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Herbs to help the heart

JDV Archives

We all know how important it is to keep our hearts healthy! Here Jan talks about which herbs can be useful to help your heart and support the circulation of blood around your body. 

To help our hearts we should turn to nature and look at the many herbs which can offer a helping hand.

The plant kingdom has plenty to offer to keep the body running smoothly. Certain berry and flower extracts, for example, chamomile, rosemary and mistletoe, have powerful blood-pressure-lowering effects, and can even improve the symptoms of angina.

Herbal medicine can be of great help in stimulating and maintaining a healthy heart and circulation. If we support our circulatory organs sensibly and naturally, pain and discomfort may be avoided later.

Cayenne pepper, known to cooks as a hot ingredient, can also heat up cold body parts like the hands and feet.

Hawthorn has profound effects on the heart, supporting its efficiency as a pump and regulating its beat. The berries and flowers of the hawthorn are a very concentrated source of plant-based chemicals known as anthocyanidins and proanthocyandins. These phytochemicals can increase absorption of vitamin C and strengthen the wall of the small blood vessels and capillaries. Blood cholesterol is also reduced, further supporting hawthorn’s place in natural heart care.

Garlic, widely known for its health-giving properties, can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Onions have a similar effect. Garlic is also one of nature’s best anticoagulants, helping to prevent blood clotting. A daily dose of garlic can therefore help prevent strokes and heart attacks. For those who are concerned about the anti-social smell, there are odourless capsules.

Of course, I do have to stress that herbs alone cannot prevent heart problems. There are other very important actions that we must take including following a heart healthy diet, taking sufficient exercise, stopping smoking, and being careful with alcohol. Stress and tension have to be carefully monitored too.

I must mention also that anyone on Warfarin or other blood-thinning medication should take advice before taking herbal medicine.

Boosting circulation, especially to the brain as one gets older, is very important. One of the best ways to do this is with the herb Ginkgo biloba, one of the oldest and safest products on the market.

It has been used medically for a wide variety of ailments including helping memory, inner ear deafness, senile macular degeneration, impotence, premenstrual syndrome, and depression.

A very pleasant way to boost circulation is to have a massage with essential oils. Rosemary and lemon are two of the best ones for boosting the circulation. The oils can even be added to a bath for a similar effect, but because they are so powerful a maximum of six drops in total should be used.

A slowing of the circulation, combined with the effects of gravity, lies behind the problem of varicose veins. This occurs when the blood cannot get back to the heart quickly enough. It makes sense therefore to give the blood a helping hand by lying with the feet and legs raised for a short while each day.

An excellent herb for varicose veins is Aesculus (horse chestnut). Veins can be strengthened internally using Aesculus tincture, while symptoms of weak veins can be temporarily reduced by using Aesculus gel externally.

Another valuable old remedy is Epsom salts. Take a handful and moisten them with water as you stand in the shower. Rub all over your body for a great boost. After showering, wrap up warmly and relax for at least an hour.

For more information, see my book “Heart and Blood Circulatory Problems”.

So there are lots of herbal remedies you can use to keep your heart healthy! Here at Jan de Vries, you can find a range of products mentioned by Jan in his article above.