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 Dr. George Jacob
Heart Infocenter


Alternative and Complementary Remedies for Arteriosclerosis And Atherosclerosis

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Arteriosclerosis

According to Oriental medicine theory, heart attacks or the pain of angina are usually caused by stagnant chi (life energy) or blood in the pericardium or heart meridian. This, in turn, may be due to blocked arteries, bacteria or other organisms, poor diet or "invasions" of wind, heat and other factors.

Oriental medicine doctors will strive to strengthen the body with a combination of herbs and spices, diet, acupuncture, "ear acupuncture" and other therapies, as necessary. Treatment will vary according to the type of heart disease and the patient's individual characteristics.

The heart disease may be due to an obstruction of the body's energy in the chest, leading to chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath (often related to cold temperatures) and a greasy white "fur" on the tongue. The problem may also be caused by lack of movement in the heart vessels, leading to shortness of breath, an uneven pulse, a dark purple-looking tongue and a twinge in the chest that radiates to the back and shoulders. Another type of heart disease is related to a lack of both chi and yin. In cases like this, symptoms include shortness of breath, dryness in the mouth, a weak pulse, heart palpitations and vague pain in the chest.

Herbs and spices

Exactly which herbs and spices and the amount of each will depend upon the patient and his or her condition. One of the substances used for heart disease is licorice that strengthens the lungs, stomach and spleen. It also works with other herbs to improve their effectiveness. There are several herbal formulas for heart disease (see below.). Other Chinese formulae include Su He Xiang Wan, Kuan Hsin Su Ho Wan Styrax and Ben Shen Yang Ying Wan.

Dan Shen Tablets (Salvia Root Tablets)

This formula relieves pain in the heart due to blood stagnation and stimulates circulation in the coronary blood vessels. Effective remedy for angina pectoris, heart palpitations, pain running down left arm, and chest pains. Also reduces blood cholesterol and lipids.

Main ingredients: Salvia root , borneol crystal

Ren Shen Zai Zao Wan (Ginseng Restorative Pills)

Tonifies blood, yin, and energy, stimulates blood circulation, and dispels stagnation. This formula is used primarily for symptoms related to stroke, including speech impediments, contractive or flaccid muscle tone in extremities, numbness and tingling in limbs, and facial paralysis. Should be administered immediately after stroke occurs.

Main ingredients: 

ginseng root 
cinnamon bark 
mantis egg case 
tortoise plastron 
myrrh resin 
frankincense resin 
dragon's-blood resin 
Agkistrodon pit viper 
Carthamus flower 
Succinum resin

An Shen Pu Shin Wan (Pacify Spirit and Tonify Heart Pills)

This popular formula calms the spirit, tonifies the heart, clears obstructions from blood vessels, and harmonizes energy connection between heart Fire and kidney Water. Remedy for insomnia caused by deficient kidney and/ or heart energy, as well as related symptoms of dizziness, restlessness, excessive dreaming, and heart palpitations. Also helps remove plaque deposits from arteries, thus preventing their hardening. This formula is known for its soothing, tranquillizing effects. 

Main ingredients:

Albizia bark 
Eclipta leaf 
salvia root 

Ten Flavour Tea (Shih Chuan Da Bu Wan)

This is classical Chinese formula has a wide range of tonic benefits, including spleen and heart energy, kidney and spleen yang, and blood. It promotes circulation, improves appetite and digestion, warms the kidneys, boosts protective wei-chee energy, strengthens the legs, and eliminates fatigue. May be used as a long-term general tonic by men and women, or as a restorative after illness, surgery, and childbirth.

Main ingredients:

Paeonia root 
Poria cocos 


Diet plays an important role in Oriental medicine. Foods are selected depending on their flavors, organic actions and other qualities, including energies.

There are five food energies: hot, warm, neutral, cool and cold. In addition to a healthy diet, the Oriental medicine physician may recommend the following foods specifically for heart disease.

Chive root - Warms the body; promotes energy and keeps the blood from coagulating unnecessarily. It is also used for chest pain.

Corn - Strengthens the stomach and colon. It is used for a weak heart.

Date - Strengthens the spleen; improves energy and blood flow. It is used for heart palpitations.

Hawthorn fruit - Helps to prevent excessive blood clotting that can lead to heart attacks. It also tones the spleen, liver and stomach.

Honey - Relieves pain; strengthens the lungs, large intestine and spleen. It is used for various forms of heart disease.

Logan - It strengthens the heart and blood. Also improves the energy flow. Used for heart palpitations.

Tea - Reduces the swelling sometimes associated with heart disease.

See Also:

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