Hawthorn Berry Tincture Recipe For Heart Health

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I haven’t shared this here yet, but recently we had a major family emergency. My sister in law delivered her first child, and then immediately went into cardiac arrest. I won’t go into all of the details, but it was extremely scary.

She was diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy- pregnancy induced heart failure. She is alive thanks to a HeartMate II pump which was placed on her heart, an LVAD which assists the left side of her heart in pumping blood.

hawthorn branch with berries

Although heart disease runs in my husband’s side of the family, this was very much a shock to everyone.

This scare has caused me deep concern regarding my husband’s heart health. His father had heart disease, his aunt and uncle died from heart attacks, and now unfortunately his sister has heart problems to deal with. It breaks my heart that she has had to endure so much (incredibly courageously, I might add), and worries me greatly that it could be my husband next.

I could be him next.

I am determined to do my best to prevent that from ever happening.

Throughout this entire ordeal, I’ve been researching natural ways to heal a heart and prevent heart attacks. Two main herbs have stuck out as the best for heart health: cayenne and hawthorn berries, with garlic close behind.

Since I haven’t done anything with cayenne for heart health yet, I’m going to focus on sharing what I am trying at the moment- which is a homemade Hawthorn Berry Tincture. I do plan on working with cayenne soon, especially since I grew (and dried) a TON of it this summer!

What are Hawthorn Berries?

Simply put, hawthorn berries are small fruits that grow on shrubs and trees that are part of the Crataegus genus. A massive genus, it includes hundreds of species in Asia, North America, and Europe. Hawthorn berries are loaded with nutrients and have tangy, tart flavors and a gentle sweetness. Usually, they are a deep red in color, but you’ll also find yellow and black hawthorn berries, too.

Hawthorn berries have been used as herbal remedies for centuries. A key fixture in traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berries are loaded with polyphenols, powerful antioxidants. These have been associated with lowering your risk for certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and more.

Hawthorn berries also have strong anti-inflammatory properties and can lower your blood pressure. They can decrease fat in your blood and help with digestion, too. Not only that, but there are some emergent studies that suggest that hawthorn berries might help reduce anxiety, prevent hair loss, and treat a wide variety of other conditions, too.

You can harvest berries from all Crataegus species, or hawthorn species. You might not even know what kind of hawthorn tree you have! If you aren’t sure when to harvest your hawthorn berries, start by keeping a close eye on the tree. Ripe berries will be deep red, almost purple.

The texture will be a bit pithy, too. Bear in mind that hawthorn berries will continue to accumulate nutrients and sugars long after they ripen, so you can actually wait a week or two to collect them if you are using them in a tincture. If you are feeling ambitious, you can harvest the flowers and leaves earlier in the year, too. These can also be added to your tincture.

How to Use Hawthorn Berries for Heart Health

Before you can make and use a hawthorn berry tincture, you of course need to harvest your berries! This is fairly straightforward and simply involves plucking the berries off the tree branch and throwing them in your basket. Just be careful that you don’t prick yourself on the thorns that grow among the tree branches.

You can also order dried hawthorn berries online. The choice is yours! However, make sure you have your hawthorn berries sourced well ahead of time, as these aren’t exactly common at most grocery stores.

Some people believe that hawthorn berries are poisonous – and yes, that is true to an extent. The pits of hawthorn berries contain cyanide, just like apple seeds. In fact, apples are closely related to hawthorn berries. However, as with apple seeds, you would have to eat an exorbitant number in order to cause you any harm.

Plus, with this recipe, you’ll discard the seeds anyway – os no need to worry!

Hawthorn berries are often used to treat medical conditions, most commonly those with the heart. However, you can also treat all kinds of digestive, mental, and skin problems with hawthorn berries, too. In fact, it’s one of the oldest-known healing herbs and can improve your body’s immune and inflammatory responses.

Making a tincture is a great way to have a home remedy on hand at all times to serve a representative measure for a variety of diseases. That’s not to say that it’s the only way you can use these berries, though. You can eat raw hawthorn berries as a snack – they’ll be tart and somewhat sweet, perfect for on-the-go snacks.

