Herbs for Circulation

Heart | May 8, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

Circulatory system, heart

Herbs for Circulation

Having efficient circulation is crucial for maintaining good health. It allows nutrients, blood and oxygen to reach parts of the body.

circulationWhen blood flow to specific areas of your body is reduced, this is referred to as poor circulation. This is more likely to occur in your extremities, such as your arms and legs.

Some people notice they have poor circulation and experience little side-effects. However, for many people poor circulation can result from more series health conditions such as diabetes, peripheral artery disease or blood clots.

Herbs can be used to aid in healthy circulation and are often acting on the underlying reasons why this is occurring in the first place.

Some symptoms of poor circulation can include:

  • Inflammation of the extremities
  • Chronic infections
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Throbbing or stinging pain in your limbs
  • Muscle cramps

Causes of poor circulation

There are several different causes of poor circulation. Some of the main reasons include the following:

circulation cholesterolPeripheral artery disease (PAD). This circulatory condition causes narrowing of the blood vessels and arteries which can lead to poor circulation to your legs. It is associated with atherosclerosis where the arteries stiffen due to a build-up of plaque. Over time this reduced flow of blood can cause numbness, tingling and nerve and tissue damage in the extremities. PAD puts you at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Diabetes. Although diabetes is related to blood sugar irregularities it is also commonly associated with poor circulation. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and heart disease. A common complication of diabetes, diabetic neuropathy can lead to reduced sensation in the extremities.

Blood clots. These block the flow of blood in our blood vessels and can occur almost anywhere in our circulatory system. If they occur in the arms and legs they can lead to circulatory problems. Blood clots can develop due to many reasons and can be potentially serious—leading to stroke in some instances.

circulation varicose veinsVaricose veins. These are enlarged, knobbly looking veins that usually occur on the legs. They are caused by faulty valves in the veins themselves, which allow the blood to flow backwards and pool leading to poor venous circulation.

Your genes largely determine if you will develop varicose veins, however being overweight or obese are other risk factors.

Obesity. Carrying extra weight puts extra stress on your body. If you’re sitting or standing for extended periods this may led to circulation problems. Being overweight or obese puts you at higher risk of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and varicose veins.

Raynaud’s disease. The characteristic symptom of this disease is chronic cold hands and feet. This disease causes the small arteries in your hands and toes to narrow, causing impaired blood flow to these areas. Women are more likely to develop Raynaud’s disease as well as people living in colder climates.

circulation gingerGinger

A fantastic winter warming herb that has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, making it an ideal choice for people with arthritis and poor circulation. It also helps to stop our blood from clumping – preventing clots from forming in our arteries.
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Ginger can easily be added to cooking in powder form or freshly grated or thinly sliced.

A herbal tea made from freshly grated ginger can help with colds and flus by promoting sweating and stimulating blood flow.
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Garlic

A popular culinary herb that originates in the Middle East and China. Garlic’s many health benefits lie predominately in the cardiovascular system. It helps to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and lipids in the blood. It also helps to prevent our arteries from hardening and our blood from clotting. Garlic can be used in the diet and consumed fresh or cooked for less than 5 minutes to preserve its nutrients. Garlic can be taken as a supplement to get a stronger effect and it is great for people who can’t tolerate raw garlic.
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circulation chiliChili

Ever experienced the warming sensation that spicy food creates in your body. This is a sign that it’s delivering a kick to your circulatory system. Chili is a spice specifically indicated for poor or impaired peripheral circulation, and can also be applied topically for nerve, muscle and joint pain and even chilblains. Fresh or dried chili can be added to food if it is well tolerated or a topical cream can help, just make sure the skin isn’t broken or injured.
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Ginkgo

One of the most famous herbs for enhancing memory and cognitive performance. It accomplishes this by acting as a circulatory stimulant, enhancing blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body. Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant that helps to protect important organs in our body and most importantly our blood vessels. These incredible tree leaves are especially noted for increasing circulation to the eyes, helping to prevent or treat eye disorders, such as macular degeneration. Gingko is also considered a venotonic, which helps to maintain the structure and integrity of our veins and improves the flow of blood within them.
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Grapeseed extract

circulation grapeseedsA popular herb commonly taken for varicose veins and venous insufficiency. But there is more to this herb than meets the eye as it has many other benefits. Grapeseed extract, due to its potent antioxidant activity, helps to reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots and improve the function of our blood vessels. It can be used in people with retinal damage, high cholesterol and to speed up the repair of injuries and wounds.
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References

http://www.healthline.com/health/poor-circulation-symptoms-causes?m=2#overview1

Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and natural supplements: An evidence based guide vol. 2. Churchill Livingstone, Australia

Hosseini A, Hosseinzadeh H. A review on the effects of allium sativum (garlic) in metabolic syndrome. J Endocrinol Invest. 2015 Nov;38(11):1147-57

Sharma SK, et al. Mechanisms and clinical uses of capsaicin. Eur J Pharmacol. 2013 Nov 15;720(1-3):55-62

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24211679

McKenna DJ, et al. Efficacy, safety, and use of ginkgo biloba in clinical and preclinical applications. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 Sep-Oct;7(5):70-86, 88-90

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11565403

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