May blossom

The may blossom is in full incandescent bloom here in the south, a good three weeks early, and clouts have been cast all over the place. It may be unlucky to bring the flowers into the house, but they are more than just a tonic to the eye. All parts of the hawthorn tree – flowers, leaves and berries in their turn – are tonic to the heart and circulation. Hawthorn contains flavonoids, which help maintain healthy blood vessels, and cardiac glycosides which have been shown to increase the efficiency of the way the heart works. It’s a useful backup for someone with a minor arrhythmia, or mild congestive heart failure, and it can help to normalise blood pressure. And it even tastes quite good, unlike many herbal remedies. When I had a camera crew in my kitchen filming for ‘Countryfile’, there was some very colourful language while we were tasting various concoctions, but they liked the hawthorn berry tincture. ‘That tastes like single malt,’ one of them said. It could catch on…

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