You can also make tea with the berries, leaves, and flowers of the plant or bake with hawthorn berries in pie filling, syrup, and jam. Hawthorn berries can even be fermented into cocktails or as vinegars that can be used to flavor salads and meats.

I decided to make a tincture using the instructions below. It was easy enough, and my guinea pig… I mean husband… will be taking it every day to help keep his heart healthy.

Hawthorn Berry Tincture Recipe

Ingredients

  • Whole Hawthorn Berries
  • 80 or 90 proof Brandy or Vodka (any kind of alcohol will work as long as it’s 80 proof or higher)
  • Amber tincture bottle

Instructions

dried hawthorn berries

Step 1

First, measure out four ounces of dried hawthorn berries. That’s about half of the (1/2 pound) bag, or 1 cup.

I want to note that when I first opened my hawthorn bag, I immediately noticed a tiny bit of white stuff on most of the berries. It looked like mold to me, so I called Bulk Herb Store and expressed my concern. The receptionist put me on hold and consulted with Shoshanna, the herbalist who runs the store.

Shoshanna assured me that the white stuff I was seeing was actually a normal occurrence; it is seepage from within the berries, drying on the outside of the skin. Nothing to be concerned about.

covering berries with brandy

Step 2

Pour the berries into a glass container. A pint jar is convenient, because you’ll want to cover the hawthorn berries with a pint of brandy (or vodka).

Always use glass because it is an inert material. Other containers may interact poorly with the ingredients in your hawthorn berry tincture, which can cause unwanted interactions. Glass is easier to sanitize than plastic or metal, too, and you don’t have to worry about it leaching toxins into your tincture.

I recommend using an amber-colored glass bottle in particular. Cobalt is another option. I like the colored glass because it will help filter out UV light and prevent the tincture from going bad.

Step 3

Screw a lid on the jar, and store in a cool dark place for at least 2-4 weeks. Make sure you label the jar so you remember when you started it. Give the jar a good shaking every day, to help extract the juice from the berries.

hawthorn tincture finished

Step 4

Using a funnel, strain the hawthorn tincture into the tincture bottle. Store in a cool, dark place. You can store it in the fridge, but that isn’t necessary.

Shoshanna says, “The recommended daily dosage from Nutritional Herbology is 10 ml, which is approx. 2 or 2 1/2 teaspoons.”

This is a pretty strong infusion, so just remember that a little bit goes a long way. I would honestly start with a smaller dosage than two teaspoons – maybe start off with just one teaspoon to see how your body interacts. If you don’t like the taste, you can mask it by hiding it in a glass of fruit juice or adding it to a tea, like you would a honey.

Tinctures from dried herbs usually last 2-5 years. You don’t want to make a tincture with fresh herbs, or it might begin to spoil due to the excess water content.

Recipe Variations

Still not satisfied? Don’t worry – I’ll give you a few more ideas to help take your hawthorn berry tincture to the next level.

Hawthorn Berry Tincture: Zero Alcohol Recipe

If you can’t tolerate alcohol for whatever reason (or would simply prefer not to have it in your tincture) you can easily make this tincture without the alcohol.

There are several benefits to using alcohol, however. It can last up to five years in a tincture, while vinegar will only last about three years and glycerin only two. That’s still quite the shelf life, though, so even though alcohol-free tinctures don’t last quite as long, there’s a good chance that you’re going to use them up before they have expired anyway.

You can use glycerin or apple cider vinegar with the Mother. The Mother is the active part of apple cider vinegar that contains proteins, friendly bacteria, and enzymes that will improve your digestion and provide many of the same benefits in terms of potency as alcohol, but without, of course, the alcohol!

However, you won’t have any of the side effects. Plus, you’ll get all the other health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

Glycerin is a good choice if you can’t tolerate vinegar or alcohol. For example, if you’re trying to get children to take a hawthorn berry tincture with vinegar, they might not be able to tolerate the astringent taste. Glycerin tends to be much sweeter. Just make sure you use food-grade vegetable glycerin.

