Alternatively Speaking: Creating circulation

Alternative medicine expert Natalie Marx answers your questions: Can you suggest anything for poor blood circulation?

Mint leaves (photo credit: Thinkstock)
Mint leaves
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
Q. Dear Natalie, my doctor has suggested some medication for my poor circulation. He has no objection to me trying the “natural” approach first of all. Can you suggest anything for poor blood circulation? I suffer mostly in my hands and legs.
A. There are some very effective herbal remedies used by the Chinese that can keep the blood flowing for optimum health. Chinese medical practitioners have used herbal formulas for thousands of years.  Throughout my clinical practice I have had tremendous results with Ginkgo biloba. It has been used as a herb to promote blood flow throughout the body for thousands of years. It works to thin the blood, which in turn reduces clotting that can restrict blood flow to all parts of the body. Do not use Ginkgo biloba with blood thinning medications.
Another very common herb used in treating poor circulation today is astragalus. The benefits come from flavonoids and polysaccharides that promote healthy blood cells. The peony flower root helps regulate the blood by relaxing the vessels and reducing sticking of platelets. It nourishes the blood and helps circulation to all parts of the body.
A simple tip is to begin increasing the amount of garlic you use in your recipes. Garlic helps improve circulation and also to lower blood pressure and keep our arteries strong. The Chinese use cinnamon to help increase circulation. It works to balance circulation between the upper and lower extremities and helps warm the body. Ginger has been used to increase circulation to the limbs and is another simple ingredient to add to your cooking.
Vitamin E is an essential vitamin found naturally in foods such as watercress, eggs, kale, walnuts, yams, vegetable oils and sunflower seeds. It improves the circulation of blood through the body, in particular to the skin. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps to block oxygenation of free radicals that attack arterial walls. This, therefore, prevents the worsening of poor circulatory conditions. You can also find Vitamin E in supplement form.
I highly recommend light exercise such as walking and swimming since this will increase blood flow and help the body utilize oxygen more efficiently.  Massage also works in a similar way as exercise; through manipulation to the muscles we can increase blood flow.
Q. Can you recommend any dietary modifications or herbal aids that can help improve my mild Anemia? Thank you, I always enjoy reading your columns.
A. There are several dietary modifications that can help reduce Anemia. Many foods and herbs are rich sources of iron including spinach, eggs, legumes and dried prunes.
It’s important to maintain a good level of Vitamin B12. Try To include more red meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products since they are high in vitamin B12. If you have a deficiency of wither Vitamin B12 and your folic acid in your blood, the red blood cells will be too big and inefficient at carrying oxygen. Both are the foundational elements of red blood cells.
You can increase your intake of folic acid by including more whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, as well as some fruits and juices. Nettle is a wonderfully nutritious plant, rich in iron, Vitamin C and chlorophyll. It’s often prescribed in the case of iron deficient Anemia. You can buy nettle tea from any good health food store.
Alfalfa is also a very popular herbal treatment for Anemia. It works to bring levels of hemoglobin into normal range. Once cleaned thoroughly, you can use either the flowers, leaves, petals or sprouted seeds in fresh, raw form for maximum nutritional value. I highly recommend using alfalfa due to its high nutritional value. Besides iron, it also contains the minerals calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E and K. Do not use when taking corticosteroid or blood thinning medications. The recommended supplement treatment is 60 to 200 mg of iron per day. You can take this in the form of ferrous fumarate, ferrous sulfate, or ferrous gluconate.
Vitamin C is important in the blood to help red blood cells absorb iron. Finally avoid taking milk, caffeinee, antacids or calcium supplements at the same time since they can interfere with iron absorption.
Q. I have started to grow mint plant at home and it is one of the easiest plants to grow! Can you tell me some of its uses medicinally?
A. I use peppermint most commonly when prescribing digestive aids to soothe upset stomachs or acid reflux. Peppermint is effective when used in herbal tea preparations and consumed after meals. If you have overindulged in rich, heavy or fatty foods, peppermint works to soothe cramps, gas and bloating.
You can also dry your own peppermint and make a soothing digestive tea. Steep one teaspoon of the dried mint in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. It works by relaxing the smooth muscle and increasing bile production which the body uses to digest fats. As a result, food passes through the stomach more quickly. It also serves as a fantastic remedy for food poisoning and irritable bowel syndrome. It can also be used as a decongestant for colds, to ease a headache and topically for poison ivy.
When used as an essential oil, peppermint can help to relieve tension headaches, ease respiratory problems and soothe irritated or inflamed skin.  Due to the mint’s anti indigestion properties, the serving of mint sauce with roast lamb and other meats has become a tradition. The mint aids in the digestion of the tough fibers of the meat so it’s easier to digest. The oil of the mint leaves also stimulate the digestive system thereby preventing gaseous changes in the intestines.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments.

This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.

Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer then email Natalie with your question at [email protected].

Natalie runs a clinic both in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem offering a wide range of natural treatment. Healing is achieved using homeopathy, reflexology, massage, flower remedies and nutritional wisdom.

To make an appointment please email [email protected].
Someone Once Said:
Eat well, drink in moderation, and sleep sound, in these three good health abound. - Latin Proverb