Western herbs for Angina
By Dr Sanjeev Sood
Heart disease is one of the biggest killers; in many countries all over the world it is the leading cause of death among both sexes and every year billions are spent for its treatment and prevention. Ischemia refers to a lack of oxygen due to improper perfusion that creates an imbalance between the oxygen supply insured by the bloodstream through the coronary arteries and the demand of the heart.
The most common cause of myocardial ischemia is atherosclerotic disease of the coronary arteries, but coronary blood flow can also be limited by arterial thrombi, spasm, congenital diseases or severe ventricular hypertrophy. Atherosclerosis is a degenerative disease characterized by thickening of the inner lining of the arterial walls caused by deposits of fatty material. This partially blocks the artery, causing the formation of a blood clot behind. The exact cause of atherosclerosis is unknown; however there are a number of risk factors like family history of coronary heart disease, high plasma LDL ( low density lipoprotein), low plasma HDL ( high density lipoprotein), cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, poor nutrition, especially too much fat in the diet, overweight, type A personality
It was proven that by reducing risk factors coronary heart disease can be prevented and its progression and complications can be delayed after the manifestation of the disease. Treatment of lipid abnormalities has been shown to delay the progress of atherosclerosis and in some cases has even produced regression of the atherosclerotic plaques.
In the early stages there are no symptoms of the disease but in later stages angina pectoris is present. Angina is chest pain caused by the narrowing of arteries and it is felt like burning, squeezing, heaviness or tightness in the chest that may extend to the left arm, hand, neck, jaw or shoulder.
Western traditional therapies describe herbs that were proven to be very effective on reducing the symptoms and even the arterial lesions in ischemic cardiac diseases, but they should certainly be used along with a proper diet and lifestyle. Actually the present western lifestyle with poor quality food rich in cholesterol and too much processed, smoking, isolation, stress and a sedentary life are main risk factors for ischemic heart disease and a major change in lifestyle is first to be done in order to prevent and cure the disease.
Western herbs to be used for the treatment of ischemic heart disease:
ImageHawthorn (Crataegus oxycantha) is the best known western herb for the treatment of heart diseases. It is successfully used in cardiac failure, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, circulatory insufficiency and as a heart tonic. Traditionally it has been used for centuries and in the late 1800 s European doctors began experimenting with it clinically for heart diseases. At present it appears in over 200 European herbal formulas, most of them intended to support cardiovascular health. During the first half of 20th century Hawthorne preparations were often prescribed by doctors. to support the effect of digitalis and to serve as a substitute when digitalis could not be tolerated.



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