Plant Meditation: Hawthorn, Traditional Western Herbalism

Article published at: Dec 31, 2023 Article author: Lily Michaud
Hawthorn Plant Meditation illustration by Lily Arati Michaud
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Hawthorn is a favorite herb. I have used it a lot personally and in my herbalism practice. This was a heart warming plant meditation! I learned a new areas of help that hawthorn can offer physically, and was in tears at times with the gifts hawthorn gives emotionally. I am very grateful for the openness and vulnerablity of the group.


We drank the unknown infusion, meditated for ten minutes, and shared experiences. We the repeated the process. The plant was revealed to be hawthorn leaf and flower.

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Hawthorn Plant Meditation group, Portland Oregon December 2023

Here is our group doing the first National University of Natural Medicine gathering for plant meditation.


Meditation from the group:

Tastes: light, twig taste, floral, dry. Felt the plant was grown in an arid area*. 

Body sensation: bone layer**, teeth getting bleached***, head, heart. Visual and sensation of the heart pumping inside author's chest, first the bottom, then the top. 

Thought themes: Recognizing patterns of worry. Realizing it was possible to let go of worry (seeing emotional pattern, holding, accepting, release). Memories of times that more was given than received in love efforts (seeing, acceptance, being held by the awareness). Creative process imperfections were seen as part of the harmonious flow of expressing (seeing the pattern of imperfection, seeing this as part of the process, warmth/holding in the awareness). The trees will be one person's nuisance, another's blessing. Heart being sent ducks (all different kinds--mallards, carvings, rubber, etc). Recollecting ancestor who carved ducks. Personally: "The heart is always moving, sending stuff out. But you have to keep filling it too." "You can't just keep burning things, you have to put in good stuff too." Heart being filled with seeds (all kinds--pomegranates in relation to the Plant Meditation Club) and sending them out. Seeing all the seeds the hawthorn produces, enough to fill a valley with trees. 


Hawthorn Plant Meditation Illustration by Lily Arati Michaud

My illustration of hawthorn, crataegus, based on my plant meditation experience with the group. 


The heart is always half filling and half emptying. See yourself coming into full heart. You must be giving and receiving. Your heart energy is full, white light. Always in use, always circulating energy. Giving with love, receiving with gratitude. If a heart is always moving, always emptying out half of its contents, how to we stand it full heart? The energy of the heart space is strong, open. We can see and accept our emotional selves with our foibles. We see our outward expressions of feeling, whether creative, nurturing, or romantic, as beautiful in their imperfection. We understand we are process and the process does not have to be heavy, hard, worrisome. We can let that go. We stand with openness to receive. We can stay centered and be open to receiving.

Hawthorn in flower.

Reality check, does our intuition match up? 

Hawthorn is time-honored as the primary heart remedy (physically and emotionally). It is a safe, food herb, and can be taken long term. 

*Hawthorn grows in the United States from Vermont to Texas. It prefers a moist climate but, once established is tolerant of many climates. It is possible the harvest we were drinking came from a drier climate, it came from Chile.

I was not aware of the use of Hawthorn in bone and dental health. Here are a few studies showing this is under investigation. Poor rodents!

**Study showing hawthorn's "obvious" ability to positively impact bone marrow in mice, during a 24hr period. 

***Study showing that topical application of hawthorn on rat teeth reduced alveolar bone loss.

Traditional Use: 

Early leaves are called bread-and-cheese and make a nice snack.

The leaves are a remedy for thorn pokes, including Hawthorn's own.

Make a syrup of the flowers.

Make a tincture of the berry. Take in the morning and before bed 10-20 drops for food allergies, inflammation, waking in the middle of the night and having difficulty getting back to sleep, heart ailments. 

I love to harvest hawthorn berries for tincture every year on my birthday, the autumnal equinox. I also like to prepare hawthorn rose hip conserve


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