This deciduous, thorny shrub or tree is 30 feet high. The trunk or stems are hard wood with smooth ash-gray bark and thorny branches. The small, shiny, serrated, 3-irregular toothed lobed leaves are dark green on top and light bluish-green underneath. The white flowers with round petals grow in terminal corymbs. The fruit, or haw, is a 2~3 seeded, fleshy pome, scarlet on the outside, yellowish and pulpy on the inside. Various species are found throughout the world. Note: The 1-5 inch straight or curved single thorns of the haw are not found on any of the other native shrubs or trees on this continent which makes this genus easy to differentiate.
Origin(s): Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Hungary, United States.
Latin Name(s): Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus monogyna.
Also known as: May Flower, Quickthorn, Whitehorn, English hawthorn, one-seed hawthorn.
Plant Part(s) Used: Berry.
Appearance: Purplish brown to reddish brown.
Aroma: Sweet, aromatic.
Taste: Slightly sweet.
GMO Status: Non-GMO.
Additives: Free of any additives or preservatives.
Applications / Preparations: Can be put into capsules, teas, smoothies, punches, cordials, juices or infused as an herbal extract. For cosmetic use can be put in spices to make natural foundation, blush & eye shadow.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even if when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.