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Ancient Ayurvedic texts (Samhitas) have mentions of countless herbs that can be used to treat different ailments. As an Ayurvedic doctor who swears by the Samhitas, I use many of them to treat my patients as well as to prepare Ayurvedic medicines, oils and other products at my hospital. One such kind of Ayurvedic herbs that I use are herbs for heart health.

In this blog, let us explore the herbs that have become my allies in nurturing and strengthening the heart.

 

Understanding the Heart-Health Connection from an Ayurvedic point of view

 

Ayurveda views the heart as a central point in the body where multiple pathways converge. Envision a wagon wheel with the heart positioned in the middle. Every spoke on the wheel signifies a distinct element of the body or a significant emotional experience. The combination of channels is substantial as it demonstrates the interconnectedness of the heart with every part of the body. The subtle body, which is energized and guides the physical body, has a solid connection to the heart. The heart plays a crucial role in the subtle body’s energy pathways. It is directly related to the Heart Chakra. 

The heart, in Ayurveda, is not just a physical organ but the seat of emotions and consciousness. This ancient system of medicine teaches us that imbalances in the body’s Doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—can impact heart health. Therefore, maintaining balance in mind, body and spirit is critical to support a healthy heart. 

 

The Heart Chakra

 

The heart is connected to all seven Chakras through the ten great vessels, but it has a more pronounced connection to the heart chakra. The Heart Chakra is believed to bridge the gap between our internal and external environments, acting as a gateway to heightened consciousness and comprehension. It is the primary location where we experience love, sympathy, solitude, sorrow and melancholy. These emotions frequently cluster in the vicinity of the heart.- The convergence of energy pathways occurs at specific locations within the body known as Chakras. The Heart Chakra is another pathway in the heart that can affect our heart health.

 

Natural Herbs Good for the Heart

 

Among the myriad of Ayurvedic herbs, several stand out for their profound benefits on heart health:

  • Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna): Known as the “guardian of the heart” in Ayurveda, Arjuna is revered for its ability to strengthen the heart muscle, improve circulation and regulate blood pressure. Incorporating Arjuna into my daily routine has been a cornerstone of my heart health regimen.
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.): Hawthorn is another potent herb that supports cardiovascular health. Rich in antioxidants, it helps dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and lower blood pressure. 
  • Garlic (Allium sativum): Garlic, with its intense aroma and potent medicinal properties, is a staple in Ayurvedic cuisine. It helps lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, and reduce the risk of blood clots. I add garlic liberally to my meals, savouring its flavor and heart-healthy benefits.

 

Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

 

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to the health of the heart. Here are some Ayurvedic-inspired tips to keep your heart healthy:

  • Maintain a Balanced Lifestyle: Balance is the key to health in Ayurveda. I prioritize rest, relaxation and rejuvenation, making time for self-care practices like yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity is essential for cardiovascular health. I engage in activities that I enjoy, whether it’s dancing, hiking or practicing martial arts, to keep my heart strong and my body fit.
  • Manage Stress: Chronic stress can take a toll on the heart. I cultivate resilience through stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and spending time in nature.

According to Ayurvedic tradition, the body, mind, and spirit are viewed as intertwined and inseparable from one another. Caring for these influences can significantly affect the heart’s transformation. Similarly, the functioning of the heart impacts all the interconnected systems and pathways within it. If we focus on one area, it will have repercussions on all the surrounding areas. There are several treatment options available that can benefit both our cardiovascular health and overall well-being. It is essential to listen to your gut and follow your heart when determining the best course of action.

 

Effect of digestion on heart health

 

Apart from using the above-mentioned herbs, maintaining a healthy digestive system is also crucial for heart health. Agni (digestive fire) plays a pivotal role in supporting heart health by influencing plasma, body tissues, and Ojus. Focus on consuming nutritious foods and be mindful of how you pair your meals. Follow a diet that helps improve your Agni. Being conscious of our eating habits and sticking to a routine can enhance our digestion. You can consult an Ayurvedic doctor for guidance regarding your diet. 

 

Recognizing Heart Stress Symptoms

 

It’s essential to listen to your body and recognize the signs of heart stress. Some common symptoms include:

  • Chest Pain or Discomfort: This may feel like pressure, squeezing or tightness in the chest.
  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing or feeling out of breath, especially during physical activity.
  • Fatigue: Unusual tiredness or lack of energy, even with rest.
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Feeling faint, dizz, or lightheaded, especially when standing up quickly.
  • Irregular Heartbeat: Palpitations, skipped beats or a sensation of fluttering in the chest.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly to rule out any severe heart conditions.

Always listen to your heart, nourish it with love and care and embrace the healing power of nature’s remedies to protect it.

 

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Consult with Dr. Rekha Radhamony