Herbs for a Healthy Heart
Unfortunately, the stresses of modern life, coupled with poor nutrition and inactivity, put us at risk for several heart and blood vessel problems. Herbs may be used as a very important part of a wellness plan to enhance the health of your heart and blood vessels.
Cacao (Theobroma cacao)
A natural source of theobromine, long considered a heart tonic and mild stimulant; cacao also contains epicatechin, a flavonol that improves the function of the blood vessels. Of course eating flavonol-rich cacao is not the same–on many levels, alas–as snacking on sugary chocolate bars. Your best bet? Munching on raw cacao nibs or taking a cacao tincture.
Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens)
Taken daily, this Indian spice strengthens, stimulates, and tones the heart, balances circulation, and calms palpitations. Start with a few grains at a time (up to 1/2 teaspoon), and add it to juice. If you feel hesitant because of cayenne’s spicy reputation, start with a a tiny pinch and increase the amount as you feel comfortable.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Several studies have shown that a clove of garlic a day inhibits bad cholesterol (LDL) production and raises the good kind (HDL). Smaller trials have also demonstrated garlic’s promise in normalizing blood pressure, preventing blood platelet aggregation, and improving circulation.
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxycanthus)
Known as Naagphani in Hindi, and rich in flavanoids that protect small capillary vessels from free-radical damage, hawthorn normalizes blood pressure and lowers cholesterol and fat deposits in the liver and aorta. You’re not likely to see results for a few months, but hawthorn is safe for long-term use. Take 15 to 25 drops of the tincture three times daily.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Traditionally used to treat a racing heart caused by nervous tension, this herbal sedative may, with long-term use, reduce the formation of clotting factors, lower total cholesterol and triglycerides, and strengthen the heart muscle. Prepare a tea by soaking 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of dried motherwort in about 5 ounces of boiling water for five to 10 minutes. Drink it throughout the day, or take 10 to 20 drops of a tincture as often as every 10 minutes, if necessary.
Known as Aalsi in Hindi, it binds with excess cholesterol and aids in its elimination from the body. Flax seed may be obtained in large grocery stores. It is very inexpensive. Flax also reduces inflammation, a major contributor to heart and blood vessel disease. Simply grind two tablespoons of flax seed each day. Add it to cereals, smoothies or yogurt.
Known as Balkuwari in Hindi, it is great for circulation, keeping blood flow constant throughout the body without the heart stressing. Ginkgo is a common herb for mental clarity, and works in all ways by improving and increasing blood circulation so all the parts in the body can work smoothly with better ease.