Heart Healthy Herbs
Each year approximately 25% of all deaths in the U.S. occur from heart attacks, and many of these are attributable to hardening of the arteries. In order for the circulatory system to function properly the heart must be strong, the vessels capable of safely transporting optimal amounts of blood, and the blood itself must be healthy.
The accumulation of fatty tissues in the arteries can result from a lack of exercise which often deprives the heart of a sufficient supply of oxygen. Atherosclerosis – a buildup of plaque on the walls of your arteries is a common cause of coronary heart disease.
In heart attacks where the spasms of the arteries are the causes of the attack, there is often a low level of the mineral magnesium. Magnesium as a supplement may help those who are experiencing irregular heart rhythms. Magnesium in a natural and highly assimilative form can be found in green food supplements which are rich in chlorophyll, such as barley grass or wheat grass.
Hawthorn has been used to treat many cardiovascular system ailments, including coronary heart disease, anemia and heart failure. Hawthorn contains many important nutrients, including amino acids, calcium, chromium and essential fatty acids.
Ginkgo Biloba contains flavonoids with antioxidant effects that may protect nerves and blood vessels from damage. Ginkgo also contains terpenoids that may help prevent platelets from sticking to artery walls.
Ginger may have a tonic effect on the heart by supporting healthy cholesterol levels and also may inhibit blood platelet accumulation.
Turmeric can help support healthy cholesterol levels and may reduce inflammation.
Artichoke leaf extract, yarrow, and holy basil may help lower cholesterol, according to early studies. Preliminary studies of Globe Artichoke Leaf suggest that these extracts may reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Garlic may help support healthy cholesterol levels, reduce platelet stickiness, and improve blood vessel elasticity.
The following are suggestions for a heart healthy lifestyle:
- Consume a balanced diet low in saturated fat with olive oil as your primary source of fat.
- Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables for both the fiber and the beta carotene they provide.
- Several servings of fish each week provide omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein.
- Avoid or limit refined sugar, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol.
- Walking or getting other exercise for at least 2.5 hours weekly.
- The Clinical Council on Cardiology advises 40 minutes to one hour of aerobic activity every day and strength training three days a week.
If you are diagnosed with coronary heart disease, discuss all treatment strategies with your physician, including herbal treatments.