Monday, September 16, 2013

The Heart Helpers...

Herbs like hawthorn, garlic and ginger and natural therapies such as Ayurveda all help protect the heart, strengthening its ability to do its work.
Several natural medicines and therapies can reduce heart disease risk; by the same token, these approaches may also benefit people already suffering from heart disease.

Nutritional medicine

These nutrients all play a role in heart health. (Note: Dosages vary from individual to another, so consult a naturopath first.)
Vitamin B6: This is needed for converting homocysteine to the harmless chemical, cystathione, which prevents the homocysteine-induced oxidation of cholesterol. Vitamin B6 also inhibits the platelet aggregation that occurs in atherosclerosis.
Vitamin B12: A deficiency is associated with elevated homocysteine levels.
Vitamin E: This fat-soluble antioxidant helps prevent abnormal blood clot formation, inhibits platelet aggregation, and helps repair blood vessels, plus – along with beta-carotene and coenzyme Q10 – it helps prevent oxidation of cholesterol. Studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that vitamin E can contribute greatly to the prevention of heart disease. In one study, undertaken at Harvard Medical School, it was found that those women who took vitamin E daily for over two years had a 46 percent lower risk of heart disease.
Vitamin C: This helps prevent formation of oxysterols and, when combined with the amino acid lysine, it may help dissolve clots in the bloodstream. Studies show that vitamin C is required for collagen synthesis and so is needed for arterial wall integrity.
Coenzyme Q10: It is over 40 years since Dr Karl Folkers, a biomedical scientist at the University of Texas, discovered that this nutrient helps to strengthen the heart muscle and energise the cardiovascular system. Subsequent studies show that coQ10 protects against atherosclerosis, and has potent antioxidant properties which protect against the formation of oxysterols.

Herbal medicine

One of the most promising herbs for treating heart disease is an extract from the hawthorn berry, which has been found to improve the circulation of blood to the heart by dilating the blood vessels and relieving spasms of the arterial walls. Garlic and ginger also have many heart-healthy properties: garlic contains sulphur compounds, which work as antioxidants and help dissolve clots, while ginger has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and make blood platelets less sticky.

Ayurvedic medicine

In treating heart disease, Ayurvedic doctors use several methods which result in the reduction of free radicals. By using specific herbal supplements and pancha karma (detoxification and purification techniques), free radicals and lipid peroxides are reduced. As it is especially important that people with heart disease lower their stress levels, a program of transcendental meditation is also recommended.

Source : Nature and Health



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