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How can plants benefit the heart? How do you know they are safe for use? Herbs for heart health can be used to help lower blood cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, normalize blood flow, and even simply to tone the cardiovascular system. While generally safe for use, always talk to a doctor before using these plants, especially if you are taking any type of medication.
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Motherwort is a herb to use when the heart is weakened or troubled because of stress and anxiety and is specifically used for rapid heart beat due to tension. It has nervine properties, relaxing the nervous system, but it also strengthens the heart and normalizes the function of the circulatory system. Motherwort is a sedative, a nervine, an anti-spasmodic, and a cardiac tonic. It's medicinal properties are due to alkaloids, glycosides, and volatile oil.
To use, you can make a tea with one teaspoon of the dried herb, infused in one cup of boiled water for about ten minutes. Motherwort tea is extremely bitter! Another option is to take in tincture form. Take a dropperful in a glass of juice, tea, or water one to two times a day.
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Lily of the Valley
Lily of the valley is a powerful healing herb, useful in more serious cases such as angina or an aging, weakening heart. It has a potent strengthening benefit. Unlike the other plants listed in this article, lily of the valley should only be used under medical supervision.
Why is this herb beneficial? It is very high in cardiac glycosides, which are chemicals that stimulate heart muscles. By encouraging the contraction of muscles they strengthen the flow of blood being pumped through the body. Because lily of the valley is a potent heart tonic, it should not be used without the care of a professional herbalist. The heart becomes more efficient, but there is potential for oxygen deficiency.
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Cayenne is another herb to tone the heart that is safe for general use. It contains capsaicin, which has many health benefits for the cardiovascular system, as well as antioxidants and volatile oil. Cayenne regulates blood flow, balancing the entire system. It also strengthens the heart as well as arteries and capillaries.
To make a cup of cayenne tea infuse one teaspoon of cayenne powder in one cup of freshly boiled water. Take one tablespoon of this solution and dilute in a cup of hot water and drink. This is a great stimulating tonic for the heart, but for the entire body as well. Another way to take this herb is in tincture form, or even as capsules of cayenne powder.
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Lime blossom is a lovely, gentle herb that can benefit the heart. Like motherwort it also acts as a nervine tonic and is particularly useful in nourishing the cardiovascular system when stress, anxiety, and tension are part of the problem. Lime blossom is a specific herbal treatment for high blood pressure due to atherosclerosis or nervous tension. You can drink lime blossom tea, which unlike motherwort, has a pleasant taste. Steep one teaspoon of the dried herb for ten minutes. It can be blended with hawthorne berries when used to treat hypertension.
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Hawthorne is another traditional remedy for cardiovascular health. It normalizes the heart, either stimulating or calming, whichever is necessary. A gentle tonic, this herb can be used on a long-term basis to strengthen the system, benefiting conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and angina. Hawthorne berries contain saponins, glycosides, and flavonoids.
A tea can be prepared in the same manner as listed for motherwort and lime blossom tea. You can also take a tincture of hawthorne berries.
All of these herbs for heart health are beneficial, natural, and effective remedies for toning the cardiovascular system and treating related conditions. As heart-related problems are very serious, from raised blood pressure to clogged arteries, be sure to talk to your doctor and if possible see a physician such as a naturopath who is familiar with herbal medicine. Always discuss taking herbs with your doctor if you are taking any type of medication.
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Hoffmann, David. "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies." (Element Books, 1996).
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