(Health Secrets) Worried about your heart? There are three inexpensive and natural additions you can make to your diet that can go a long way toward supporting optimal heart health:
- Hawthorn berry
- Jamaica or hibiscus flower
Each has a long distinguished history of healing and can be had on anyone’s budget.
The famous herbalist, Dr. John R. Christopher, was nicknamed Dr. Cayenne because of the extent to which he advocated the use of cayenne pepper, particularly 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 the ability of cayenne to aid the digestive system.
Dr. Christopher recommended one teaspoonful of cayenne powder in warm water taken three times a day. Hot stuff! But by dissolving 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. Immediately following it up with a glass of cold jamaica (pronounced huh-my-kuh) or hibiscus tea is an excellent way to get the heat sting out of your mouth and add even more to cardiovascular health.
For the very heat sensitive, there are cayenne capsules and tinctures, which will cost more than the powdered form. Whatever way you go, try to approximate Dr. Christopher’s recommended dosage amount of three teaspoonfuls of cayenne powder per day, or Dr. Richard Schulze’s recommendation of a half teaspoonful three times a day. The latter may be a good start for some. Here’s how Dr. Shulze feels about cayenne: “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 enhancing immune response. (Author’s notes from Dr. Christopher in parenthesis)
Capsaicin is the essential ingredient of cayenne. This may be acquired in a supplemental form by itself. Capsaicin is considered to be a powerful overall immune system stimulant, along with having 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. The dried leaves of the hibiscus flower used to make the brew are in almost every grocery store in Mexico. You may have to go online in the States and look for hibiscus tea leaves. Hibiscus tea is very simple to make.
Simply cover the bottom of a pan or pot liberally with the dried leaves, add hot, not boiling, water and let it steep covered for several minutes. It’s a good idea to make two quarts or liters at a time and refrigerate. The tea tastes somewhat like cranberry juice, though not nearly as bitter. The stronger the brew, the better the benefits. Make it strong enough so it turns out a deep, dark red brew. Sweeten with raw 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 from blood vessels, which contribute to high blood pressure, blood clotting or blockage, and 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 and maintaining cardiovascular health in patients with cardiovascular problems.
One study in Jamaica (the island nation) determined that even cancer cells were eliminated with the continual use of jamaica or hibiscus flower tea. Nutritionally, this tea is rich in vitamin C and antioxidant bioflavinoids.
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 in the States as a tonic.
This 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).
Hawthorn berry’s positive inotropic activity supports myocardial conractility. In other words, the heart muscles are strengthened to make stronger heart contractions, and blood vessel walls are strengthened and made more pliable, dilating them to help with high blood pressure and angina.
This berry also improves the oxygenation of red blood cells, and has been found to reduce blood lipids (fats). Even the New York Heart Association has gone natural enough to successfully use Hawthorn for functional congestive type two heart failure (CHF) in clinical trials.
Hawthorn berry has been a bedrock of heart tonics for centuries. If there is a Chinese food market nearby, it may have Hawthorn berry tea available. The tea is best used generally as a tonic, but for specific nagging heart conditions, it is recommended that therapeutic doses be taken through capsules, tinctures or extracts.
Those forms of Hawthorn berry are available from health food stores, herbalists, or online. For realized heart conditions, consult for proper dosages with a holistic health practitioner or herbalist.
It’s easy to use them all for optimal heart health
All three of these herbal items are 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, 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!
Powdered cayenne can be most inexpensively bought from the spice section of your grocery store, or ordered online from companies selling spices. Jamaica or hibiscus tea is very easy to make and store in large quantities, and a large home made tincture of hawthorn berry can be drawn upon. It doesn’t get any cheaper, safer, and more effective than these three for ensuring heart health!
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