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Cardiovascular Herbal Support

February is American Heart Month, a time when we are encouraged to focus on our cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of Americans. In this article, we wanted to discus some of our favorite herbals that support the heart and cardiovascular system.


Hawthorn

Hawthorn, Crataegus spp., is a thorny, dense shrub in the rose family. Historically, hawthorn was used in herbal medicine as a cardiovascular tonic.


While it helps bring inflammation down in the body, it also balances the heart and circulation. Hawthorn improves coronary circulation by dilating blood vessels while strengthening heart muscle with the force of contraction. It also has been shown to support healthy cholesterol. In addition, this herb may help stabilize blood pressure as cardiac functions improves.


In a systematic review, the researchers found that hawthorn can significantly lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension if used for at least 12 weeks (Cloud, Vilcins, & McEwen, 2020). Moreover, the flowers and berries contain the most effective hypotensive properties and should be used instead of the leaves or bark.


With all of these attributes, it is no wonder that early historical records show the Hawthorn tree was said to be a symbol of love. Hawthorn is considered generally safe when used appropriately but may present mild symptoms for some individuals.

 

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, is a member of the mint family. This perennial herb is often grown in herb gardens and used for its lemon-scented leaves. Melissa officinalis has a square stem with opposite, broadly oval to heart-shaped serrated leaves and small white flowers.


Lemon Balm is tradtionally used for lifting the mood, anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, soothing a nervous stomach, and much more.


Linden Flower

The Linden tree, also known as the basswood, is a beautiful shaped deciduous tree that grows to about 100 feet. In Europe, it is often referred to as the Lime tree. The creamy light-yellow flowers hang in clusters bearing a lovely perfume-like scent.


Linden flower is very calming and relaxing. Traditionally, it has been used to reduce high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, heart palpitations, relieves tension and anxiety, aids in sleep and restlessless and more.


According to Augšpole, Dūma, & Ozola, the main constituents of linden flower tea are flavonoids (quercetin glycosides, kaempferol glycosides, tiliroside), phenolic acids,

essential oils, phytosterols, organic acids, tannins, mucilage, minerals, niacin, and

vitamin C (2018). These antioxidants help to prevent and repair DNA damage.



Yarrow

Yarrow is not only a miraculous first-aid plant, but can also be great for supporting the cardiovascular system. It has blood regularting properties as well as promotes lowering blood pressure, varicose veins, and hemeroids. Some research suggests it may have cholesterol lowering effects. In a 2012 study, researchers found that it helped lower cholesterol levels in broiler chickens.

 

Rosehips

Rose hips are the fruit of the rose and are rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, catechins, quercetin, and ellagic acid. All of which can help lower inflammation and oxidative stress in your body. Rose hips may help prevent skin aging, reduce osteoarthritis pain, and aid weight loss and heart health.


In a randomized, double-blind, cross-over investigation, Andersson et al. (2012) concluded that daily consumption of 40 g of rose hip powder for 6 weeks can significantly reduce cardiovascular risk in obese people through lowering of systolic blood pressure and plasma cholesterol levels.




Hibiscus

Hibiscus is a popular tea around the world and can be served hot or cold. Hibiscus is loaded with antioxidants and has gentle, soothing properties that both support the heart and healthy blood clotting. Moreover, it is known to support a balanced blood sugar levels. According to a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa on blood pressure and cardiometabolic markers, hibiscus shows promise for reducing cardiovscular disease risk (Ellis et al., 2022). Overall, hibiscus is considered safe and well tolerated, and can be consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet.


All in all, this is our favorite tea blend to support heart health and the cardiovascular system:


This information is for educational purposes only. Not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition. Consult your healthcare provider before starting any new therapy.


References


Andersson, U., Berger, K., Högberg, A., Landin-Olsson, M., & Holm, C. (2012). Effects of rose hip intake on risk markers of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease: a randomized, double-blind, cross-over investigation in obese persons. European journal of clinical nutrition, 66(5), 585-590.


Augšpole, I., Dūma, M., & Ozola, B. (2018). Bioactive compounds in herbal infusions.


Cloud, A., Vilcins, D., & McEwen, B. (2020). The effect of hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) on blood pressure: a systematic review. Advances in Integrative Medicine, 7(3), 167-175.


Ellis, L. R., Zulfiqar, S., Holmes, M., Marshall, L., Dye, L., & Boesch, C. (2022). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa on blood pressure and cardiometabolic markers. Nutrition reviews, 80(6), 1723-1737.


Yakhkeshi, S., Rahimi, S., & HEMATI, M. H. (2012). Effects of yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.), antibiotic and probiotic on performance, immune response, serum lipids and microbial population of broilers.



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