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Circulatory Problems

If you suffer from circulatory problems, diet and lifestyle factors are extremely important. Incorrect choices will cause cardiovascular disease to develop. Circulatory problems respond very well to nutritional, herbal and lifestyle therapies.

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Health conditions caused by poor circulation...

High blood pressure, or, hypertension

Can result when cholesterol plaque deposits appear along the walls of the arteries, and causes them to harden and constrict. Because the arteries are narrowed, the blood exerts a greater force against the walls of the blood vessels, causing the blood pressure to rise.

Arteriosclerosis, or, "hardening of the arteries"

This is associated with lack of circulation due to narrowing of the arteries from fatty deposits as well.In addition, circulatory problems can lead to a stroke and angina pectoris - chest pain.

Buerger's Disease

A circulatory disease brought on by chronic inflammation of the veins and arteries in the lower parts of the body is Buerger's disease. This disease is most prevalent among people who smoke. Early signs of Buerger's disease are a tingling sensation, commonly referred to as "pins and needles" and a burning sensation in the fingers and toes.

Raynaud's Disease

Another serious circulatory condition called Raynaud's disease is characterized by constriction and spasm of the blood vessels in the extremities, such as in the fingers, toes, and tip of the nose. Cold, stress, smoking, magnesium deficiency and other factors may cause fingers and toes to numb - extremities may appear colourless due to the lack of circulation and arterial spasm. This disease most commonly affects women and occasionally leads to gangrene.

Varicose Veins

In addition, poor circulation can result from varicose veins that have developed due to loss of elasticity in the walls of the veins.

Because sluggish circulation can cause many health problems, you should seek help from your health care provider if you suffer with any of the above health complaints.

Diet and Circulation

Diet is very important in circulatory problems such as hypertension and should be the first choice for treatment of the condition.

A vegetarian diet abundant in fruits, vegetables and grains has been found to be most helpful for lowering or eliminating high blood pressure. If this is not an option, animal fat and simple carbohydrates must be severely reduced. Sugar and table salt must be reduced. Sodium is a primary contributor of hypertension, because it causes fluid retention, which adds additional stress to the heart and circulatory system. Celtic sea salt is a good alternative to table salt, if used in small amounts, as it provides a balanced complex of minerals.

Fibre needs to be increased. Potassium foods such as fish, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, peaches, avocado and orange juice should be consumed. Calcium foods are needed, such as skim milk or low fat milk, spinach and broccoli. Magnesium foods should also be eaten and may be found in cooked dried beans and peas, dark leafy vegetables, milk, nuts, soybeans and seafood.

Foods that may help lower blood pressure

Foods that have been known to lower blood pressure are celery, garlic and onions, fatty fish or fish oil (salmon, sardines, tuna, herring and mackerel three times a week), and olive oil.

The role of Nutrients

Nutrients may be helpful. Increasing the Potassium, Calcium and Vitamin D intake will cause the body to excrete more sodium. Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium also help regulate fluid retention. Bioflavonoids reduce cerebral haemorrhage that leads to death in people with hypertension. Niacin may reduce blood pressure. Vitamin C can help maintain the health of the blood vessels, which are strained by the greater pressure placed on them by hypertension. Vitamin E is an excellent vitamin for reducing blood viscosity. Aspirin may prevent a form of high blood pressure in pregnant women called pre-eclampsia.

Herbs that support healthy circulation

Many herbs are specifically for the circulatory system and will greatly help these health complaints.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is classified as one of the most important herbs and an excellent healer. It builds up the bodies resistance and is very high in Vitamin C. It stimulates the whole body and is classified as one of the best general stimulants. Stimulation is the key to healing, as when the body and organs are properly stimulated they will heal, cleanse and begin to function normally. If it is taken regularly it will reach every part of the body. It improves the entire circulatory system and it feeds the cell structures of arteries, veins, and capillaries so they will regain elasticity. It regulates the flow of blood so it influences the heart immediately - the frequency of the pulse is not increased but is given more power. It normalises blood pressure and is used for both high and low blood pressure. It is a wonderful herb.

Ginkgo Biloba

Another circulatory herb is Ginkgo biloba as EGb761. Ginkgo biloba is a herb that has been traditionally used to increase circulation to the brain, improving the memory. It is a powerful antioxidant. Some people who start taking this herb say they notice a mild transient headaches for a couple of days. This is a good sign, showing this herb is doing its work, increasing the blood flow to the brain.

Ginkgo has been found to be of help for several conditions caused by reduced circulation. Increased circulation to the brain improves mental sharpness, concentration, short term memory and cognitive ability. It also helps in some cases of tinnitus or ringing in the ears and vertigo. Improved peripheral circulation helps reduce cold extremities, intermittent leg pain and cramping. Ginkgo's antioxidant activity protects the brain and nervous system from free radical damage. It helps supply more oxygen and glucose to the brain and protects arteries, veins and capillaries from damage - regulating their tone and elasticity. Ginkgo is a good herb to use for the following - poor memory, lack of concentration, tinnitus, poor circulation to the extremities, to improve short term memory, helps improve eyesight and is an antioxidant.

Other herbs that are helpful are Fennel, Black Cohosh, Cayenne, Hawthorn, Rosemary, Suma tea, Chrysanthemum flowers, Lavender bath for relaxation, Chamomile, Astragalus, Parsley, Reishi mushroom and Peony root.

Exercise for improving circulation

Regular, gentle exercise and fat loss for those who need it are essential in preventing and treating high blood pressure, because they keep the circulatory system healthy. Walking, slow swimming and casual cycling are good choices. Promoting a tranquil outlook on life is of primary importance in reducing and preventing hypertension. Yoga will relax, stretch and improve overall health and well being.

Nutritional and Herbal support for healthy Circulation includes:

L Carnitine - Supports the cardiovascular system and reduces fatty acids in blood.

Fish Oil with Vitamin E - Improves the hormonal control of blood flow.

CoQ10 - A circulation and cardiovascular formula.

Garlicin HC - A potent circulatory and cardiovascular formula.

HSII- May help lower blood pressure, strengthens cardiovascular system and improves blood flow.

Some interesting points on Circulatory Problems:

  • Eat a high fibre diet, bananas, brown rice, garlic, onions, pears, peas and spinach.
  • Avoid animal protein, red meat, fatty foods, sugars, white flour and trans fatty acids (cooked oils and margarines). These decrease antioxidants in the body and promote clogging of the arteries.
  • Exercise regularly for improved circulation, lowering of blood fats and weight control.
  • Give yourself a dry massage all over your body using a loofah sponge or natural bath brush. Alternating hot and cold showers are excellent for immune stimulation and poor circulation.
  • If you are carrying too much extra weight, you should consider going on a fat loss system. Seek advice, to find the best way to do this.
  • Insure your water intake is adequate.
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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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