My dried hawthorn berries came in the mail today, so natch, I put some in jars. The berries were smaller than I expected and had a forest-like, woody smell to them. I put up a Qt of tincture which should last me and my man quite some time.
Then I decided to make some hawthorn syrup. I put about a cup of berries in 3 C water and set them to boil then turned them down to a simmer
As the berries were simmering away Kevin called to me from the other room," The neighbors must be smoking weed on their porch!" Then he came into the kitchen to see what I was up to and walked past the stove and exclaimed," So that's what it is. I should have known." I must admit that the simmering hawthorn berries did smell a tich canabinal. After the liquid had reduced by what I thought was half I strained the liquid into a measuring cup to find it had reduced to 6oz. Oops. Oh well, no real harm done. I then added 2 oz by weight of Swerve sweetener.
Ok, take a deep breath here. I know Swerve is not "Natural" and most will object to it's addition to a herbal remedy. But I am diabetic and can't use Honey, white sugar, agave or coconut sugar without serious damage to my blood sugar control. I have tried Stevia and while I find it has some good uses in tea and less concentrated applications, I LOTHE the bitter aftertaste stevia has when used in quantity. I'm talking using the dried leaf, not the white powder which I think tastes even worse. For most of my sweetening needs I have used liquid sucralose since I need only 1 drop for most applications therefore limiting my ingestion to a small amount. But for a syrup I needed quite a bit. Swerve is a newer sweetener made from ogliosaccharides and erythritol, a sugar alcohol that does not cause gastric distress and has very little impact on blood sugar. If I could I would use honey. But I can't so this is what I choose to use.
The finished syrup tastes pretty good. It's not something I'd want to pour all over my pancakes (which, by the way, I can't eat) but to take as a tonic by the spoonful nightly it is quite pleasant. This is an experiment, we shall see if the Swerve has any preservative qualities like sugar and honey do at syrup strength.
So, why did I do all this? Because Hawthorn berries are quite a nice cardio tonic and nourishing herb. My heart has been doing it's thing for more than 51 years now and a little assistance from Hawthorn might just help it keep on keepin' on for 51 more. A member of my household has elevated blood pressure and Hawthorn has been known to help folks gently lower their blood pressure. Here is a nice little write up on Sister Hawthorn from my mentor Susun Weed:Hawthorn
I bought my Hawthorn from :Mountain Rose Herbs
and for those of you interested in finding more about Swerve and its use as a sweetener for those who must limit glycemic impact look here :Swerve