Blackthorn Tree Uses
Tree Healing Therapy
Botanical name Prunus spinosa / Family Rosaceae
Blackthorn, the herald of spring, is a many-branched deciduous shrub or small tree that is; native to Europe and western Asia. The twigs have short lateral, spiny shoots and blackish bark, and often form dense, thorny thickets. The five-petalled flowers dust the hedgerows with a creamy-white confetti. The spherical autumn sloes (fruits) are black- skinned, thin-fleshed drupes with a purple-blue bloom.History, mystery and spiritual healing Blackthorn is equally the black and the white of life, and is considered both sacred and unlucky. A fairy tree, its blossom is the 'white light' of hope and the promise of renewal; its darkness celebrates Samhain, the eve of winter, and opens the pathway to the Underworld and its deities.
The plant's naked black bark is stark in barren winter, the standing-still period of the earth, yet tough and determined - like Mars with its fighting spirit, it strives against all negativities before announcing the rebirth of spring. Known as the thorny 'flesh-tearer', in Ireland it is cut -up to make multi-knotted walking canes and cudgels like the Shillelagh, a one-time vicious stick now mainly used in the Irish martial art of stick-fighting.
Blackthorn contains several flavonoids and is being scientifically investigated for its antioxidant properties. Medicinally, it is chiefly an astringent, aperient, diaphoretic, diuretic and stomachic in action.
In folk medicine, sloe is a curative cornucopia, being used for diarrhoea, blood purification, convalescence, exhaustion and fatigue, rashes and skin disorders. Currently, a flower extract is also used in a body moisturizer. The juice, which contains a high quantity of tannins, acids and Vitamin C, is used externally to stimulate the skin's self- strengthening and metabolic functions. Blackthorn fruit and bark teas with wild- plum bark extract have also been used for cramps, bloating and indigestion, as a poultice and for wounds. Blackthorn berries are listed in the German Commission E monographs for treating mild inflammation of the oral or pharyngeal mucosa; as well as preparations containing the flowers for treating common colds, diseases of the respiratory tract, as a laxative, for diarrhoea, gastric spasms, bloating, intestinal diseases and dyspepsia.
Homoeopathic remedy P. spinosa is used for nerve pain, urinary problems, weak heart and nervous headaches, and for fatigue from interrupted sleep.
At the time of writing there are no known contraindications for the correct use of this plant. However, as with all the Prunus plant family, its seeds contain poisonous cyanides that can be lethal consumed in excess.