With both Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month falling in February, our hearts take center stage this month whether it’s cardiovascular health we’re focused on or our heartstrings.
In both cases, there’s an herb that is there for you!
According to Emily Lesnak, ND, a clinical supervisor at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the following herbs can benefit your cardiovascular health while also kickstarting your heart’s more romantic desires:
A cardiovascular tonic, hawthorn strengthens the normal function and structure of your cardiovascular system in a general manner. As a mild hypotensive it can help lower blood pressure, and it’s an antioxidant, which can help prevent heart disease. Hawthorn also can be used to treat congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and hypertension.
When it comes to your heart’s emotional health, hawthorn also can be beneficial for those with irritable, nervous heart conditions that are related to an emotional heartache. It can help open your heart to forgiveness, while also providing nutrition and support to your heart.
Although more commonly recognized as a symbol of love this month, rose also is worthy of accolades for its healthy-heart properties. Rose can be used to treat hypertension and hyperlipidemia, and it can help increase circulation.
Legend may be at the root of the popularity of roses this month, as the petals are recognized for their aphrodisiac qualities. Rose also can help calm your nerves, open your heart and lift your spirits.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
This herb has cardioprotective effects, is a relaxant and is antihypertensive. It can be used for those with nervous debility triggered by irritation and unrest, or as a gentle cardiotonic specifically for cardiac disorders with nervous origin, including anxiety and palpitations.
Motherwort also is useful in strengthening the heart, and can help decrease high blood pressure caused by to stress.
Herbalists have reportedly used heartsease for many centuries: References to heartsease, commonly known as pansy, can be found in the plays of William Shakespeare. It was believed that a tea made from heartsease could purportedly induce love, heal a broken heart and produce peace of mind.
A mild antihypertensive, linden can help ease restlessness and nervousness, and it is a vasodilatory, which means it can help dilate blood vessels that are constricted. Linden also can help provide relaxation from nervous tension, and it can be helpful for palpitations due to stress.
Consult a licensed health care provider before taking any herbal supplements. To learn more about these herbs or the other natural health services available at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the teaching clinic of Bastyr University, including Diabetes and Cardiovascular Wellness, call (206) 834-4100.