HERBAL THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM

The circulatory system comprises the heart and all the blood vessels in your body: arteries, veins and small capillaries. Blood is of course a vital part of the system!

Disorders affecting circulation are very common. Mild problems such as chilblains can be easily treated at home, but potentially serious problems such as irregular heart beat require professional help.

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WHEN TO SEEK HELP

If you are already taking medication prescribed by your doctor for a heart or circulation problem, I would not recommend that you try out any herbal remedies yourself. However, a medical herbalist may be able to advise you on remedies that can work alongside orthodox medication. Many cases of mild heart disease can be successfully treated by herbal medicine, but this needs to be done under the supervision of a herbalist, especially given that some of the more potent herbs are not available over the counter.

LOOKING AFTER YOUR HEART

Diet and lifestyle have a huge effect on the health of the circulatory system, which thrives on exercise and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and which suffers badly if you smoke, take no exercise or eat too much junk food.

People are often confused about what constitutes a healthy diet for the heart and circulatory system, and many myths are perpetuated about what causes high cholesterol, which fats are good for you and how much red wine it is acceptable to drink. I strongly suggest that if there is history of heart disease in your family or you have been diagnosed with a circulatory disease you should see a dietary or herbal practitioner, who will be able to advise you on specific dietary requirements.

MUST-HAVE HERBS

The herbs in this section are arranged in order of usefulness.

ARROW

Warning: Do not take if pregnant.

Caution needed if allergic to the plants of the Compositae family.

Uses

Yarrow is a herb with many medicinal actions, one of the more significant being the ability to improve blood circulation. It can be used in many conditions where circulation is a problem: cold hands and feet, general sensitivity to cold, getting chilblains, nosebleeds, easy bruising, varicose veins or bleeding haemorrhoids. Yarrow improves the blood flow to body extremities and reduces the tendency to excessive bleeding (hence its use in cases of period disorders). It can be used directly on cuts to staunch bleeding. It is also helpful in reducing mildly elevated blood pressure, although it is best to have an individual dosage determined by a herbalist who can check your blood pressure on a regular basis.

Combinations

Yarrow combines well with hawthorn.

How to take

Either as tincture or as a tea.

Dosage

Adults: 2-4ml, 1-3 times a day, tincture strength 1:5; or 1 cup of tea 1-3 times a day.

Children (2-16 years old): adjust the adult dose downwards, depending on the age of the child – see post 6.

HERBAL THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM

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