May 18, 2009
Here are a few inexpensive and natural additions to your diet that could go a long way toward supporting a strong heart and healthy cardiovascular system: Hawthorn Berry, Cayenne, and Jamaica (pronounced ha-my-ka) or Hibiscus Flower. The surprising health benefits of these three herbs are summarized in this article.
Hawthorn Berry has been used as a tonic for the heart and cardiovascular system for quite some time. It is used considerably as a heart condition remedy in Europe, and the tea has been used in China or by Chinese families elsewhere as a heart tonic. Here is a natural source rich in flavonoids that has been used successfully for various cardiovascular disorders, including angina (constricted blood vessels), tachycardia (rapid heart beat), and arrhythmia (irregular heart beat).
The positive inotropic activity supports myocardial contractility. In other words, the heart muscles are strengthened for stronger heart contractions. Additionally, blood vessel walls are strengthened and made more pliable, while dilating them to help reduce high blood pressure and angina. This berry improves the oxygenation of red blood cells. It has also been found to reduce blood lipids (fats). The New York Heart Association has had success with using Hawthorn for functional congestive type two heart failure (CHF) in clinical trials.
Hawthorn Berry tea has been a bedrock of heart tonics for many years. If there is a Chinese food market nearby, it may have Hawthorn Berry tea available. But for specific nagging heart conditions, it is recommended that therapeutic doses be taken through capsules or tinctures or extracts. Those forms are available from health food stores, herbalists, or online. For realized heart conditions, consult with a holistic health practitioner or herbalist for proper dosage.
The famous herbalist now deceased, Dr. John R. Christopher, was nicknamed Dr. Cayenne because of the extent that he had advocated cayenne. His main endorsement of cayenne was for heart and cardiovascular health. He even declared that by using large doses of cayenne, he had stopped heart attacks in progress. There are other health benefits as well, including even aiding the digestive system!
Dr. Christopher recommended one teaspoonful of cayenne powder in warm water taken three times a day. Hot stuff! But by dissolving the cayenne in a small amount of water, maybe one or two ounces, it’s possible to throw down this hot stuff without holding it in the mouth long enough to cause much discomfort. Another method is mixing another herb powder, such as tumeric, with the cayenne in a normal sized cup or glass of water and lime. Immediately following up the cayenne only solution with a glass of cold Jamaica or Hibiscus tea is an excellent way to get the heat sting out of your mouth and to add even more to your cardiovascular health.
Then there are cayenne capsules and tinctures, which cost more than the powder form alone. Whichever way you choose, try to approximate Dr. Christopher’s recommended dosage amount of a teaspoonful of cayenne powder three times a day, or even Dr. Richard Schulze’s recommendation of a half teaspoonful three times a day. The latter may be a good start for some, but get a high heat rated cayenne powder from an herbalist at this dosage. Here’s a quote from Dr. Schulze: “If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is more powerful than any other.”
Dr. Schulze goes on to explain that “Cayenne pepper contains many wonderful phytochemicals, vitamins (extremely bioavailable C & E), and minerals (including magnesium). It cleans the blood allowing hormonal signals to make their way unimpeded through your system, thus the enhanced immune response.” The notes in parenthesis are from other material on cayenne.
Go here for more on phytochemicals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytoc…
Capsaicin is the essential ingredient of cayenne. You may be able to acquire capsaicin in a supplemental form by itself. Capsaicin is considered to be a powerful overall immune system stimulant, along with its well established effects on cardiovascular activity and its unfailing ability to revive organ secretion.
Jamaica or Hibiscus Tea
Served cold, this is the ideal chaser for that hot cayenne pepper solution. This inexpensive flower tea is popular in Mexico, the Caribbean, and throughout the Philippines and Southeast Asia, including Taiwan. It’s very easy to purchase the dried flower leaves used to make the brew here in Mexico. You may have to go online to order in the States, Canada or Europe. But it is very easy to make.
Simply fill the bottom of a pan or pot liberally with the dried leaves, add hot water and let it steep for several minutes. It’s a good idea to make two quarts or liters (or more) at a time and refrigerate. It tastes somewhat like cranberry juice, though not nearly as bitter. The stronger the brew, the better the benefits. Make it so it turns out a deep, dark red brew. Sweeten with honey or Stevia if desired.
From Dr. Andrew Weil, “Studies have found that people who drank two cups of Hibiscus daily for four weeks lowered their diastolic blood pressure by 12% – results similar to those for common blood pressure medication”. And The American Heart Association’s research has concluded that natural anthocyanins, which help strengthen collagen and improve capillary function are present in this brew.
Jamaica or Hibiscus tea aids in the removal of triglycerides and cholesterol from blood vessels, which contribute to high blood pressure, blood clotting or blockage, and subsequent heart problems.
In Mexico, medical professionals recommend it for high blood pressure. Up to a liter a day of this tea is advised by professor Abigail Aguilar Contreras for restoring cardiovascular health. One study in Jamaica (the island nation) determined that even cancer cells were eliminated with the continual use of Jamaica or Hibiscus flower tea. This tea is rich in vitamin C and antioxidant bioflavinoids.
All three of these herbal items could be categorized as nutraceuticals. Dr. Stephen Defelice defines nutraceuticals as “any substance that may be considered as food or any part of food that in addition to its normal nutritive value provides health benefits including prevention of disease.” To ensure optimum health benefits, try to stay organic with all of these items if possible.
There are supplements available that include both Hawthorn Berry and Cayenne if you wish to search online. If not, it may be wise to mix and match teas with tinctures or extracts if you wish to pursue all three of these remedies simultaneously. Otherwise you’ll spend most of your time making teas! Hint: Jamaica or Hibiscus tea is very easy to make and store in large quantities.
Article – Blood Pressure: Flower Power! Lower Your Blood Pressure with Flowers
Article – Cayenne Pepper and Heart Health
Report: Cayenne for Heart Health by Dr. John Christopher
Hawthorn Berry Report