Your blood circulation can be obstructed for any number of reasons, including clogged arteries, capillary constriction, cardiovascular disease and a variety of auto-immune diseases. Certain foods, supplements and herbs are helpful for improving blood circulation and reducing pain or disability.
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 the arteries 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 to improve your circulation.
Ginkgo biloba increases the memory and improves blood circulation to the head by dilating the blood vessels, allowing better blood flow, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. 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 such as garlic, ginger, bromelain or turmeric.
Inositol hexaniacinate or inositol is a variation of one of the B vitamins and increases 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 your natural health practitioner.
Another treatment that has shown some success for treating Raynaud’s disease and improving 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, reduces hypertension and improves circulation by stimulating blood flow. Alkaloids found in Rauwolfia can effect 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 taken 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
University of Michigan Health System: Raynaud’s Disease
University of Michigan Health Services: Hypertension
Herbal Supplements for You: Rauwolfia Serpentine
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