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PHOTO: Elizabeth Scholl
With Valentine’s Day upon us, the focus is often on the heart. While romance is certainly worth celebrating during this holiday, it can also be a time to celebrate the plants that offer benefits to the heart. This fragrant and easy-to-make Hawthorn and Rose Heart Tea blends a number of herbs traditionally used to support heart health, and it tastes delicious, too. What’s not to love?
Yield: about 2 cups
2 cups water
1 T. dried hawthorn berries
1 T. dried and deseeded rosehips
1 slice fresh ginger root, or 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger root (fresh root is recommended)
2 T. rose petals
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean (optional)
honey or other sweetener, to taste
Combine hawthorn berries, rosehips and ginger root in a small pot with water. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Add rose petals, cinnamon and vanilla bean. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and add honey or sweetener to taste.
Herbs For Heart Health
If you love the Hawthorn and Rose Heart-Healthy Tea, try experimenting with your own tea blends that benefit the heart. Below are a list of herbs traditionally used to benefit heart health. Grow your own or purchase quality grown herbs from suppliers like Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals or Frontier Co-op.
Hawthorn has long been recognized and used as a heart tonic, specifically to improve circulation, increase blood flow to the heart and to lower blood pressure.
Rose (Petals and Hips)
In addition to being a worldwide symbol of love, rose is one of the oldest cultivated medicinal herbs.
Rose is considered strengthening and healing to the heart and is used as an emmenagogue, or blood mover, to stimulate menstruation. It is also regarded as an aphrodisiac.
Used to prevent heart disease, garlic is used for many issues relating to the heart and blood, including high blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol.
An herb that has been used at least since the Middle Ages for ailments relating to the heart, motherwort is used in both Western and Chinese herbal medicine and is believed to have an antispasmotic effect on the heart.
The flowers and leaves of the linden tree are commonly recommended for cardiovascular disease in Europe, though it is less well-known in the United States. Linden is believed to help with nervousness, and also can be used in a relaxing bath with chamomile. Interestingly, the leaves of the linden tree are heart-shaped.