Healthy heart and blood vessels: Hawthorn

In this season, colorful fruits are ripening on thorny shrubs and trees, and the harvest of rose hips and haws is ongoing. I have already written about wild roses Wild Rose: Beauty among thorns, so today I focus on the hawthorn and even experimental products from it.

This year I’ve heard a strong call from hawthorn since blooming. Usually I’m not a big fan of hawthorn flowers because I don’t consider their odor to be quite pleasant even though hawthorn belongs to the same family as roses. Perhaps the hawthorn is a proof that not every rose must smell wonderful.

Listening to my call, I gathered hawthorn flowers and made a tincture or something between tincture and liqueur. Guided by intuition, I added a tincture from fresh roses to the hawthorn basis. Now, the result should harmonize heart on both, physical and emotional levels. Definitely it tastes great!

As soon as the first fruits became ripe, my intuition brought another input. Make vinegar! The rational part wasn’t against. There is enough sugar inside, the taste is similar to apple, and most of the effective substances can act from acidic environment. Since the vinegar preparation takes several weeks, my haws are still in the process of fermentation. Comparing with the apple vinegar, so far the haws are doing very well!  Perhaps vinegar could be another way how to use hawthorn for healthy heart and blood vessels. I would appreciate your experience if you have any.

Being inspired by Lydia with her Pear butter, I tried to make “hawthorn butter”. Since the first moment, it was even challenging or stupid idea. Although the taste of haws is similar to apple, the size is much smaller, and there is a stone inside! Finally I succeeded, but I don’t want to repeat it again! Pitting took ages and proved amount of yellow flavonoids, which has remained on my fingers up to day.

It might seem like I’m already fed up with hawthorn. However in my kitchen is still sitting another bowl of haws, which I gathered yesterday. So far I don’t know what to do with them, but they didn’t want to stay on tree!

Do you have any suggestion? Thanks for sharing.

With love, Ivana

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Keeping courage

This week I drew a picture for myself, for my own encouragement and clear mind. I took color pencils into my hands and there began a strange heart to be formed, one heart from two opposite parts. There was a wide mixture of feelings – courage with hope, fight with faith, will with love, male with female. And it was their mutual cooperation which created the certainty that even impossible thing could be done.

Cooperation of the opposites is the key. In our everyday life we are naturally attracted into the groups on the basis of similarity. And it is also natural, that individual groups are opposed to each other. Sometimes it is only on a joke level and sometimes it can escalate into more serious fights. The same principle works in the big world of politics and adults as in kindergarten among children. Permanent focus on competition and rivalry gives the impression that nothing else could shape our identity.

And that’s why there must be an earthquake or other disaster from time to time. It’s an opportunity to check if malicious rivalry didn’t yet eliminate pity, mercy and solidarity. If there is still somehow kept the balance between Ego and Heart, if the common humanity is alive.

I pray in order to prefer voice of my heart to the cry of the ego and leave what is not essential. I hope to do it before some kind of disaster come also to my life. Unfortunately there are plenty of them worldwide.

With love, Ivana

P.S. I’ve been already told that the picture looks more like an ass than a heart….

Heart, love and trees

With autumn progress I feel forest as a place of evening hygiene. Trees put off unwanted dresses directly on damp ground and some of them are completely naked, ready to put snow pajamas on. Just conifers remain proudly green as if they ignore the cycle of life.

Today’s walk brings me to think about linden (Tilia). I realized that a strong linden tree needs space. To prosper, it cannot be squeezed in a tight crowd. Linden tree is wide and noble, needed a place for its majesty. It can grow on the edge of forest or in the alley, but other trees must maintain a respectful distance.

Since childhood, I was taught, that linden is our national tree. Never ever I had any idea what does it mean. I just honestly admired huge linden trees, which survived centuries. Centuries of peace and wars, centuries of children’s games and lovers’ kisses.

I remember two old linden trees in my hometown beside the church. Big sign proclaimed that they are the trees protected by the state. When you come closer, you could see huge metal belts around the trunks. And to make the protection perfect, they poured concrete into cavities. I didn’t feel any pride at all, either personal or national. I felt only sympathy for the living thing that grows despite the protection provided by the people and the state.

Today, I realized my respect and love for linden. It has nothing to do with the nation, it is a matter of heart and humanity. It responds to patient love and gifts, supplied to us from linden trees through ages. It’s no coincidence that the leaves are shaped like big hearts. Fragrant blossoms attract thousands of bees in order to produce equally fragrant honey. Tea of linden blossoms is an effective tool against fever and colds. And linden wood is an excellent inspiration for carvers of any nation to make our world more beautiful.

What are your experiences with linden or its products?