The recipe is simple – follow the steps above, but instead of using alcohol, use apple cider vinegar or glycerin. The ratios for mixing the tincture are exactly the same, as are the rest of the steps in the recipe.

Hawthorn/Oat Straw Herbal Infusion

Here’s another heart-healthy recipe that’s perfect on a hot afternoon!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz oatstraw infusion
  • 1 Tablespoon hawthorn tincture
  • Orange peel garnish

Instructions

Step 1: To make your oat straw infusion, place a cup of dried oat straw into a quart mason jar. Fill the jar with boiling water, put a lid on it, and let it steep for four to eight hours (you can do this overnight so you don’t have to wait around on it, if you want).

Step 2: Place some ice in your glass. Add the oatstraw infusion, hawthorn tincture (made according to the original recipe described above), and garnish with a sprig of orange. It’s as easy as that!

Holiday Hawthorn Tincture

For a delicious, festive spin on your favorite hawthorn tincture, try this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups hawthorn berries
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tbsp cardamom
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 1.75 L brandy
  • 1 lemon zest (optional)
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate juice (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dried hibiscus (optional)

Instructions

Step 1: Put all dry ingredients into a jar, about half-gallon size. Add brandy.

Step 2: Infuse for four to six weeks and shake daily.

Step 3: Strain the mixture into a new half-gallon jar. Stir in the honey, then decant into dropper bottles. Add lemon zest, pomegranate juice,and hibiscus if you wish to serve the tincture as a festive cocktail, or serve by itself for its medicinal benefits alone.

Wrap-Up

For more information on making tinctures, and how to make them using glycerin instead of alcohol, check out How to Make Herbal Tinctures.

I’m excited to get my husband on a heart healthy regimen. The amazing thing about Hawthorn is that it’s a good preventative, but it has also shown the ability to heal a weak or damaged heart. If you or a loved one has heart issues, I would definitely encourage you to look into the benefits of Hawthorn Berries.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor am I licensed to offer medical advice. Everything I am sharing here is for informational purposes only.

Do you use Hawthorn for Heart Health?

updated 08/17/2020 by Rebekah Pierce


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40 thoughts on “Hawthorn Berry Tincture Recipe For Heart Health”

  1. I harvest the leaves and flowers from wild trees that grow all over the pacific nw.used tea for high blood pressure and it worked like a charm. Now using it for edema. Works even better. I love it.

    Reply
    • Mix that original tincture with at least a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper to increase the cure time a lot.
      Also you can use 3 part garlic, 3 part hawthorn berry, 3 part red clover blossom 1 part cayenne, cover1″ with everclear alcohol or another that is at least 80 proof and let set in a dark place from full moon till new moon shaking a couple times a day. This can be taken 1 teaspoon in 4 oz warm water 4 times a day or every hour depends on how much you need. For fatty thick blood, heart, cholesterol. See Dr. Schultz herbal for lotsmoreinfo.

      Reply
  2. A clarification, please.
    The top of the article mentions taking 15 drops three times a day.
    The article Shoshanna quotes says 10 mL a day, approx. 2 or 2.5 teaspoons.
    Are these the same amount?
    Or do you do 2 tsp 3 times a day…….

    Love your website. Really helpful to me.

    Reply
  3. I just got an essential oil steam extractor and plan on making my own EO’s. I have been wondering if one could make a hawthorn EO. I have trees on my property so fresh medium is not a problem. I was thinking it would be really effective to get some Hawthorn EO and some cayenne EO mixed on the bottom of the feet in a carrier oil?

    Reply
  4. Good to read your article. Question: I’ve read that hawthorn berry seeds are poisonous(or cause great gastric upset). Yet I see different companies sell hawthorn berry powder. I assume this means the seeds are ground up too.Which is better- the whole berry or the powder, and is there any need to be concerned about the seeds?
    Many thanks,
    Patrick

    Reply
    • Patrick,

      I’m afraid I can’t really advise you on hawthorn berry seeds. If I were you, I’d call the people at the Bulk Herb Store and ask them. They have trained herbalists on hand to answer questions like this. As for whole berries vs. powder, I guess it depends on what you’re using it for. Some people like to put Hawthorn in smoothies, in which case powder would be better. But for tinctures whole berries would be better, so that you can strain them off. Hope that helps a little.

