How Chinese Medicine Addresses Heart Health
Heart imbalances can be quite complex according to Chinese medicine. It is important when addressing Heart disorders to address other aggravating factors that may be attributing to the condition. How diseases express themselves gives us a greater ability to target the actual underlying causes so that the condition can be more effectively addressed. Organ systems are closely connected, and if one Organ System goes out of balance, it will surely have an effect on another Organ System. The following patterns further differentiate the patterns associated with Heart disease
Heart Qi and Blood Deficiency
Deficient Heart energy typically has indications of palpitations, sensation of the heart, sleeping disorders, heart disease, impaired circulation, or congestive heart disease. Herbs included in formulas that address deficient Heart energies will include herbs to build Heart Blood, Heart Qi, and to dispel Heart Blood Stagnation. Consider our Blood Mansion formula.
Heart - Kidney Imbalances
The Heart belongs to the Fire Element and the Kidney belongs to the Water Element; Fire and Water have an interdependent relationship in Chinese medicine of control, insuring that the Fire does not burn out of control and the Water does overflow.
Kidney Yin is the basis of all Yin of the body, and the Heart depends on abundant Blood, a Yin substance, to maintain a healthy Heart function. Kidney Yang is the basis of all Yang in the body and the Heart depends on Qi, a Yang substance, to keep Blood moving. Consider Blood Mansion formula and Yin Valley formula, possibly combined with Ancestor Treasure formula if Yang Deficiency is present.
Heart - Spleen Imbalances
The Spleen Organ System controls the Internal Dampness in the body; thus, Heart
disorders with fluid accumulations could implicate Spleen Qi Deficiency. Consider Blood Mansion formula and Restore the Middle Way Formula.
Heart - Liver Imbalances
If Liver Qi Stagnation develops, the Liver heats up and begins to 'harass' the Heart. This can be damaging in many ways, as the heat tends to consume Yin (tissue) and Blood. Symptoms of possible heart disease in Chinese medicine include vertical creases on earlobes, horizontal crease across the bridge of the nose, a deep central crack on the tongue, especially when it extends to the tip of the tongue, a red tipped tongue. Consider Free and Easy Wanderer Formula and Blood Mansion formula.
Heart - Liver High Blood Pressure
A Heart-Liver imbalance would also be indicated with high blood pressure. Herbs used to moderate blood pressure do not lower blood pressure for those with normal BP levels; unlike pharmaceutical medications, herbs are able to gently normalize blood pressure. High blood pressure is an indication of Liver Qi Stagnation and Liver Heat Rising in Chinese medicine. Consider Free and Easy Wanderer Formula and Blood Mansion formula.
Heart - Liver Insomnia
According to Chinese medicine, the Heart houses the mind during sleep. If the Liver is over exuberant and harasses the Heart, sleep disorders can develop. Consider Free and Easy Wanderer Formula and Calm the Dragon formula.
Other organ systems related to the Heart in TCM
This Organ sorts the pure from the impure with food and information according to TCM. Too much information is part of our modern information age and affects this organ most intensely. Those with Small Intestine imbalances would have trouble sorting out what to keep and what to let go of; they would have a tendency to become hoarders.
This organ function is to protect the Heart. When out of balance, individuals have difficulty in distinguishing emotional input; an example, they would accept criticism easily, but reject love.
Triple Burner-Triple Jiao-San Jiao
A unique concept in Chinese medicine, the triple burner is responsible for regulation and communication throughout the body and between organs themselves. It is responsible for the regulation of temperature and the body’s ability to respond to stresses. Emotionally, people who have damage to the triple burner can turn from emotionally warm to emotionally cold very quickly.
The San Jiao does not occupy a physical space, rather specifies an energetic system. When there is a blockage of the San Jiao, it will be reflected through the Organ Systems that occupy the three spaces.
- Upper Jiao-Heart and Lungs
- Middle Jiao- Stomach, Spleen, pancreas, and Gall Bladder
- Lower Jiao-Large Intestines, Kidney, Bladder, and sexual organs
Herbs that Move Blood and Prevent Heart Blood Stagnation
It is vital that Blood and Qi flow freely to the Heart delivering oxygen and nutrients. Blood moving herbs can help to vitalize a weak heart, but blood moving herbs can also intensify the effects of blood thinners and some heart medications so care must be taken. Blood movers are generally supportive herbs in a formula and are not used in large quantities and can be taken safely along side of pharmaceuticals. Generally they are not used as singles. The intensity of an herbs action is highly dependent on its quantity, so utilizing herbs that can create so much benefit in small doses must be considered. Consider Blood Mansion formula.
Lifestyle Practices That Help Prevent Heart Disease
The CDC lists obesity as one of the major contributing factors to heart disease, so maintaining a healthy weight is central to the prevention and treatment of heart disease. In Chinese medicine, the use of herbs that support the Spleen are central in maintaining a healthy weight, as the Spleen Organ System oversees the transportation and transformation of foods. Look to Restore the Middle Way Formula.
Choosing real food over processed foods is the first step in maintaining heart health through diet. Eat whole organic foods when available, low fat meats such as fish, turkey, chicken, and plenty of vegetables and legumes along with raw nuts. Foods with silicon such as barley, oats, cucumber, lettuce and celery help to improve calcium absorption that benefits the heart. Avoid processed foods, high fat foods, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, sugar, fried foods, soft drinks, spicy foods, and white flour. Consuming healthy fats is important in maintaining Heart health so do not follow a no-fat diet. Choose healthy fats such as olive oil, fish oils, camalina oil, as well as other vegetable oils that are cold pressed instead of heat extracted. If your foods or oils mention ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ oils of any kind, do not consume them.
A regular brisk walk, Qi Gong exercises, and yoga can increase blood circulation throughout the body and benefit the heart. If you are experiencing Heart imbalance symptoms, it is important to avoid heavy exercise in the middle of the day. Many people look to their lunch break as an opportunity to exercise, but according to Chinese medicine, the Heart energy peaks between 11 AM and 1PM and stress to the Heart should be avoided during these times.
Avoid stress and learn stress-management techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises for improved heart health. Also, utilizing adaptogenic herbs such as eleuthrococus can change the way you react to stressors and reduce the effects of stress. Consider Enlightened Emperor formula.
Acupressure for Heart Health
Heart Tonification Point Ht 7 (Shenmen or Sprit Gate)
Heart 7 is located in the depression on the radial side of the tendon of muscular flexor carpi ulmaris when the palm is facing upward, on the ulnar end of the transverse crease of the wrist.