Hawthorn berries* have long been used as a tonic herb for the heart and circulatory system. Hawthorn contains antioxidant flavonoids, including OPCs, may help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and protect blood vessels from damage. Not only has the berries been used medicinally but also the leaves, and flowers of the hawthorn plant have been used, too.
Hawthorn is sometimes mixed in combination* with other heart friendly herbs, like Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo also helps to work with the blood vessels to increase circulation. It has been shown of benefit in some studies to improve situations of hardening of the blood vessels and/or fat deposits in the blood vessels. It is only natural to pair this great herb with Hawthorn.
February is heart health month.
You may want to consider using Hawthorn alone or in a combination to help your heart.
*The items linked to this blog post are not necessarily those used in the studies referenced. They are linked in order to provide an example of products containing the herbs mentioned. If you do decide to purchase from my shop, I thank you now for supporting my business.
Energy centers are not a new concept in alternative healing. For thousands of years traditional modalities like Ayurveda (Indian in origin) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have acknowledged these energy centers. In the west, they are becoming increasingly popular. The New Age popularity of chakras (energy centers) has almost trivialized the existence of them. Many now consider the idea of various energy centers in the body as “hippy nonsense” or “psuedo-guru goobledy gook.”
Chakras are not made up
Chakras, as they are laid out in Traditional Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, do have certain placements which correspond to what we now know are major endocrine organs. Given the time of the development of the ideas of a chakra system, it is entirely plausible that the healers of the time knew there was something in this area, but not exactly what. The endocrine system function and mechanisms are still being studied and new things are discovered all the time. It is not unusual that people gave their best understanding of something when attempting to understand. Let’s face it! It hasn’t been that too long ago since doctors suggested the root cause of disease was bad blood and utilized leeches.
It can be a difficult task to visualize energy. Throughout the ages, chakras have been assigned locations and colors and so forth. In order to better understand the chakra system and why it could possibly be important to you in our modern times, I figure the best place to start would be the root. The root chakra is located at the base of the spine. It is though to encompass the very bottom of the pelvic area and the first three vertebrae (from bottom to top). It’s energy is associated with the color red because of the frequency associated with its energy. For now, I’m not going to go just too deep in to the frequencies, etc. In Sanskrit the name for this chakra is Muladhara. It is thought to govern a person’s relationship with physical needs (i.e. food, water, shelter); the feelings of trust, acceptance, mental health…..those mental health aspects that make a person “well grounded.”
Disfunction in the Muladhara (root chakra) may manifest as one of the following:
-Kidney function, bladder irritation
-Foot & knee pain
-Anxiety and extreme fears
-Addictive behaviors and/or a lack of self esteem
-Lower back pain
-Gynaecological issues, accompanied with bleeding or circulatory issues
Food and herbs to feed Muladhara
Red foods are thought to support this chakra. Red beets, acai berries*, and so forth can be delicious additions to your diet. Some red anti-oxidant packed juices* may be of assistance. Warm, nurturing foods that provide sustenance are excellent supporters of this chakra (think along the lines of steel cut oats or quinoa porridge). Red Raspberry* has often been used as a toning herbs for the uterine muscles and is highly encouraged by herbalists (including me) throughout pregnancy. It is high in iron, too. Red Clover* is used as a blood purifier. (See the color hint there?)
Supplements high in iron can feed the body’s need for iron. Low iron is considered to be one issue that could be effected by a week root chakra. Liquid drinks high in copper chlorophyllins* can be sued as they supply easily bio-accessible iron.
The kidneys filter waste from the blood. They are thought to be closely associated with the emotion of anger or extreme fear. Increasing one’s water intake can aid in kidney function. It would, in a way, be supplying your body with its basic needs instead of denying them. Lemon added to the water can act as a light diuretic. Astringent herbs like Uva Ursi* (a.k.a bearberry) and Juniper Berries* can help to pull more fluids through the kidneys.
Mental and emotional practices
Meditation and similar techniques (like guided imagery) have been used to try to work on the mental aspects associated with this chakra. It is common in some practices to focus upon a symbol for this chakra while meditating. While this is not my strong area of expertise, I find it interesting that the symbol corresponding to Muladhara is square, much liek the sturdy foundation of a house that makes conenction to the earth and supplies the support for the rest of the structure. It is not a far stretch to think of the functions associated wiht this chakra as being foundations of life. This is the chakra upon which all others are built.
“Rooting” is sometimes suggested. This is where a person works on imagining the root chakra connecting with the earth. Some people refer to this as “grounding” or “earthing.” It is making a physical connection with the earth. Many do this by walking barefoot upon soil. Some find benefit through imagining a root anchoring him/her to the ground. Whichever method(s) you choose, it is clear why this energy center is important.
To truly gain a solid foundation in your own health and wellbeing, addressing the care of the root chakra is important. Whether you think of this energy center as a literal or a figurative thing is not where the emphasis should lie – but instead think of the wonderful ways you can work to build a better foundation for your body, your mind and your spirit.
*This asterisk identifies hyperlinks which lead you to products in The Herbchick’s Shop. While my blog reflects no one brand in particular, I have included these links to make purchasing or trying these products easier for you, my reader. I do make a commission from my sales. It is one way I make a living. You are under no obligation to use the products I sell, but if you do, I sincerely appreciate your business and know that you are supporting one more small business in America. Thank you