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Top 15 Herbs for a Strong Healthy Heart
If you are looking for improved heart function, you need to improve the quality of your blood and improve bloodflow. This can be achieved by eating high quality natural food and following a regular exercise routine, as well as a healthy lifestyle.
In addition to the healthy lifestyle and diet, some herbs are known to fight heart disease, with their natural terpenoids and alkaloids. Although scientists don’t completely understand how this works, it is known that these herbal supplements to support the nourishment of the body and support heart health.
Many of these herbs have been used for centuries for their healing compounds and supportive properties for the heart and healthy circulation.
Keep reading to find out the top 15 most effective herbs that support a healthy heart.
Well known for its antibacterial compounds, oregano is a tasty way to control cholesterol and fight dietary fiber. Oregano is also high in many important antioxidants, such as vitamin C. Antioxidants are known to fight damage cause by free radicals, which often are the root cause of aging and many diseases. Oregano can thus help to prevent heart disease, among other health issues. Oregano also fights inflammation in the body, another source of several diseases such as arthritis. Oregano has also been shown to have a powerful anti-cancer effect in studies done with rats and lung cancer.
You can store fresh oregano by snipping off the ends and placing them in a glass of water, the same way you would keep flowers. You can also buy dried oregano in all health food stores in capsules or in bulk.
Garlic seems to make every healthy herb list, doesn’t it? Perhaps this is because many studies have shown that eating a clove or two of garlic each day can lower bad cholesterol levels, while increasing the good cholesterol. A few small clinical trials have found that garlic regulates blood pressure, improve blood circulation, and stop platelet aggregation that can lead to stroke. Still another study showed that extract from garlic showed heart protective effects from mitochondrial and cardiac dysfunction.
3. Butcher’s Broom
This is a little-known herb that is terrific at helping to reduce your risk for heart disease. Some of the main compounds of butcher’s broom include fatty acids and sterols that are believed to be helpful for improving the health of blood vessels. It also reduces your susceptibility to atherosclerosis.
You should note that although there are many herbs that are thought to be good for your heart, butcher’s broom is advised only for those with low blood pressure. Butcher’s broom with help to increase diastolic blood pressure, so if you have hypertension you should avoid this herb.
Bilberry is well-known for strengthening vascular walls, stimulate the formation of new capillaries, and improve microcirculatory health. A study performed in 2011 found that bilberry extract had a protective effect against cardio-toxicity due to its high antioxidant compounds.
5. Ginkgo Biloba
Extracts from the leaves of the ginkgo tree have been shown in numerous studies to increase the flow of blood through the arteries, veins, and capillaries due to dilation. Ginkgo also inhibits platelet aggregation and blood clotting. The anti-oxidants in ginkgo also protect the vascular walls from the damage that free radicals cause.
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Well-noted for its ability to prevent heart attacks, cayenne is a powerful herb filled with more than 26 healthy vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, selenium, zinc, magnesium as well as dietary fiber. Scientific studies show that cayenne has powerful substances that play an important role in heart health. Cayenne removes plaque from the arteries, which provides nourishment to the heart. It improves blood circulation, removes harmful toxins from the blood, re-builds blood cells, lowers cholesterol levels and emulsifies triglycerides. One study showed that not only does cayenne prevent blood clots, it can also reduce pain.
Ginseng root has been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments. Recently studies have shown that this herb has value in the treatment of heart disease. Though more studies are needed, some show that ginseng protects the heart. Numerous trials have shown promise that ginseng can fight cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, cardiac contractility, arrhythmia, and coronary artery disease. Ginseng is high in anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, and anti-tumor compounds.
Cacao helps the heart through a flavonol that improves the healthy function of blood vessels, called epicatechin. One randomized controlled study showed that flavonol-rich chocolate was shown to help platelet function and vascular health with subjects who had congestive heart failure. This Swedish study showed that short term and long term health was improved by increasing the nitric oxide bio-availability and decreasing heart damaging oxidative stress, through daily consumption of cacao, this effect remained consistent throughout the 4 week study.
There is strong evidence that links Hawthorn to the dilatation of blood vessels, the strengthening of the heart, the lowering of blood pressure, the removal of fatty deposits and cholesterol levels. Due to active phytochemicals, including bioflavonoids that contain antioxidant compounds, free radicals get devoured like ice cream on a hot day. Hawthorn has also been found to help distribute and make use of the vitamin C in the body to help strengthen capillaries. Some studies show that hawthorn has little or no effect on those suffering from heart failure so this herb might have more of a protective effect rather than a healing one.
Despite its funny name, this herb has been used traditionally to stop a racing heart due to nervous tension. Long term use can reduce the formation of blood clots, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and even strengthens the heart muscles. Motherwort has been identified as having flavonoids, phenolic acids, phenylpropanoids, sterols, tannins, and volatile oils. There has been a great deal of pharmacological studies confirming that motherwort has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and hypotensive properties.
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OK, so it’s not an herb, but the regular consumption of grapes is thought to be beneficial for the heart. There is research that shows that grapes are high in important flavonoids that are known to fight high blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart muscle damage.
The University of Michigan health System conducted a study that showed that the high antioxidant level in grapes improve the diastolic pressure of the heart, prevent heart muscle enlargement, reduce the occurrence of fibrosis, as well as heart failure due to high blood pressure.
12. Green Tea
Green tea is well known for its high levels of antioxidants and it’s becoming even more well- known for its benefits to the heart. The cells in the blood vessels in and around the heart are more delicate than you might think. Drinking green tea improves their health and condition, which will invariably improve their performance. The European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation reported in their 2008 issue that scientists have found that green tea improved the functioning of the blood vessels within 30 minutes after drinking it. Read also about green tea for cancer.
Sometimes called Aronia berries, chokeberries are rich in vitamins A, K, and C. In a 2010 study, researchers found chokeberries to be very helpful for persons with metabolic syndrome, subjects that suffered from numerous health problems that will increase the risk of heart disease. Another plant that is rich in antioxidants, chokeberry is known to vastly decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and greatly decrease blood pressure.
14. Dong Quai
This ancient herb from China, sometimes called Angelica Root, has been used for thousands of years to help treat blockages that increased blood flow to the heart. Although there have been very few actual scientific studies involving humans, some lab tests involving animals suggest that it can reduce pain, open blood vessels, and stimulate the female reproductive system, as well as the heart. One study showed that a combination of dong qui, Asian ginseng, and astragalus greatly decreased chest pain in subjects that had heart disease.
SEE ALSO: 21 Foods For Healthy Heart Infographic
15. Sacred Pine
Familiarity breeds contempt. So many of us walk by pine trees and never give them a second thought. Pines are one of the oldest seed bearing trees on the planet. This little know pine has a powerful antioxidant called pycnogenol that can be found in the bark, nuts, and needles that can help lower inflammation in the blood vessels, and greatly lowering the risk of plaque buildup, which can reduce heart attacks and stroke. The needles are high in vitamin C; the inner bark contains quercetin and tannin, and the seeds, fatty oils.