When dealing with heart problems there are many things that you can do. You need to manage your stress levels, improve your diet to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables that you eat to about 60-80% and you need to increase the exercise that you have, There are also vitamins and herbs that you can take to cleanse your body of toxins and thus cleanse your arteries and to build and repair your arteries and strengthen the heart itself. In a previous article we looked at the vitamins and minerals that you need and in this article we will explore the herbs that can help to overcome heart disease.
There are two main groupings of herbs for the circulatory system:
- those that have a direct action on the heart, and
- those that affect the peripheral blood vessels (that is, vessels of the limbs).
Herbs for the Heart
- broom – strengthens and normalizes the heart and also rids the body of any build-up of water that is due to insufficient heart strength. Care has to be taken though with this herb as it can increase blood pressure.
- bugleweed – whilst this herb increases the strength of the heart beat it also decreases its rate and is valuable as a relaxant as well.
- figwort – is known for its treatment of skin problems but it also strengthens the heart’s contractions.
- hawthorn berries – are one of the most valuable remedies for the circulatory system. They strengthen the force of the contraction of the heart muscle while also dilating the vessels of the coronary circulation. They can be used in most circulatory problems as they will relax or stimulate the heart according to its need and normalize heart function.
- lily of the valley – can be used where the strength of the heart is insufficient, as in angina, or in the treatment of an aging heart. This is particularly the case when there are fatty deposits in the blood vessels.
- motherwort – is a relaxing herb and for the circulatory system it will strengthen and normalize the heart function.
- night blooming cereus – can be use similarly to lily of the valley and is particularly useful where there is any change in the rhythm of the heart beat.
You will notice that foxglove has been left off the list. It is a plant derived medicine used extensively by orthodox medicine as an effective treatment for the heart. However there are marked dangers with this poisonous plant and therefore it has been left out. This does not mean however that there are no effective herbal remedies for the heart. Lily of the valley is one of these effective herbs. The danger of poisoning with lily of the valley does not exist as its glycosides have a unique chemical structure that ensures they are easily excreted and do not build up in the body – but there is still the possibility of some toxicity. To strengthen the heart the following mixture should be taken over an extended period of time.
- 2 parts hawthorn berries
- 2 parts motherwort
- 1 part lily of the valley
Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons full of the herb mix and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day. At the same time an adequate intake of potassium has to be ensured. Eat plenty of potassium containing foods, such as grapes, tomatoes and bananas. If there is any water retention 1 part dandelion should be added to the mix above. If tension and anxiety are present use the following:
- 1 part balm
- 1 part lime (linden) blossom
Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons full of the dried herbs and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day or as often as needed. If this does not prove strong enough, use skullcap and valerian instead. If you suffer from angina the following mixture may be of assistance.
- 3 parts hawthorn berries
- 2 parts motherwort
- 2 parts lime (linden) blossom
- 1 part lily of the valley
Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons full of the dried herbs and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day over a long period. It will not immediately relieve the pain of an attack.
Herbs for Peripheral Circulation As was the case with the heart herbs, a number of herbs are available to improve the peripheral circulation. The most important herbal agents for the circulation include:
- horse chestnut,
- lime (linden) blossom,
- mistletoe and
Some of these herbs are also heart tonics, while others stimulate the peripheral circulation (cayenne and ginger) and others are diuretics (yarrow). The actual herbs used will depend on the nature of the problems for a particular individual and the range of causes and contributing factors.
Additional herbs When problems with the circulatory system develop there is often the need to assist the body in the removal of water. When the heart is weak and fails to circulate effectively and insufficient blood is passed through the kidneys or when the blood vessels (particularly the veins in the legs) are weak, a build up of water in the body can occur. In such conditions herbal diuretics can help. These diuretics include:
- lily of the valley, and
One of the most important diuretics for the circulatory system is dandelion. When any remedy is used to increase the function of the heart there is always the danger of causing potassium depletion in the body – this would in turn aggravate the heart problem. Therefore whenever a diuretic is prescribed in orthodox medicine (other than the so-called ‘potassium sparing’ varieties) a potassium supplement is almost always added. However, when dandelion is used it already contains a high level of potassium. Indeed there is an overall gain in potassium with dandelion, which makes its value apparent. Anxiety and stress can lead to circulatory system problems and it is sometimes difficult to isolate a particular cause. Whenever there is a cardiovascular problem the use of relaxing herbs needs to be considered as in many cases stress and anxiety are involved. The most useful nervines for cardiovascular system problems are:
- lime (linden) flowers,
- pasque flowers,
- skullcap and
There are many things that you can do to improve the health of the heart. It is important to remove accumulated toxins from your body – the accumulation of atheroma on your arteries is an example of toxic build up. You need to start with cleaning you colon and liver and then cleanse your arteries. I recommend you read Safe Colon Cleansing Your Good Health Guide. You need to start by cleansing your major organs of elimination (colon and liver). When they are clean they will function better and assist in the work of cleaning you arteries. If you smoke you also need to quit – smoking is a cause of heart disease. You can also use vitamin and minerals and herbs to help to repair and heal your body. If you are new to herbal remedies be sure to read about how to use them safely and seek the assistance of a herbalist if you have any doubts.