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Angina

General characteristics

General characteristics

This literally means 'chest pain'. The coronary arteries are unable to supply sufficient blood and oxygen to the heart muscle itself. This can be caused by a narrowing of the coronary arteries through plaque on the arterial walls or from the vessels going into spasm due to a lack of calcium. It is made worse by physical exertion, stressful situations and high blood pressure and is better for rest and relaxation. Symptoms include a tightening and constricting feeling across the front of the chest which can radiate into the jaw and left arm.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

It is important to be able to increase the amount of exercise gradually in order to exercise the heart. Be guided by specially trained cardio advisors (ask your GP or local gym) as this needs to be done with care.

If you smoke give up or drastically cut down, nicotine greatly aggravates the heart and circulation.

Increase your intake of raw garlic (minimum of 2 raw cloves daily), onions and leeks. These reduce the stickiness of the blood and greatly improve circulation.

Eat more bitter foods such as chicory, artichoke and dark green leaves which help support the heart, foods rich calcium and magnesium such as sesame seeds or tahini, kale and dark green leaves, seaweeds, algae.

Avoid refined fats of all kinds. Contrary to popular medical opinion there is no link between animal fat consumption and the occurrence of heart disease. In fact studies are now showing the most damaging fats to be processed vegetable oils and fats, that includes all vegetable margarines and any heated vegetable oils. Many foods contain these damaging 'trans fats' including cakes, pastries, biscuits, crisps, chocolate - in fact any food that has 'vegetable oil' in the ingredients should be avoided. It is far better to use organic butter (see 'wholefood diet' in the natural healing section of this site and the book list). Read 'The Cholesterol Myth' by Dr Uffe Ravnskov for a real eye opener.

It is also very important to keep the bowels moving regularly so increase fibre in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables and consider taking bitter and digestive herbs to improve digestion.

Avoid low fat dairy foods as the stripping away of normal fats has been linked to an increased risk of diseases such as a variety of cancers, teenage acne and heart disease, to name but a few. Full fat dairy contains far more nutrients such as vitamins D, B and A which give many beneficial health effects. Use organic whenever possible to avoid hormones and other nasties.

 

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Herbs that directly feed and strengthen the heart itself include hawthorn berries and flowering tops, cayenne, motherwort.

Herbs which thin the blood and help efficient circulation include red clover, ginkgo, cayenne, ginger, garlic, dong quai, yarrow.

Herbs that help to lower blood pressure and calm the nerves include lime flowers, motherwort, mistletoe, lobelia, yarrow.

Herbs that are rich in calcium and minerals so prevent muscle spasm include nettle, red raspberry. Crampbark relaxes smooth muscles and dilates the blood vessels which can increase blood flow to the heart muscle.

Herbs that have a bitter effect, supporting the heart and improving digestion include gentian root, holy thistle, milk thistle seeds, hops.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Take one Vitamin E or evening primrose oil capsule daily.

Hot and cold showers over the chest area help to increase circulation to the heart (see 'hydrotherapy' in the natural healing section of this site).

Laughing is like an internal aerobic workout so do as much laughing as you can by watching funny films or your favourite comedians daily.

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