Up to 3 million people per year take blood-thinning medication to help improve blood flow and prevent new clots from forming. But if you are somebody who cannot take anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs, what can you do?
There’s the option of having an Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filter implanted, however, this surgical device may cause side effects.
Compression socks, exercise and using certain spices may also help increase circulation. Another natural way to “thin the blood” (blood thinners, in case you didn’t know, don’t actually thin the blood) is by using plant-based medicines.
There are approximately 50,000 plants on Earth that are used for medicinal purposes. Medicinal plants, aka herbs, when used on a regular basis just like pharmaceutical drugs, may help improve specific health conditions such as blood circulation.
The following 6 herbs are not your everyday items you’ll find in local neighborhood gardens. On this list, you won’t find parsley, basil, rosemary, or dill.
List of Best Herbs For Blood Circulation
#1 and #2 Peach Seed and Safflower
You’ve eaten peaches before. But did you know the fruit’s seed is used to improve blood circulation? A study in BioMed Research International says that peach seed has anti-inflammatory properties, and can help improve both gastrointestinal motility disorders. Another study examined the effects of peach seed with safflower (the actual flower of the plant is used medicinally as opposed to the seed). The combination, said the researchers, significantly decreased the following:
- Whole blood viscosity
- Plasma viscosity
- Packed cell volume
In addition, peach seed and safflower greatly prolonged thrombin time, which is a measure of how long the blood’s plasma takes to form a clot. Another benefit of these two herbs: lowered fibrinogen content. Fibrinogen, also called factor I, is a blood plasma protein that’s responsible for normal blood clotting.
#3: Sichuan lovage rhizome
Although this herb sounds very exotic (it’s native to the Far East), this supplement is available at Walmart!
A study shows that this herb may help treat ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke. Ischemic stroke can block fresh blood flow to the brain, causing brain cells to die within minutes. The researchers concluded, “The results showed that the effects of [Sichuan lovage rhizome; a rhizome is the underground stem, it’s like the root of an herb] were the same as or even better than those of the controls, such as papaverine, dextran and aspirin-persantin. [It] could improve brain microcirculation through inhibiting thrombus formation and platelet aggregation as well as blood viscosity.”
#4 Angelica Sinensis
There are 60 varieties of the Angelica plant. Like virtually all other herbs, Angelica doesn’t just do one thing. A single whole plant extract can affect the body physiologically in many different ways. In the case of Angelica, it may help promote blood circulation and support the immune system. (It’s also used to treat chronic constipation and menstrual disorders.) According to research, Angelica Sinesis has demonstrated benefit against artery-hardening, hypertension, and possesses compounds that limit platelet aggregation.
#5 Rehmannia root
Another blood-circulation-promoting herb you may not be familiar with is rehammania. If you have diabetes, WebMD says this herb contains compounds that may help to lower blood sugar levels. Like most herbs, rehammania lacks large studies involving humans because of the enormous cost to finance such research. However, preliminary research shows that this herb has the potential to support blood circulation.
#6 Licorice root
Don’t confuse this licorice with the movie theater confection. Licorice root has been used traditionally for centuries for cardiovascular disease, such as myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury and arrhythmia. Research shows that licorice root lowers inflammation as well as programmed cell death of heart muscle cells. In other words, it’s good for the heart and blood circulation.