I was recently preparing lunch for my son when I came across some Haw Flakes in the cupboard. When I was little, my mother would sometimes give us Haw Flakes as a snack at school. I had no idea what they were made of until my sister, many years later, googled them and found out they’re made from hawthorn berries from this plant.
The Haw Flakes were all I knew of the hawthorn berry so I’d always associated them with with Chinese food, but apparently the plant has been popular since the middle ages, especially in Greece. The plant grows in many parts of the world and is also known as the May Tree. The Chinese Materia Medica says that the berries are commonly used for indigestion and abdominal pain, as well as for children who have trouble eating and diarrhea. It is also useful for the function of the heart and the treatment of hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels.
The Haw Flakes candy might be a nice treat for a school snack, but probably not useful as medicine because of their sugar content. It is best to get the benefits of hawthorn by enjoying some hawthorn tea, especially after a relaxing acupuncture treatment.
What about you? Did you ever eat Haw Flakes or some other interesting candy growing up? Did you know about hawthorn berries this whole time? I’m interested to know!
Bensky, D. et al. (1986). Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press.
Thorne Research. Crataegus oxycantha (Hawthorne) Monograph. Alt Med Review. 15(2). 2010.