ‘there are no adverse effects from long-term use’. Even if you should stop taking hawthorn, after having used it for a while,  there are no side effects according to these experts.

Hawthorn berries, and other parts of the plant have been widely used for their therapeutic action on the cardiovascular system.  It has the effect of normalizing blood pressure, whether it be too low or too high. It is a good medicine to take to help treat varicose veins because it improves the circulation, whilst having a normalizing effect on the blood pressure.

In Chinese medicine, Hawthorn is sometimes used to aid the digestive system, especially where digestion of meats and fats is poor.

Hawthorn is slow in its therapeutic and tonic effect, and generally, it is taken over a period of time to help the cardiovascular system and things like varicose veins and poor circulation.

According to The Complete Book of Home Herbal Remedies, it can be used as a heart medicine for angina, irregular heartbeat, congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy. But of course, under expert supervision, especially if you are already taking other medications.

Varicose Veins Treatments

Techniques which improve the circulation are  the most important of Varicose Veins Treatments.

You can look at merrilyn’s posts  entitled ‘Causes of Varicose Veins’ and ‘Yoga for Varicose Veins’ for more information on how to improve the condition of varicose veins.

Here are some more ideas for varicose veins treatments which have not been covered fully in the other posts.

Hydrotherapy: The Foot Bath:  The simple foot bath can be done at home at any time to help relieve aching varicose veins.  The foot bath on its own will  improve the circulation, and help to reduce swelling and pain, but we can enhance the therapeutic action by adding certain herbs and spices.

Try and do this hydrotherapy treatment once a day, or twice if your condition is very bad.

Get two large bowls or buckets, big enough for your feet to sit in comfortably, and more.  Half fill one of the containers with cold water. Half fill the other with hot water which is at a comfortable bathing temperature.

Add half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and half a teaspoon of ginger to the  bowl of hot water. Cayenne pepper is very good for improving varicose veins, as it helps to shrink them and reduce pain. Both ginger and cayenne pepper boost the circulation.

Begin with the feet in the cold water. Leave for half a minute, then transfer the feet into the warm-to-hot water. Leave in the hot water for a minute. Put the feet back into the cold water bucket for another minute, then return to the spiced-up hot water. You may need to add a touch of boiling water to the hot water bucket after a few minutes. Be careful to add just enough boiling water to heat up the water to a comfortable heat again. Do not have the water too hot, as this will harm your legs and possibly burn you.

Finish the hydrotherapy off with the feet soaking in the warm-to-hot water.

You can experiment using other herbs and spices in this footbath treatment. Herbs and spices which increase circulation are the ones to use here. I would use cayenne pepper in combination with either cinnamon, or ginger, turmeric, or cloves.

Note on Varicose Veins Water Temperature:   VERY HOT water should never be applied to the varicose veins.  Hot baths are best avoided.  If you are taking a bath, then the bath water should be only warm to medium hot.  Showers are considered best for people who have prominent or painful varicose veins, as showers do not prolong heat to the legs.

Massage to Soothe Veins: After the foot bath treatment, massage the legs gently with almond oil which has a few drops of rosemary oil added to it. This will soothe the veins, but also help circulation.

Cold Herbal Compress for Painful/Swollen Varicose Veins:  Make up an infusion using  healing herbs. You can use either comfrey, or borage, marigold flowers, chamomile flowers, witch hazel flowers, or use a combination if you like. Take up to half a cup of the fresh herbs. Put into a pot and add two cups of boiling water. Put on the lid. Leave on the stove to gently simmer for just one minute. Take off the heat, and leave to cool.

Soak a piece of white linen or cotton in the cold liquid. Wring out the cloth and apply it to the sore or swollen varicose vein. Put on a piece of plastic, and wrap lightly with a bandage. Leave the leg up for 20 minutes while you let the compress do its work. Take off. Repeat throughout the day as necessary. You can keep the mixture to dampen the cloth again before each application. Make up a fresh herbal mixture each day for use as compresses.

Drink Silica-rich Teas to help strengthen the veins and heal them from the inside.  Silica-rich teas are those made with  oat-straw, comfrey, borage, nettles, horsetail, chamomile and rosemary.  Drinking plenty of herbal teas such as these will not only provide you with silica and other nutrients, but also cleanse the kidneys, improve your hair growth, and help the intestinal functions.

Homeopathic Hamamelis is considered to be one of the best remedies for healing the veins. Witch Hazel is made from the same plant.  You can use Witch Hazel externally on the legs, and take the Homeopathic equivalentof Hamamelis internally.  Just three or four drops of Hamamelis 30x, three times a day until relief is felt.

Vitamin C and Vitamin E are also great supplements for helping to relieve varicose veins.

Vitamin C Dosage: Between 1000mg to 3000mg of Vitamin C, preferable a non-acidic type, could be taken until better. Calcium Ascorbate or Ester C are good ones to go for.

Vitamin E Dosage :Take the standard dose as stated on the bottle for Vitamin E – best not to give large doses of Vitamin E.

Castor Oil:  To clear the liver, gall bladder and bowels, use castor oil once a week as a remedial measure for the veins.  Congestion in the digestive system, over time, will lead to the veins becoming distended.  So to prevent varicose veins from forming, take 2 tbsps of castor oil in the morning, once a week.

For serious conditions, you could follow the Gerson programme, which uses castor oil every second day.  Gerson used this method to cure cancers, mainly, but he insists it will cure any disease if his recommendations are followed to the letter.