      Reply
  5. Hi just made my first hawtorn tinture two days ago, I used fresh berries and vodka 80 proof should work I hope. Seen on the net some recipes call for water so dont think fresh will matter.
    Mom had a heart attack two years ago she’s almost 91 now have her on Strauss heart drops for two years now doing pretty good still sews till 9 most days her heart was a mess multiple blockages from 100% to 68% and less, doctors won’t touch her. The main ingredient in the drops is garlic at 435 mg followed by hawthorn 36 mg also has cayenne and other ingredients. Thinking of giving her more hawthorn tincture see how that works.

    Reply
  6. Is there any way to create a tincture without using alcohol? I have found it impossible to make tea from hawthorn berries. Even if I steep them overnight, it looks as though the hard berries are not “shedding” anything. Does it need to look like something has happened? I have purchased hawthorn tea from commercial sources and have found it equally tasteless, but maybe its beneficial properties are present without any taste. I would appreciate comments. Thanks.

    Reply
    • I make Hawthorn tea by collecting the leaves and flowers usually when the Hawthorn is flowering in Spring and then dry them in a muslin bag in an airy place for four weeks or so. Apparently you can also make a tea by boiling up the berries.It makes an excellent tea I usually mix it with a few of Jasmine tea leaves and it has a very pleasant flavour – not strong but it is definitley not without taste. You can also mix it with Lindedn flowers that are also good for the hear and arteries.

      Reply
  7. Have you read that you shouldn’t eat the seeds? In my research to purchase a tree I came across data that the seeds are poisonous, maybe similarly to red elderberries.

    Reply
  8. Thanks for the info about hawthorne, that’s good to know. I think diet shouldn’t be overlooked as a major factor, though. And I don’t mean the typical recommendations of the AMA for heart healthy diet. About 15 months ago, after having a multi-year struggle with mystery health problems that doctors couldn’t diagnose or treat, I stumbled upon Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book “Eat to Live”, and started following his guidelines. My health got much better and most of the episodes of getting sick vanished. Also 30 pounds dropped off me in a couple of months, and has mostly stayed off ever since. Dr. Fuhrman claims his diet approach can mostly cure heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and a lot of other health problems. After my experience, I tend to believe it.

    Reply
  9. Kendra, I am not sure if this was mentioned in other comments, but I wanted to bring this up in case no one else did. Being a nurse, I do ask what patients are taking as far as medicine. Many will only list their prescription medications unless I ask specifically what supplements they take. I am all for using supplements, but please remember to mention all supplements you take when asked what medications are being taken. Some supplements can interact with medications already being taken or potentially prescribed medications and then horrible things could happen. ::stepping off soapbox to go take my own supplements now::

    Reply
  10. Hi Kendra, Isn’t God’s pharmacy beautiful. My husband had a heart attack back in 2003. He has been taking his meds faithfully. His heart is fine and only takes them because it’s what the Dr. said to do. He has recognized the fact that he needs to change to a more natural solution. Last year we planted 2 Hawthorn trees. Just today I strained my first Hawthorn berry tinture. The leaves and flowers also make a heart healthy tea. I wanted to have it on hand because the affordability of our insurance is iffy by Feb. 1st. I won’t give him hawthorn until he’s off his old meds since they have the same affect. I dont want to risk any interactions. Thank you so much, Kendra, for bringing this to everyone’s attention. Heart health is so important.
    Blessings

    Reply
  11. Thanks for this article!Every single person who has passed on my father’s side died from heart related issues. I ordered the berries as soon as I finished reading your article. You may have saved my life!

    Reply
  12. I looked for gold-standard research on Hawthorne Berries and heart issues and didn’t find a lot. Looks like there is some data that it may be helpful for heart failure but there isn’t enough research on other heart issues to know for sure.

    That doesn’t mean no one should use it, just that it hasn’t been proven to be helpful in gold-standard scientific research yet. Traditional medicine is very slow to study herbs so that’s not unusual. However, herbs can be potent medicines so it’s important to treat them with some caution too, esp the possibility of drug interactions.

