The circulatory system is made up of the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries with the primary function of carrying oxygen and nutrients to every cell of the body as well as carrying away waste from each of those cells. The circulatory system also works intricately with the immune system to carry white blood cells and the endocrine system as an avenue to deliver hormones to tissues.
This system is vital for good health in every area of our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies and when circulation is impaired, tissues can begin to deteriorate and begin to lose function. Some common symptoms of poor circulation include cold hands and feet, poor memory, poor wound healing, and a pale complexion. Diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes can increase heart disease and poor wound healing by decreasing the circulatory system when there is a constant high glucose level in the blood. It is imperative to keep the circulatory flow to every tissue of the body and there are some wonderful herbs that help us achieve that goal.
Capsicum– has long been used as a circulatory stimulant. Its alkaloid, capsaicin, is what causes the herb to be hot. It is also the active part that is responsible for the ability of the herb to stimulate circulation. By helping to increase circulation, Capsicum has been useful in lowering blood pressure and in aiding in the healing of wounds. This herb is often blended with other herbs to work as a catalyst in getting the medicinal properties throughout the body. Capsicum is also rich in Vitamin C and E as well as other antioxidants known for their ability to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Ginkgo Biloba– this herb has a group of antioxidants known as bioflavonoids that help increase circulation, particularly to the brain and extremities. Several clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Ginkgo Biloba for improving blood flow to the brain, helping to improve memory loss, depression, headaches, and ringing in the ears.
Butcher’s Broom-this effective herb received its name from one of its uses many years ago. Butchers would tie several of the shrub branches together and use it to sweep their carving blocks clean. Butcher’s Broom is a vascular tonic which means it helps strengthen the veins and improve circulation, particularly to the lower body. Because it helps strengthen veins, it can be very helpful for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. This herb is also rich in iron, chromium, and B3. Due to its ability to strengthen the veins, this can cause the vessels to constrict and slightly increase blood pressure. Take caution if you have high blood pressure.
Hawthorn Berries– this herb loves the heart and helps protect it from oxygen deficiency. The Rutin, Quercetin, and other bioflavonoids in this herb help dilate and relax arteries, enhancing circulation to the heart. This increase in circulation and oxygen helps it to strengthen and normalize heart beats as well as help lower
Garlic– the herb that those mythical creatures avoid is one that helps improve many circulatory problems. Garlic can help prevent the formation of clots in the circulatory system by inhibiting the clumping together of blood cells called platelets. Garlic is also a circulatory tonic, helping to strengthen and dilate circulatory vessels that can help reduce blood pressure.
In most of the herbs presented here, there is a rich presence of bioflavonoids that are important nutrients for the circulation. Foods such as blueberries, citrus fruits and pomegranate are rich in bioflavonoids. Pomegranate also enhance nitric oxide, a molecule produced in the body. Nitric Oxide’s important function is as a vasodilator—opening up the blood vessels—and this helps lower blood pressure.
Finally, an herb that can help with the stress and emotional component of good circulation is Holy Basil. This herb is an adaptogen and helps the body adapt to stress and helps protect the heart from stress as well as helps lower blood pressure connected to daily stress.
If you would like to learn more about how to better strengthen the circulatory system and help alleviate the conditions that can come from poor circulation, contact us here at The Healthpatch.
Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND
For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.