Rowan Tree Uses
Tree Healing Therapy
Botanical name Sorbus aucuparia / Family Rosaceae
Rowan, or mountain ash, is a deciduous tree that is native to most of Europe's northern hemisphere except the far south, and to northern Asia. It has a slender crown, graceful upward-swept branches with a smooth grayish bark, white flowers, and foliage that displays crimson colours in autumn. The globular fruit is bright red and dispersed mainly by birds.History, mystery and spiritual healing Mountain ash appears in Greek mythology as created from the feathers and blood shed by an eagle, sent by the gods to assist in the recovery of Hebe's magical chalice that dispensed the elixir of youth to them. In Irish and Norse mythology, mountain ash was the tree from which the first woman was made, and also saved the life of the god Thor.
Known as a 'faerie tree' for its white flowers, the rowan is sacred to the English goddess Brigantia and to the Celtic Brigid or Brighid, as the goddess of spring. It also has a long reputation as an antidote to witchcraft its berries, bearing a tiny five-pointed star (pentagram), and their vibrant red colour are ancient symbols of protection. Pieces of the tree were carried in pockets, and equal-armed rowan crosses were sewn into clothing or hung in cattle barns as protective charms.
Scandinavians regard rowans - for not growing 'in' the ground, but 'out' of elevated places such as rock clefts - as having magical powers and call them 'flying rowans'.
Rowan berries are a renowned source of Vitamin C and a cure for scurvy. Infusions and decoctions of them can be used as a gargle for sore throats and inflamed tonsils. The fumes of the burned leaves, if inhaled, aid asthma.
In folkloric remedies the dried flowers are used for herbal teas, being mildly diuretic, purgative and stimulatory to menstrual discharge; an infusion of them and/or the dried fruits, or a compote prepared from them, is given against constipation, menstrual and rheumatic pains and as an aid in the treatment of kidney disorders.
Rowan berries also contain a flavonoid called quercitin or meletin, which is used to treat abnormal capillary fragility. It is antioxidant, antiviral and is reported to help allergies, prostate inflammation, cystitis, atherosclerosis and cataracts.
Rowan's bitter seeds should be removed as they are considered poisonous. The berries should be treated before the fruit is used for medicine or food. They contain parasorbic acid in their raw form, which is toxic, but on cooking the acid is converted into harmless, digestible sorbic acid. Rowan should not be used by those taking anticoagulant or anti- platelet medication.