    If anyone is on other medications already (esp BP medications, heart meds, etc.), then great caution is needed. Beta blockers, Calcium Channel Blockers, digoxin, and certain other meds are known to have interactions with Hawthorne Berries. A good consult with a practitioner is “gets” both traditional medicine and herbs would probably be useful.

    http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-527-HAWTHORN.aspx?activeIngredientId=527&activeIngredientName=HAWTHORN

    Reply
    • There is a Mexican candy called “serpentinas” made from Hawthorne (cratageous)berries and seeds, (called Tejocote in Spanish). They are ground to a pulp, then extruded into spirals then coated with something like cayenne chili with a tiny tad of sugar. They are sold in flat packages of 4 spirals. They are yummy and have been used by Mexicans for millennia to help muscles (heart is a muscle) relieve tension and even pain. They have some science-based studies by the US govt that indicates they seem to be useful as described.

      But they are a food, so safe for anyone to eat.

      Reply
    • Molly H,

      You know, I was considering how I could best use them. I’m actually thinking I’ll just keep adding Brandy to the jar as I strain it off. I figure I can probably soak the berries at least twice before refreshing the batch. I thought about dehydrating them also, and turning them into a powder to sprinkle over food or in smoothies. I don’t really know yet. What would you do?

      Reply
  13. Hi Kendra,
    So glad to hear your sister in law is doing better, she has been on my mind and in my prayers. I have studied hawthorn and you are right to use it, it is a great heart herb along with garlic. We use the garlic odorless soft gels because we use it all the time and don’t want to run our friends away. It is our #1 cold and flu fighter. Another thing hubby needs to be on is fish oil. We will talk soon. Blessings

    Reply
    • Miracle Farm Homestead,

      Hi Hope! We love garlic as well. I’m using fermented cod liver oil for Elias’ wheat allergy, and it has been AMAZING. Sometimes I give it to all of the kids, just because it’s so good for them. I’d like to get some capsules for myself. I can’t stand to drink the liquid… bleh!!

      Reply
  14. Wow! This is GREAT info!! My brother and I had actually decided that in the “near” future, we were going to find and plant hawthorn bushes so that we could start taking it, having heard how good it is for heart health. This article confirms our anxiousness to get that tincture made!

    Thanks so much, and keep the great info coming our way! Your readers are thoroughly enjoying it!

    Reply
  15. Oh boy was this a timely post! Two weeks ago my husband had one of those health scans. The results were not good. One of his main arteries leading from his heart is very blocked. He has an appointment with a cardiologist next week to find out. All 4 of his grandparents died from heart issues and 2 were quite young. My husband is only 49 and I feel like we saved him from what could have been a fatal heart attack. I have been slowly changing the way I cook from meat and potatoes based to plant based….it is hard since we grew up eating this way but it is necessary. I’m not sure if this tincture will help unclog arteries, but I’m going to give it a try! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Andrea, PLEASE do get him to start taking hawthorn tincture. And maybe do some more research into its benefits. I really feel it would help him. You may be able to find it at a local health food store, but making it yourself is incredibly easy, and probably cheaper. I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s health issue. That’s scary.

      Reply
    • Hi Andrea, Even though I am ready this two years too late I hope all is well with your DH.

      I implore you to check out Dr. John McDougall’s work at http://www.drmcdougall.com and get your man on a plant based no-fat eating plan ASAP!!Check out “Fork Over Knives”; Caldwell Essyngton and Colin Campbell. Also — all over the Youtubes.

      Reply
  16. Thank you for sharing this! We have wild hawthorns growing in our area and I’ve often wondered if they are beneficial. 🙂

    Since both of my parents, and 3 of my grandparents, have had heart problems, I think I need to start doing this.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Lisa Lynn,

      I’m telling everyone I know who has heart disease, or it runs in their family. There’s no reason not to at least try it! You’re so fortunate to have Hawthorn growing around your area. I’m gonna have to do some research into whether it grows here as well. If it doesn’t grow naturally, I am hoping I can plant some. You can also make jelly with it 🙂

      Reply

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