Naturopathic Approach to Cardiovascular Health
How can naturopathic medicine help with cardiovascular health? There is a big question with a big answer!
The answer is big not because there of the many herbs, nutrients, homeopathic remedies and lifestyle interventions that naturopathic doctors have in their tool kits to help cardiovascular health, but because it involves us having you do something powerful. We ask you to check in with your joy. What fills you up and brings you joy? Is there anything in your life that blocks this- a relationship, an outlook, a job or a habit? Louise Hay offers this affirmation for heart-related ailments: “Joy. Joy. Joy. I lovingly allow joy to flow through my mind and body and experience.” (1) There is heart-healing power in your happy place. (2-5)
While your heart knows best what brings it joy, as naturopathic doctors, we can use herbs, homeopathy and nutrients in an energetic way to help facilitate an open heart and self-inquiry. This can be done while simultaneously using these modalities to support your physical health. That is, herbal medicine, homeopathic remedies and nutrition can benefit mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being all at once.
Common cardiovascular symptoms and diagnoses we work with frequently include arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, hypertension, palpitations, chest pain, high cholesterol, peripheral vascular disease and valvular disease. When our patients are on pharmaceutical medications, we ensure that drug-nutrient or drug-herb interactions are avoided. Working as a team with prescribing physicians, patients may be able to reduce or eliminate pharmaceutical interventions over time. Additionally, naturopathic medicine can be useful in reducing side effects of many drugs.
When we work with heart health from a naturopathic perspective, we look at the whole person and offer tailored interventions. Dysfunction elsewhere in the body- like in the endocrine system or gastrointestinal tract- may be responsible for causing or exacerbating cardiac symptoms. In these cases, we work to nourish the underlying weakened organ system in order to help optimize heart health.
In addition to cultivating joy, the following are examples of therapies your naturopathic doctor may incorporate into a heart-health focused Care Plan.
Herbal Medicine: Hawthorn berry, leaf and flower
Antioxidants in hawthorn support lowering LDL cholesterol and plaque formation in blood vessel walls. Hawthorn supports coronary blood vessel dilation leading to improved blood and oxygen flow to the heart- reducing chest pain and lowering blood pressure.
Homeopathic: Rhus toxicodendron
Someone with heart disease who would benefit from this remedy often has a history an overwork or overexertion with great stiffness in the chest and back- accompanied by a remarkable desire to move. They may tend to feel claustrophobic. The movement they want is part of a cycle in which the motion actually aggravates them over time and causes significant weakness and then stiffness, all over again (5). On the mental and emotional realm we often see a restlessness and general rigid outlook of life when someone is in a rhus-tox state. Heart enlargement is often present when this remedy is indicated. Homeopathic rhus-tox supports shifting this entire dynamic and relieving symptoms in a deep and lasting way. (6, 7)
Nutrition: Fresh juices and alkaline water
New research is showing the the heart may not be a pump in the way it has classically been viewed. Biomedical engineer Dr. Gerald Pollack and his team have determined that infrared light may be what’s important for driving the blood through our bodies. Ultimately, this translates to additional support for eating lots of fruits and vegetables- especially freshly juiced- as well as drinking alkaline water as these are thought to optimize body-wide vascular health.
In a 2013 Harvard Heart Letter, Daniel Denoon reported, “… a panel of experts from the American Heart Association (AHA) has weighed all the available evidence. The verdict: Having a pet—a dog in particular—likely lowers the risk of heart disease.” We know that, for many people, pets are a potent source of emotional health and possibly a motivating factor for taking regular walks. Cholesterol, stress and blood pressure levels have been found to be healthier in dog owners. (8.9)
If you would like to explore your cardiovascular wellness with a root-cause, whole-body approach- please call us to set up a visit.
Note: This article is aimed at exploring naturopathic interventions for non-emergency and chronic cardiovascular ailments. While naturopathic medicine has a role in congenital conditions, acute and emergency cardiac situations- that is beyond the scope of this article. Your naturopathic doctor can provide additional resources if you’d like to learn more about this.
- Hay, L. You Can Heal Your LIfe. United States: Hay House, Inc.; 2004.
- Vermeulen, F. Concordant Materia Medica. Haarlem, The Netherlands: Emryss by Publishes; 2000.
- Herscu, P. Cycle of Rhus Toxiconendron. Lecture Presented: New England School of Homeopathy 10-Weekend Course; April 8, 2017; Amherst, MA.
About the author
As a licensed naturopathic doctor at Richmond Natural Medicine, Dr. Tiffany Bloomingdale specializes in classical homeopathy and naturopathic cancer support. She is passionate about using homeopathy to address her patients’ physical symptoms in the context of their highly individual mental, emotional and spiritual health. She also utilizes botanical medicine, clinical nutrition and lifestyle counseling to invite optimal wellness. Dr. Bloomingdale wants to help her patients be the best versions of themselves. Regardless of age or diagnosis, she looks forward to connecting with you: call to schedule a visit with Dr. Bloomingdale today.