Some effective herbs to improve circulation include cayenne, ginger, hawthorn, garlic, gingko biloba, as well as black cohosh, butcher’s broom, chickweed, gentian root, goldenseal, horseradish, horsetail, hyssop, licorice root, pleurisy root, red clover, rose hips, rosemary and wormwood.
According to medical herbalist Dr. Keith Stelling, “Whenever there is poor circulation, we are not obtaining adequate nutrients from our food nor are we excreting the natural wastes of metabolism, the toxic wastes.”
The following herbs are safe to use and highly effective at supporting the heart and circulatory system.
This herb (also known as capsicum) stimulates the central circulatory system. It strengthens the heart, arteries and capillaries, helping to regulate blood flow. Taking a few drops of cayenne tincture in water or juice gets blood flowing and helps clear arteries.
Stelling says cayenne also improves the natural cleansing mechanism of the entire body. Cayenne is one of the most effective herbs to improve circulation.
Ginger stimulates all tissues of the body and fights inflammation. According to “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” ginger is a strong antioxidant and stimulates circulation.
Fresh ginger can be added to cooking, made as a warming tea or taken in supplement form.
Hawthorn regulates the rhythm of the heart and increases heart strength, which increases the output of blood. According to Stelling, hawthorn also protects the heart against hypertension.
Hawthorn berries and flowers are recommended to improve circulation. When available, the fresh berries are the best source. Teas and tinctures are also available, as well as supplements.
Regular intake of garlic can help lower cholesterol in the blood and improve blood circulation. Garlic also detoxifies the body and helps fight infection by improving immune function. It's also used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis.
Using fresh garlic in food or water is the best source. Odorless garlic supplements and extracts are also available.
Most widely used for its ability to improve brain function and memory, ginkgo (biloba) increases cerebral and peripheral circulation to the brain.
Ginkgo is also an anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties. It helps minimize varicose veins and relieve leg cramps by improving circulation. This herb is best utilized if taken fresh or used in cooking.
Caution: Even though these herbs are safe for most people to use, you should always consult your health practitioner before taking them. Some herbs have contraindications with certain medications and/or conditions.
"Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2006.