We know the importance of maintaining a healthy heart, understanding that the heart plays a pivotal role in keeping us alive by perpetually bathing our internal parts in life-sustaining blood.\nThe heart does this by drawing upon an exquisite feedback, shaped by intelligent communication between it and the blood vessels, that continuously describes the body's circulatory requirements. The heart artfully coincides its actions to meet blood flow needs, and such needs always fluctuate based on our changing internal and external environments, \nDigestion, for example, requires more blood flow to the gastrointestinal system to increase that system's energy and to better circulate assimilated nutrients. Wounds and illnesses demand rapid blood transport of infection-fighting and anti-inflammatory compounds. Stress-induced "fight or flight" responses call for sudden re-direction of blood flow to accommodate survival. For example, reduction of blood to surface areas; improvement of flow to arms and legs. Sex is best performed when circulation is driven to the genitals.\nAttuned to, and always reliably addressing, our needs, the heart gathers our organs and systems, our cells, tissues, and bones into one harmonious bouquet of inter-dependence, cooperation, and a consensus building toward our survival.\nSo, what would you do in return for your heart?\nI have used the herb Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) for years to protect my heart and attempt to avoid cardiovascular disease. Hawthorn is a cardiotonic herb, meaning it can be used daily for long periods of time (and performs better for us when used this way). It is also trophorestorative, meaning it is food for the heart and restorer of its function.\nHawthorn assists in reducing cholesterol and plaque buildup, tonifying the capillaries for easier passage of blood cells, dilating arteries to relax the heart and regulate blood pressure, and in strengthening the heart muscle, thereby stabilizing its activity to help prevent tachycardia and arrhythmias.\nHawthorn has a cooling effect on the cardiovascular system, driving congestion and heat from it, thus relieving irritability and restlessness - an action that aids in calming the mind and training focus.\nThus, Hawthorn's gift to us is the soothing and cooling, toning and strengthening, regulating and normalizing of our heart and vasculature, helping to establish proper function and increasing the likelihood of healthy cardiovascular longevity.\nA heartfelt gift indeed.\nSOURCES: Sajah Popham's Evolutionary Herbalism; Matthew Wood's The Earthwise Herbal, A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants; Daniel Mowrey's Herbal Tonic Therapies\nBOTANICAL SAFETY INFORMATION\nHawthorn Leaf, Flower, \u0026amp; Berry, Crataegus oxyacantha, organic\/wildcrafted\nDoses of cardiac drugs may be reduced by concomitant use of Hawthorn. Consult a physician when symptoms continue unchanged for longer than 6 weeks or in cases of swelling of the legs. Medical diagnosis is absolutely necessary when pain occurs in the region of the heart, spreading out to the arms, upper abdomen, or the area around the neck; or in cases of respiratory distress (dyspnea).