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Hawthorn Berries

(C) Shan sha

Part Used: fruit

Energetics: sour/heating/sour V- P+ K+ (in excess)

Tissues: plasma, blood, muscles

Systems: circulatory, digestive.

Actions: stimulant, carminative, vasodilator, antispasmodic, diuretic

Indications: heart weakness, arteriosclerosis, valvular insufficiency, hypertension, palpitations, blood clots, insomnia, food stagnation, abdominal tumors

Precautions: ulcers colitis

Preparation: decoction, powder (250 mg to 1 g)

HAWTHORN BERRIES are a good example of the stimulatory power of sour herbs for both circulation and digestion. They have a special action on the heart, strengthening the heart muscle and promoting longevity. They are particularly good for Vata heart conditions like nervous palpitation, or the heart problems of old age (the age of Vata) like cholesterol and arteriosclerosis.

In promoting digestion they help remove accumulated food masses or even tumors in the gastrointestinal tract. Yet they can help increase weight in the body and may aggravate Kapha in excess. They will also aggravate most Pitta heart conditions and heat conditions in the body generally.

They can be prepared as a tincture or herbal wine-they have an affinity for alcohol. For strengthening the heart muscles, they can be used with other heart tonics like small amounts of cardamom and cinnamon. One-half ounce of hawthorn berries can be simmered in one pint of water for 20 minutes along with one teaspoon of cinnamon and taken three times a day after meals, sweetened with honey as a heart tonic.

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