Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hawthorn Berries, Shan Zha

One thing you can do in a kitchen clear of clutter is make medicines for yourself from the many wild plants that grow abundantly all around.

In Chinese medicine hawthorn berries, (Crataegus sp.) or Shan Zha, were used for thousands of years to benefit digestion.  Western herbalists used hawthorn to benefit the heart and circulation. The Chinese recently did their own studies on this and found indeed that hawthorn is very beneficial to the heart. Now the hawthorn is used both ways in the East.

Below is a simple vinegar I am making by steeping hawthorn berries in apple cider vinegar. I will leave it at least 6 weeks. The berries are coming above the vinegar so if they don’t drop into the vinegar in a day or so I may crush the berries to see if that helps. It’s best to have them submerged so they don’t mold. Also, I used a plastic lid…metal corrodes with vinegar.

I also made fermented soda, fruit butter and a shrub, which is a concentrated mixture of vinegar, fruit and sugar. Shrubs are often drunk on seltzer water or alcohol (I prefer the seltzer.)

Visit our sister website Food Under Foot to see the pictures and information on the rest of the ways I put up the Hawthorn berries.

Two other ways to take advantage of the medicinal properties of hawthorn are to make a tincture (soaking the berries in alcohol like vodka) or an apertif, which is a nice way to use hawthorns to help digestion.

And remember, now is an excellent time for an acupuncture tune up or to begin treatments again. Please give us a call today to schedule your appointment: (412) 381-0116.
In health,
David and Melissa Sokulski
licensed acupuncturists

The Birch Center for Acupuncture
(412) 381-0116

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