The cardiovascular system, or circulatory system consists of the heart, blood, blood vessels, arteries, veins and capillaries; it’s the organs and tissues that circulate blood and lymph through the body. Here’s a great, easy to understand explanation of the circulatory system from KidsHealth.org. Heart and Circulatory System.
Some of my favorite herbal allies for this system are hawthorn, motherwort, rose, and red clover, and I am currently exploring rhodiola, astragalus and reishi.
Gentle nervines also are beneficial when issues with the heart and with blood pressure are created (or made worse) by stress. Here I use milky oats (tinctured fresh), oat straw, passionflower and mimosa (for lightening the heart).
Holy basil by Julie James
I also like to use holy basil as a nervine; in his book Adaptogens, David Winston states that he uses holy basil to enhance cerebral circulation and memory (along with rosemary, bacopa and ginko) ← I add gotu kola and a bit of peppermint to this particular blend.
Oats by Kristine Brown
Other great herbs/spices for the circulatory system include garlic, cayenne, yarrow, burdock and dandelion.
What else can you do to nourish and care for your cardiovascular system?
1. Reduce the stress in your life. Sometimes that action can feel more stressful than leaving your relationships and your limited boundaries as they are, but I can say from experience that, when you learn to take care of your emotional self in a healthy way, the stress in your life can lower dramatically.
2. Move your body. Not only does that strengthen and tone your cardiovascular system, but it also helps your lymphatic system (among other systems).
3. Eat nourishing foods. I’ve recently become a big fan of fermented and cultured foods. For real. I can’t believe how my digestive system has changed for the better. While this blog post is not about the digestive system, the better your body can assimilate nutrients, the better each system of your body can be nourished by your food intake.
Here are some links you may find interesting:
On Hawthorn, Stress and the Heart by Rebecca Altman
Herbs for the Heart by Christopher Hobbs
Caring for the Heart the Natural Way by Sage Consulting and Apothecary
Have you been to Jim McDonald’s site herbcraft.org? Here’s his section of links on the cardiovascular system. Be sure to visit the rest of his website; it’s a valuable resource.