Blood circulation can be impeded for any number of reasons, including clogged arteries, capillary constriction, cardiovascular disease and other auto-immune diseases. Certain foods, supplements and herbs are helpful in improving blood flow and reducing pain or disability. Some herbs can produce side effects, so before using new herbal products, consult your health practitioner.
The herb Hawthorn, or Crataegus monogyna, is used to strengthen the walls of the heart and as a tonic to improve circulation and overall cardiovascular health. Hawthorn lowers blood pressure and reduces anxiety. Additionally, it can be helpful in reducing fatty deposits in patients with artherosclerosis. Although Hawthorn has been used for hundreds of years and is considered safe, it can produce side effects and interact with some medications in sensitive patients. Always check with a natural health practitioner before using Hawthorn.
Ginkgo biloba or Ginkgo helps increase memory and improve blood circulation to the head by dilating the blood vessels allowing better blood flow, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The gingko leaves contain terpenoids and flavonoids, two substances high in antioxidants and showing promise for lowering blood pressure and preventing heart disease. Ginkgo can thin the blood, so use caution if you’re taking blood thinners or other herbs with this attribute like garlic, ginger, bromelain or turmeric.
Inositol hexaniacinate or inositol is a variation of one of the B vitamins that has been found to be helpful for increasing peripheral circulation in the capillaries for those suffering from Raynauds disease, diabetic peripheral neuropathy and other ailments causing capillary constriction. High doses of inositol are necessary to achieve efficacy using inositol and treatment should be overseen by their natural health practitioners.
Evening Primrose Oil
Another treatment that has shown some success for treating Raynaud’s disease and increasing circulation to the extremities is evening primrose oil. Evening primrose oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and inhibits the chemicals that promote constriction of the small blood vessels.
Rauwolfia serpentina, also called Indian snakeroot, may help some people reduce hypertension and increase overall blood flow and circulation, according to. The alkaloids in Rauwolfia affect an individual’s blood pressure and cardiovascular function especially if their condition is related to high anxiety or stress, according to the University of Michigan Health Services. Rauwolfia contains the alkaloid respirine, which can produce serious side effects. This herb should only be taking under the supervision of a trained herbalist or other health practitioner familiar with its use.
Sources for this article include:
University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginkgo biloba
“The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing“; James Duke; 2002
University of Michigan Health System: Raynaud’s Disease
University of Michigan Health Services: Hypertension
Herbal Supplements for You: Rauwolfia Serpentine
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