Updated: Mar 7, 2021
An active lifestyle and proper nutrition, when combined with supporting herbs is key for optimal heart health. According to the American Heart Association, 83% believe that heart attacks can be prevented but aren’t motivated to do anything. Some of the greatest risk factors are lack of movement/exercise and improper eating habits. Come see us for an initial Nutrition Response Test to see if your heart needs support and we'll work with you to help develop your healing journey.
The first proclamation of American Heart Month was issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson in February 1964, nine years after he had a heart attack. Since then, the president has annually declared February American Heart Month.
With organizations such as the American Heart Association and others working together, millions of people are enjoying longer, healthier lives. But despite all the progress, heart disease remains the single largest health threat to Americans. Here are some herbs that can help guide you in your heart-centered journey:
Hibiscus is a heart helping herb. According to the Natural Medicine Journal, a 2007 study showed cholesterol reduction by 8.3% to 14.4% in just one month. In 1 2009 study of diabetes (mostly women) ½ of participants were given black tea and the other ½ were given hibiscus tea. The results showed a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol which makes up most of the cholesterol in the body. Hibiscus is helpful for the heart by lowering LDL cholesterol which increases risk of heart disease and stroke.
Heart Tea, from the American Herbalists Guild
2 oz rose petal
1 oz rose hips,
1 oz hawthorn berry/leaf/flower
1 oz hibiscus,
1/2 oz orange peel
¼ oz cinnamon
Rose has a strong affinity toward the emotional and physical heart. The people at Evolutionary Herbalism consider it a cardiac heart nervine for its ability to calm nervousness and exactly specifically for people who feel anxiety in their chest. They describe this activation of the nervous system as not one where someone eats a lot of food or gets nauseous, but the kind where they get heart palpitations or flutters, chest tightness and sometimes sweat when they are nervous.
Motherwort also has a strong affinity for the heart. According to an Ayurvedic perspective, the people who have the type of anxiety that sits tight in the chest have a Vata imbalance.
“Motherwort and Rose pair very well together for people who have that Vata imbalance, that need to be calmed and relaxed, but also just need to come more into the heart. Innately in that process of entering into a heart orientation of perception are changes in the emotional side of things. This is where a lot of emotional healing happens. (Evolutionary Herbalism)”
We can use rose and motherwort together to tap into our hearts on a physical and an emotional level to try to work through traumas and turn them into teachings that will help us be the best version of ourselves.
Ginkgo leaf is important for heart health because it supports and encourages healthy blood circulation. Healthy blood flow is important to help the body continue to fight off diseases causing free radicals and heal. It’s also possible that the herb can neutralize existing free radicals preventing diseases. When the body is able to maintain a healthy blood blow, the heart is able to function at an optimal level.
We carry the herbal supplement Ginkgo Forte by Medi Herb which also helps support memory and cognition, promote mental alertness and mental clarity and provide antioxidant activity to support healthy cell function.
Hawthorn berries can be foraged from hawthorn trees in Colorado and other places in the country. They flower in the spring and their berries can be found later in the summer and fall. The trees have big, long thorns that are roughly an inch long. The bioflavonoids in hawthorn berries work to heal cardiovascular tissue in the body according to research. A good way to remember they are good for the heart is their red color. We have a friend who uses these red berries to help ease the stress on her heart because of heart arrhythmias and has found it to help her be able to stay away from prescription heart medicine altogether. Hawthorn not only helps with the physical heart, but the emotional heart too. If your heart is feeling broken or heavy, try hawthorn berry tea or tincture.
Hawthorn Cold Infusion
Hawthorn berries support circulation throughout the body. To make medicine, let the dried berries soak in a pan on the stove overnight, then in the morning, letting the berries simmer at a low heat for several hours and drink the medicinal tea.
Simply toss the dried berries in a coffee grinder until then turn into a fine powder. Put a couple teaspoons into your smoothie or tea for a tasty, medicinal drink.
A good way to remember that beets are supportive of the heart is that they too are red! In fact, red beets are slightly better for the heart than yellow beets. The root veg is high in betaine which is easily absorbed into the body and may help with kidney, liver and heart health. According to Wholistic Matters:
“Betaine protects against methylation imbalances that can lead to elevated plasma homocysteine, dyslipidemia and fatty liver disease. High homocysteine levels may indicate poor methylation function, and can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease. “
Beet Salad Recipe
Line a pan with parchment paper, drizzle with oil and roast at 400 degrees in the oven for 40-60 minutes or until they are just soft enough you can poke them gently with a fork. Then dice them up however you’d like and add onto a bed of arugula with sliced red onions, walnuts, apple slices, goat cheese and your choice of protein. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon, and balsamic glaze and toss.
Beet Juice Recipe
This juice is beneficial to the heart and energy levels. I usually do a ¼ of a small sized beet, some of the beet greens, about double that portion of sweet potato, ½ orange, 2 stalks or celery OR ⅓ of a normal cuke (or less of the long ones) and a pinch of ginger. Then, blend in a blender with 16 oz of water and strain using a fine strainer, cheesecloth or nut milk bag - whichever you have on hand!
This juice is a good way to get nutrients from beets and sweet potatoes in their raw state which you wouldn't normally get. It’s pretty sweet on it’s own, but if you add a little local honey it will be an even tastier treat. We like to drink this juice as an afternoon pick-me-up!