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Heart Healthy Herbs

Our physical bodies are directly related to our emotional body. What we feel impacts our organs and our overall health. Proper nutrition is a key component to prolonging our life, just as getting enough sleep, exercise and taking time to enjoy each day. When it comes to the heart, this special organ is the center of the body's universe. As blood gets circulated through the heart, it ensures that all cells, tissues, and organs receive the oxygen, nutrients, and other essential substances they need to function properly. It also facilitates the removal of waste products and helps maintain the body's internal balance.

When we are grieving, stressed, or going through an emotional conflict, the heart feels it too. When my father passed away, I was so distraught that a perforation was created in one of my heart walls. This disturbed the flow of oxygen and blood in my system, and I had all kinds of uncomfortable symptoms. I had to have surgery to patch this hole so that my circulation could proceed as normal. Knowing now what I didn't then, I could have been consuming herbs that strengthened the heart to help me through that grieving process. There are many herbs that can serve the heart, but my favorite are Motherwort, Linden, Hawthorn, Rose, Holy Basil, Hibiscus and Mimosa.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), in Latin means Lion Hearted. It's known for its ability to manage a variety of heart conditions and it's calming nervine components are able to soothe fast and irregular heartbeat due to anxiety. Linden flower (Tilia sp.) is used to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and is calming to the nerves. Hawthorn leaf and berry (Crataegus monogyna) are used to manage cholesterol, improve blood flow, and protect blood vessels from damage.

Rose petals (Rosa damascena), which are mildly astringent, targets the emotional aspects of the heart. Their volatile oils are known for uplifting mood and calming the nervous system. Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum), is packed with vitamin K supporting overall heart health and has shown to lower stress induced cholesterol levels. Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), is a blood builder and has been studied to lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. It is especially beneficial to those who have atherosclerosis. Mimosa bark (Albizia julibrissin), nourishes the heart and works so well for the nervous system, it is known in the herbal community as herbal Prozac.

When focusing on healing a particular organ, look at what is going on with the emotions as well as what is going on physically. The herbal realm is vast and rich in its ability to heal both aspects. Take the time to look inward and utilize the plants around us, they are here to help. Send some love to your heart this month, it works so hard every day just for you.

I wish you all a very happy February!

~ Jody


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