Did you know that herbs can prevent the likelihood of a heart disease from occurring, or even heal the heart if a patient suffers from heart disease?
The cardiovascular system is made up of blood (carrying oxygen, nutrients, wastes and other substances to and from all parts of the body), blood vessels (arteries and veins), and the heart organ, which pumps blood into the vessels at the rate of billions of beats in an average lifetime.
It’s amazing how perfect this cardiovascular system is. Think of it like a high-tech transport and delivery system which transports nutrients, fluids and waste across your body through traffic-free zones. Neither has it delays nor accidental mistakes to wrong directions. We really take our cardiovascular system for granted- until something goes wrong.
And unfortunately, it does go wrong for many people. Heart disease is the leading health problem in the UK: around 7.6 million patients in the UK are currently living with a heart disease. It is also the number 1 cause of death in the whole world, according to WHO.
Many of my family members have regular, synthesised medication to relieve symptoms or prevent a cardiovascular disease from occuring. But these medications have many side effects, not just in terms of what people experience in their body but other aspects too, like restrictions in their diet and the mental stress itself of remembering to have medication daily, or bringing a correct dosage along when travelling. Herbs may not fully be able to treat a cardiovascular disease, but many natural plants, herbs and produce can be helpful in preventing the disease from occuring or lessen the effects of the disease in the body.
Atherosclerosis is a potentially serious cardiovascular condition where an artery becomes clogged with fatty substances, such as a plaque or atheromas.
Garlic (Allium Sativum):
Garlic has been used as a medicinal remedy both in Asian and Western subcontinents for a very long time. Garlic today is subject to considerable study for its role as an adjunct treatment for heart diseases. It is proven to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure, and also targets and inhibits certain blood conditions that can lead to atherosclerosis. A substance called Allicin, the main ingredient in garlic, alongside several other sulfur-containing compounds, are believed to be responsible for garlic’s beneficial effects. Garlic can be found naturally (and most commonly) as cloves or also as tasteless and odourless tablets.
DID YOU KNOW?
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
This herb is a very well-known heart tonic. Research studies confirm that motherwort stabilizes the heart, reduces heart palpitations, treats tachycardia (a rapid heartbeat), and eases the pain of angina. In traditional chinese medicine it is also used to treat high blood pressure and edema. It can be taken as a heart tonic internally, a tea, tincture or capsule.
Lowering blood cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of fat (or lipid) found naturally in the body and especially in blood, liver and brain. Problems occur to the body when we eat foods that contain a high amount of cholesterol continuously. Too much cholesterol forms too many lipoproteins in our body, clogging arteries and increasing risk of many cardiovascular diseases. HDLs, high density lipoproteins, are good for the heart however LDLs, low density lipoproteins, are bad for the heart. Some herbs not only totally reduce cholesterol levels but increase the amount of HDLs in the body and decrease the amount of LDLs in the body.
Ginger (Zingeber officinale)
Ginger is another type of super healing herbs with multiple therapeutic properties. Ginger not only cures colds, aches and menstrual cramps, but it is a powerful cholesterol reducer and as good a blood-clot preventing agent as garlic.
Recent research has shown that ginger reduces cholesterol levels by both stimulating the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids and increasing the secretion of the bile. Hence, cholesterol is broken down and eliminated more quickly.
Ginger can be available as a dry root, powdered root, liquid extract, tablets, capsules or prepared tea.
Managing High Blood Pressure
When blood travels against the walls of the arteries as it travels through the body it creates pressure against the arterial walls. Blood pressure is normal – it’s what makes blood move, hence moving substances around your body! But a continuous high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is one of the problems within the list of symptoms that causes cardiovascular diseases.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelions are so common- found all the time in grass and weeds- but did you know it has a long and esteemed usage in herbal medicine? The plant is believed to be very rich in iron, vitamins A, C and the nutrient potassium. It has an ability to reduce blood pressure due to its diuretic properties. It furthermore detoxifies blood and nourishes and supports the kidneys and liver. Dandelion is available in tincture, prepared tea, capsule and as dried or fresh leaves or root.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Modern research studies suggest that yarrow contains multiple therapeutic properties, among them lowering blood pressure, relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Two major chemical constituents of the yarrow herb are achilletin and achilliene, which prevent blood clotting. Its diuretic properties also help it to be a suitable blood pressure lowering agent. Yarrow is available as a dried herb or tea. Sweeteners can relieve the somewhat bitter taste of yarrow tea.
Cardiovascular disease is something which usually isn’t cured or prevented without surgery or lifetime medication. Herbs, however, can be used to lessen the effect of cardiovascular disease on health or even keep the heart healthy enough to prevent a future occurrence. What’s better about herbs is that it can also keep your body healthy in other ways, so it can prevent diseases occurring in different organs too. But as always, check with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements in addition to medication or to treat a particular disease on its own.