A medical herbalist’s training allows them to assess when the heart needs direct assistance, when there is a situation that requires orthodox medical intervention or where working with overall health and wellbeing is the best strategy. This flexible approach helps to ensure that the heart is not ignored until the point that it is diseased, but understood and nurtured. This is preventative healthcare.
More than just a pump
The heart and circulatory system is so much more than a pump and series of tubes to push blood around the body and provide oxygen to cells. While it is still impressive to quote the statistics, beating 100,000 times per day and moving almost 7,500 litres of blood, the heart is far more than that.
The seat of our emotional being
The heart is without doubt the seat of our emotional being. This is mirrored in many of the sayings used to convey depth of emotion. We give heartfelt thanks, we say that our heart goes out to someone or that a person is broken-hearted. References to the heart are scattered throughout our language from a hearty meal to the heart of the matter and they all reflect the ancient recognition of the true nature of the heart.
Although this may sound a little unscientific and conjectural, the science of neuro-cardiology is discovering the direct links between emotion and heart health, and is unravelling the complex neurological systems within the heart, which are sufficient enough to classify as a small brain in their own right. This means that the heart can have influence over the brain as well as vice versa. This is fundamentally important to a herbalist’s approach to the heart.
Always consider the heart
Naturally there are also approaches to specific syndromes affecting the heart and circulation as a whole. We have in our possession many herbs that will lower cholesterol and homocysteine levels for example. There is also a significant body of research demonstrating the effects of Ginkgo for those with vascular conditions and Hawthorn is well known as a heart tonic. Such tools are all incredibly useful and will likely be used by a medical herbalist, as will other less known herbs that are not available to buy over the counter.