It’s easy to forget about the heart, as it does its job automatically. But over the years, daily abuse like stress, eating junk food, living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking slowly degenerate heart function and can cause serious consequences. Thankfully, all is not dismal. In fact, unlike accidents and terminal illness, heart disease is controllable.

One of the components required for a healthy heart is healthy circulation. It keeps the heart beating, moving blood throughout veins and arteries and providing us with the nutrients which we need to live and prevent disease. In order for circulation to be effective, the blood’s route through the body must be open, flexible and free of obstruction. A whole food diet of fruits and vegetables, lots of water and regular exercise can keep your heart and vessels fit. Prevention is the best medicine and herbs have a lot to offer in this regard. The medicinal effect of some well-known herbs is empirically proven.

Herbs That Help

The primary action of herbs used in circulatory disorders is to increase the flow of blood to the body’s extremities (arms, legs, fingers and toes) and to improve the health of blood vessel walls. When it comes to preventing heart disease, just about everyone can benefit from garlic.

Without a doubt, garlic (Allium sativa) provides the body with protection against cardiovascular sluggishness. Garlic is one of nature’s most studied and helpful herbs. Scientific trials reveal that it can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, raise high-density lipoprotein levels (HDL, the good cholesterol), reduce the formation of plaque in carotid arteries and provide protection against aging in the all-important aorta–the cardiac blood vessel responsible for maintaining blood flow and pressure with every heartbeat.

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyancantha) is another circulatory superstar. Its use is most specifically helpful in cardiovascular circulatory disorders. Clinical studies show how the leaves, flowers and fruit of the hawthorn tree contain substances which act as antioxidants and which can help with symptoms of atherosclerosis. Hawthorn also prevents the buildup of cholesterol in the liver by encouraging the breakdown of cholesterol into bile acids. When used for a long period of time (weeks or months), extracts of hawthorn dilate blood vessels, including vessels of the coronary system, giving better blood flow through the heart and throughout the body. Hawthorn also affects intracellular calcium levels in the heart muscle, resulting in improved cardiac function and lowered spastic cardiac conditions.

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) shares some of the same health-promoting properties of garlic and hawthorn. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin. Studies indicate it lowers cholesterol and lessens blood clotting while improving capillary strength throughout the bloodstream. Cayenne helps arteries, veins and capillaries regain the elasticity of youth by feeding cell structure. It helps equalize circulation by regulating the flow of blood from the head to the feet and strengthens the pulse by increasing its power (not frequency) while lowering overall blood pressure. Generally, cayenne boosts overall health of the entire cardiovascular system.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a European herb used for centuries as a calmative to treat nervous disorders, ease hypertension and calm hyperactivity. It’s useful for symptoms associated with anxiety, panic attack, tension headache and insomnia and appears to be quite safe.

Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a European strain of blueberries that contains a group of flavonoids with anthocyanosides. These flavonoids are among the most powerful antioxidants available. The bilberry fruit has about 0.8 percent anthocyanosides, which have a tonic effect on blood vessels, strengthening the capillaries and making it a potentially valuable treatment for varicose veins, hemorrhoids and capillary fragility. Bilberry is also used to strengthen vision and macular degeneration.

In conjunction with a plant-based diet and stress management, these traditional herbs are the perfect preventive measure for people who have a family history of heart disease. They can be used in combination as a safe and effective program for combating the gradual loss of heart function that comes with age. Look for these in a liquid formulation with the patented Biomax method of extraction, which retains each herb’s active ingredient and essential minerals and enzymes. This type of processing offers superior bioavailability and enhances overall effectiveness.

About the Author

Roy Kiss is is a certified nutritionist with 14 years of experience in the nutritional sciences and health industry.