Black Hawthorn Berries

A native to the Pacific Northwest, black hawthorn shrubs (crataegus douglasii) are common in wooded areas on Vancouver Island. My parent’s rural property has so many hawthorn shrubs that my Grandma canned at least 5 quart sized jars of haws (the fruits) in one season. (They can also be dried for storage)

Some of the ancestors of British Columbia’s First Nations used the hawthorn’s thorns to pierce their ears, probing skin blisters and boils, or as fish hooks. The bark treated diarrhea and stomach pain, while the exceptionally hard hawthorn wood was made into tool handles and digging sticks. The haws can be made into jelly, pie, etc, but the reason my Grandma was enamored with hawthorns was due to their circulatory benefits. People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and congestive heart failure have improved their conditions with the use of hawthorn berries. (More info here)