Monday, 30 November 2009
A few weeks back I began taking a new course at the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) - called Herbs for Everyday Living. The class is taught by a mother-daughter team, Lorne Driver-Davies and Jill Rosemary Davies, and centers on teaching general health and nutrition and how to support and supplement it using natural herbs. The class is thus far very interesting and I don't find myself dosing off a bit - thought the course runs on Friday evenings from 6:30-9pm. I can't say the same for an older man in the course who either is extremely bored or is a sufferer of narcolepsy ;)
Each class presents different health and nutritional themes, as well as a 'Herb of the Week'. The first herb of the week was Hawthorne - this tree grows profusely throughout the UK though I'm unsure that it grows elsewhere. The leaves of the plant inhibit hunger and the berries are considered a heart medicine. Taken as an decoction or a tincture, the essence of the berries oxygenates the blood, which is helpful for someone who has blocked veins and arteries due to cholesterol and other fatty buildups. It has also been proven to builds stronger vein and artery walls due to its chemical component, Rutin. If taken before or immediately after a heart-attack, it proven to lessen the trauma caused to the heart. Taken regularly it can also decrease high blood pressure and the pains caused by Angina. I also found out that Hawthorn helps to dilate blood vessels and block Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) also called blood-restricting enzyme.
Due to its blood oxygenating properties, Hawthorne can also increase attention levels and clear the mind. It was amazing how refreshed I felt after having a small cup of Hawthorne decoction!
So two weeks ago I walked down to the park and collected about 500g of Hawthorne berries to make a tincture. Over the last weeks these berries, which I pureed, have been sitting in a dark cupboard mixed with vodka and spring water. I strained the mixture last night and put the liquid back into the vodka bottle. Now whenever I need a little natural pick-me up I'll have it ready!