Hawthorn tincture

The best hawthorn tincture is made in two parts, using the flowers and leaves gathered in spring and then adding the berries in the fall when they are ripe.

In spring: Gather the flowering tops when the blossom is fresh. Remove any large twigs, and pack into a jar. Fill the jar with vodka, put the lid on and shake the jar to remove any air bubbles. Put the jar in a cupboard for about a month, until the blossom and leaves have lost their color, then strain off the liquid and bottle it.

In fall: Put the berries in a blender with enough hawthorn flower tincture to cover (if you don't have enough, you can add vodka), and blend to a mush. Pour the mixture into wide-mouthed jars - this is important because hawthorn berries have so much pectin that the whole mixture will set solid, and you'll find it impossible to get it out of a narrownecked bottle. Leave the jars in a cool dark place for a month, then poke a knife into the jar to chop the contents enough to get them out. Squeeze the liquid out using a jelly bag - this is good exercise! If you have a juice press, use that as it will be a lot less work.

Bottle and label your tincture. This will keep for several years, although it's best to make a fresh lot every year if you can.

Dose: 1 teaspoon once a day as a general tonic; 1 teaspoon three times a day or as advised by your herbalist for circulatory problems.

BERRIES

Hawthorn fruit leather

• circulatory tonic

Hawthorn berry syrup

• hardening of the arteries

• abnormal blood pressure

anxiety, restlessness

FLOWERS, LEAVES & BERRIES Hawthorn tincture

• hardening of the arteries

• abnormal blood pressure

palpitations

• irregular heart beat

• anxiety, restlessness

• intermittent claudication

Caution: Only take hawthorn alongside beta-blockers and other cardiovascular drugs if you are under the professional supervision of an herbal or medical practitioner.

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