Herbs for Heart Health
Do you feel anxious, have trouble sleeping, startle easily, pounding in your chest, dizziness, sweating at night, scattered thoughts or poor memory? Balancing your Heart may help. This doesn’t mean sitting in lotus, chanting Om until your heart chakra opens up but there is definitely a spiritual and emotional component to the Heart system in traditional Chinese medicine. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the Heart
- governs blood by the following actions: supplies blood to all body tissues, determines strength of constitution, converts food Qi (energy) into blood
- blood vessels reflect the energy of the heart, if Heart Qi and blood is strong the pulse will be full and regular
- manifests in the complexion – a rosy, lustrous complexion is a sign the heart is pumping blood all over the body and that the blood is abundant
- houses the Shen (mind) which is considered to be all mental faculties as well as the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of a person.
- there are 5 functions in particular related to the heart: mental activity, consciousness, memory, thinking, sleep
- opens into the tongue, therefore if the heart is out of balance there may be speech abnormalities
- controls sweat, which can be why people sweat when they feel anxious or nervous
Shan Zha (hawthorn crataegus) – lowers triglycerides and cholesterol, relaxes blood vessel walls which decreases blood pressure. Improves circulation in the blood vessels and is anti-clotting.
Dan Shen (salvia root) – improves blood circulation, relaxes blood vessel walls, and lowers serum cholesterol. .
San Qi (notoginseng radix) – lowers serum lipids and cholesterol. Powdered can be used for angina pectoris to decrease nitroglycerin and blood pressure.
He Shou Wu (polygoni multiflori radix) – lowers cholesterol levels through reducing absorption by the small intestine, also relieves arteriosclerosis
Ze Xie (alismatis rhizoma) – decreases cholesterol and triglycerides
Ma Dou Ling, Du Zhong, Xia Ku Cao – all reduce hypertension
Food that can regulate blood pressure and cholesterol include:
Celery – lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
Button mushroom – decreases blood fat
Shiitake – decreases cholesterol
Kelp, seaweed, mung bean, sprouts – soften blood vessels to help prevent atherosclerosis
Oregano, black pepper, basil, fennel and tarragon – help lower cholesterol
Whole grains, legumes, oats – are high in fiber, which can help to lower LDL without impacting the HDL
A complete health assessment and TCM diagnosis is necessary before determining which of the above herbs and food will be appropriate for an individual’s condition. Please always check with your Doctor of Traditional Chinese medicine before using Chinese herbal medicine.
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