National Heart Awareness Month: Herbal Preventatives
February is National Heart Awareness Month and throughout the month I
will be posting tips for improving heart health.
Herbal medicine is a wonderful preventative solution. If you are concerned about the health of your heart and you are not on Western medication, you may first want to explore the possibilites available through natural means. Complications can arise when taking herbal medicine and allopathic drugs your doctor has prescribed.
Great caution should be used especially if you are on blood thinners, diuretics or any other heart related medication. Consult your doctor with any questions you may have, before taking additional herbs or supplements.
These herbal supplements must be part of a comprehensive diet, exercise and lifestyle program that supports cardiovascular health.
Bilberry: Bilberry fruit contains chemicals known as anthocyanosides, plant pigments that have excellent antioxidant properties. They scavenge damaging particles in the body known as free radicals, helping prevent or reverse damage to cells. Consider using for Atherosclerosis. Animal studies have found that anthocyanosides may strengthen blood vessels, improve circulation, and prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, a major risk factor for atherosclerosis (plaque that blocks blood vessels, leading to heart attack and stroke). Research in people is needed. Also used for Chronic venous insufficiency. Bilberry extracts are used to treat this condition, which occurs when valves in veins in the legs that carry blood to the heart are damaged.
Blessed Thistle: Strengthens the heart. Also known as "St. Benedict Thistle" and "Holy Thistle", this herb contains B-complex, calcium, iron, manganese and cincin. This herb has been used to tonify the heart, improve circulation and fight plaque.
Cayenne Pepper is renowned, not only for healing the entire digestive system, and for arthritic pain relief, but also for the heart and circulatory system. It acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other herbs when used with them. Cayenne has been known to stop heart attacks within 30 seconds. Cayenne has a high source of Vitamins A & C, has the complete B complexes, and is very rich in organic calcium and potassium, which is one of the reasons it is good for the heart. Consider the synergy of taking both cayenne and Hawthorne berry together. Cayenne is also linked to decreases in cholesterol and blood pressure and the general maintenance of a health circulatory system.
Cornsilk: Natural diuretic. Corn silk is used as a tea. the potassium in corn silk helps to offset potassium loss which is caused by increased urination. Compared to other diuretics, corn silk reduces the likelihood of muscle cramps and irregular heartbeat due to a loss of electrolytes by increasing urination.
Garlic: A rich source of potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin A and Vitamin C, is commonly used to fight infection, increase circulation and help prevent cardiovascular disease. Consider eating raw garlic every day; since it is a very effective antifungal agent, or use it in tincture form. Research has shown that garlic is an anti-cholesterol remedy and is recommended for heart and circulatory problems. This is a wonderful natural antibiotic and detoxifier which protects the body against infection by enhancing immune function, as well. Garlic supplement, can be taken in pill form 2 to 3 times a day. Garlic tincture can be taken under the tongue, 2 to 3 times a day.
Ginkgo Biloba: is a known fighter or cerebro-vascular disease. Impaired circulation to the brain, often called a stroke, can cause severe and far-reaching effects on the entire body. Ginkgo has been shown in numerous studies to cause dilation and increase the blood flow in the arteries, capillaries and veins. In addition, they inhibit platelet aggregation, reduce blood clotting and work through antioxidants to protect our vascular walls from free-radical damage.
Goldenseal: Berberine, an active ingredient of goldenseal, can dilate blood vessels. Therefore, it may prove useful in the treatment of certain causes of both irregular heartbeat and heart failure. Do not use goldenseal for more that seven days at a time. Seven days off/seven days on.
Gotu Kola: This herb has a positive effect on the circulatory system as it strengthens the heart and helps lower blood pressure. It improves the flow of blood while strengthening the veins and capillaries. It has been used successfully to treat phlebitis, leg cramps, and abnormal tingling of the extremities.
Green and White Tea: Green and white teas are rich sources of polyphenols, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Of all the teas, white tea (the budding phase of Camellia sinensis) is the most highly prized and least processed. Upon harvesting, the leaves and buds are quickly steamed and dried to prevent oxidation of the delicate polyphenols. According to major university data bases, green tea contains at least 51 phytonutrients shown to promote a healthy inflammation response, confer profound cardiovascular and cellular protection, support detoxification, and support a healthy metabolism.
Hawthorn Berry: a member of the rose family, was recognized by physicians in the early 1800s for its ability to treat disorders related to circulation and respiration (breathing). Considered a "cardiotonic" herb, the flowers and berries of the hawthorn plant have been used in traditional medicine to treat irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, atherosclerosis, and congestive heart failure. Hawthorn berries contain large amounts of bioflavonoids, which help dilate and strengthen the walls of blood vessels, relax arteries, and improve circulation of blood to heart muscles. studies suggest that Hawthorn berry extract improves heart function and exercise capacity in those with CHF. Participants in research trials also report significantly improved symptoms (like reduced shortness of breath and fatigue). Hawthorn extract may even prove to be as effective as low doses of ACE inhibitors (a leading class of heart medication) in improving symptoms of congestive heart failure. Hawthorne must be taken daily to be affective.
Norwegian Kelp: Helps to clean and maintain the arteries. Some animal studies show kelp may help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. On the other hand, kelp is also high in sodium, which may raise some people's blood pressure. Salt-sensitive individuals with high blood pressure should not consume large amounts of kelp. Others may include the herb in a comprehensive heart-disease prevention program.
Motherwort: Improves blood flow circulation and reduces heart blood pressure and palpitations. The glycosides appear to have a short-term ability to lower blood pressure and reduce blood platelet aggregation. As a cardiac tonic, it is said to reduce heart palpitations. This herb strengthen the heartbeat without increasing the pulse rate as it sedates the coronary arteries. This results in increased circulation to the heart.
Olive Leaf: Naturally support the circulatory and immune systems. Based on a recent study published in the medical journal, Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, polyphenols from olive leaf extract, significantly inhibited platelet aggregation in the laboratory. This has important benefits as the antiplatelet effects in olive leaves may offer a degree of protection from thrombosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
Rhodiola: Extracts from the root of rhodiola have been the subject of intensive pharmacological and clinical investigations in Russia and Scandinavia for more than thirty-five years. The results of these studies strongly support the use of Rhodiola as an adaptogen: a substance that normalizes physiology in response to stressors. As such, Rhodiola provides a solid foundation for restoring and maintaining health. It promotes cognitive and physical performance, supports positive emotional states, immune function and cardiovascular health, and restores balance to the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
Rosemary: Is considered a heart tonic. Rosemary is also linked to decreases in cholesterol and blood pressure and the general maintenance of a health circulatory system.
Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit