Sourcing: Our hawthorn berries (shan zha) are organically grown without pesticides in Shandong, China, a region famous for its hawthorn fruit. The berries have been pitted and freeze-dried without sulfates to preserve freshness. Put them in teas, porridge, or sweet soups for a tart flavor, or crush into a powder and use as a dusting for pastries!
Traditionally, Shan Zha is used as an herb to promote digestion, but beginning in 1960 many studies were published showing its positive effects on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Common Chinese Name: 山楂 (shan zha)
Common English Name: Chinese hawthorn fruit
Scientific Name: Crataegus pinnatifida
Common Form: Bright red berries the size of a thumb, dotted with white spots. Usually sliced and dried into thick disks as a portable snack.
TCM Five Flavors: Sour; Sweet
TCM Energetics: Slightly warming
Meridian Affiliation: Liver; Spleen; Stomach
60% starch, 4% fat. Contains vitamin K, thiamin vitamin B1, riboflavin vitamin B2, vitamin B6, niacin vitamin B3, pantothenic acid, biotin, carotenoids.
- Relieves food stagnation
- Improves digestion
- Dispels blood stasis
- Relieves food stagnation and improves digestion: relieves abdominal distension, pain, and diarrhea due to overconsumption of heavy meats or greasy foods
- Dispels blood stasis: aids in inducing labor*, alleviates postpartum abdominal pain, severe abdominal pain from amenorrhea, angina, coronary artery disease, and elevated serum cholesterol
- Lowers blood pressure: alleviates hypertension
- Lowers blood cholesterol
- Steep in hot water for 10-15 min and add brown sugar to balance flavor. Steep with dried orange peel to soothe coughs or with jujube dates and goji to replenish Qi and blood.
- Make fruit jam or compote
- One common recipe: 4 ounces hawthorn fruit, 4 ounces sprouted rice, 4 ounces sprouted barley, and 1 1/2 cups sugar are simmered in 8 cups of water until the ingredients break down into a thin paste. The paste is strained out and a teaspoon added to hot water to make a drink taken twice a day in place of coffee or tea.
Notes and Safety:
- Hawthorn berries are a staple in modern Chinese herbology and cuisine, but they have been known to the Chinese since the Zhou Dynasty (510-314 BCE). Their tart flavor both stimulates the appetite and aids digestion, helping the body produce digestive enzymes that move food stagnation.
- *Induces labor, not suitable for pregnancy
- Caution in cases with Spleen and Stomach Deficiency
- Caution in cases of peptic ulcers