We all need to take good care of our heart, our center, our organ that pumps blood, oxygen, nutrients and life throughout our body. There are many herbs that are “heart-healthy” and I will mention just a few of them is this Blog.
Cayenne Pepper, Capsicum annum, is a strong and easily grown herb that has a profound effect on the heart. You can grow Cayenne in the summertime here in Central Texas where you will be delighted to harvest these beautiful red peppers over the summer. I have recently made a new Cayenne Tincture and it is available for sale here. Cayenne is quite helpful in lowering blood cholesterol, assists with high blood pressure and can even delay or stop a heart attack when taken immediately as any pains begin.
Did you know that Roses, Rosa, spp. are not only beautiful flowers, but roses are also herbs. Roses are large or small shrubs, moderate to vigorous climbers and appear in numerous colors, scents and shapes. I love Antique Roses as they grow the best in our environment, require less care than the Hybrid roses, are more disease resistant and produce more fragrance and better, more nutritious rose hips. Rose petals are velvety soft and high in mucilage. Roses are also “cooling” for fevers, and are used as an astringent for infantile or childhood diarrhea. Not only a symbol of love, friendship and passion, but growing roses and using the rose flowers, leaves and hips can be rewarding for use in cosmetics and medicine. Rose Tincture is an excellent remedy for a broken heart and specific for treating grief. It truly OPENS the HEART and allows more love inside. Cleopatra had her servants gather rose petals to scatter in her boudoir to entice the affections of her chosen one. Legends have it the couple would stand knee deep within the deep fragrance of the blossoms, swooning from the erotic aroma. Try some incredible Rose Tincture today.
Another “Heart” herb is Hawthorn, Crataegus oxyacantha, a large shrub or tree that grows in many areas of the world. Hawthorn is a cardiac tonic and can be used both preventively and for some acute situations. I take a Hawthorn blend of the flowers, leaves and berries and use it as a preventative since both of my parents have had heart disease. I was delighted to see dozens and dozens of Hawthorne trees in bloom on my recent Plant Lover’s Journey to Ireland. The Irish said they haven’t seen a year like this in a long time. The Irish are not the only lucky ones!! You can drink a tea from the dried berries or take the blend as a tincture. Hawthorn is known to normalize blood pressure, it is strengthening to the heart muscles weakened by age and helpful for nervous heart problems and irregular heart beat. Hawthorn has been used for many, many years as a safe, heart tonic and does not have any known contra-indications for use with allopathic medicines.
Red Clover, Trifolium pratense, is another effective herb that benefits the heart. It can particularly help with the strengthening of menopausal heart muscle. One important contra-indication to using Red Clover is that it has a blood thinning constituient, Coumarin, so if you are on a blood thinning medication like Coumadin, you probably should avoid using it. Red Clover also has benefits for the lungs, is used in cancer therapy and is a great herb for the female reproductive system.
Also beneficial to the female reproductive system is one of my favorites, Motherwort, Leonaurus cardiaca. This lovely, purple-flowering herb grows very easily in our central Texas gardens and will reseed itself readily, so once you have it, you have it. Like Hawthorn, Motherwort has a tonic effect on the heart. It is used to promote circulation, for rapid heartbeat, arteriosclerosis and helps to dissolve blood clots. Motherwort also acts as a sedative for stress following childbirth and at menopause. Because of Motherwort’s ability to stimulate uterine contractions, it should not be used during pregnancy. It is, however, used during actual labor to facilitate childbirth. As the famous 17th Century Herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper wrote “Motherwort drives the melancholy vapors from the heart”. Used as a sedative and heart tonic, Motherwort can ease depression and calm the nervous system.
There are many ways to stay heart-healthy. Using herbs is just one. I believe it is important to eat a healthy diet, to exercise regularly, to maintain good relationships and to do something everyday for you, someone else and something creative. Your heart will stay open, vibrant and strong.
With Warm Green Blessings,