Friday, March 13, 2009

Your Heart is Speaking

One of our most frightening realizations as humans is the sneaking suspicion that the sensation you just felt, was your heart. The most common reaction is to right it off, ignore it, pretend it was all in your head, or hope that it was another near-bye organ causing you to be scared for no reason whatsoever. For 95% of us, doing just that would not be completely irrational. It is largely benign for the moment and there is no reason to go running to the doctor and crying “palpitation”. But for those of us who know that an abnormal sensation is a warning sign, ignoring it for any lengthy period of time is just unacceptable. And rightly so.
Heart palpitations result from many etiologies, and they occur in almost every one’s lifetime at certain intervals, for short time periods, longer time periods, isolated instances, and sometimes in completely predicted sequence. It can feel like something jumping into the throat, a thumping or fluttering in any part of the upper abdomen or chest, a rapid heart beat, a sudden stopping and then starting feeling, or in more pathological instances, with the accompaniment of pain, shortness of breath, sweating, light headedness or other symptoms. They are hard to catch with diagnostics and most of the time they decide to play hide and seek when someone is at their doctor’s office insisting that, yes there is actually something going on and they are not crazy.
There is little information available on the internet about heart palpitation. In my opinion, this is due to the western cultures dismissing it as a benign incident, hypochondriac behavior, or hysterical woman’s disease. Eastern medical theory has a completely different take on this. They do not dismiss it lightly at all, but rather consider it an important determining factor in diagnosis and treatment protocols. There are specific herbs, dietary suggestions, vitamins, and other modalities that will eliminate the symptoms rather quickly if the correct diagnosis is made.
In almost all cases of heart palpitation, where actual heart pathology is not found, the causative factor is an endocrine imbalance. This is why the symptom has been labeled hysterical women’s disease historically. A hysterical woman is generally a woman who is completely stressed out, hormonally imbalanced, blood deficient, maybe pregnant, pre-menopausal, or menopausal and at her wits end. A man, knowing that he may be labeled as acting like a woman, will most likely ignore this symptom and hope that it will go away. Balancing the endocrine system is a lengthy process. Usually the target organs are the Adrenals, Pancreas, Liver and Thyroid. When it has gone to this point, the fatigue and energy deficiency are pronounced and need plenty of time, rest, and adequate nutrition to rebuild and re-establish normal function. An effective plan for this is to target the endocrine system with herbal formulas, a change in diet, vitamin supplementation and a supportive therapy.

Nutritional suggestions:
Take all unnecessary sugars out of the diet. This includes cookies, cakes, ice cream, other pastries, excess alcohol, breads, rolls, pasta, and crackers that are not whole grain.
Try to get six to nine servings of veggies per day, and preferably nine to eleven servings of veggies per day with a couple of fruits thrown into the mix. When there is a pronounced blood deficiency, organic beef broth, sweet potatoes, beats, dates, and asparagus are good foods for building blood. Completely avoid all animal products that are not organic. The hormone content in the commercial animal products completely throw off the endocrine system. Don’t forget to add in the Mediterranean diet components. Almonds, small amounts of red wine, olives, olive oil, herbs and spices and a bit of high quality, high percentage dark chocolate are an important addition to heart health. Check in with your body on your caffeine intake. Try eliminating it for a few days, and (when the headaches have stopped) add it back in gently, one cup of green or black tea (not coffee) at a time. Find out what your body can really take. When it comes to heart palpitations and the amount of vitamin C (anti-inflammatory) and Vitamin B that smoking takes up, need we even mention why it is a good idea to put the habit to rest? I didn’t think so.

The heart needs a complete set of B Vitamins to function properly. If there is a pronounced blood deficiency, then sublingual B 12 drops, that have all the other B’s in the formula, is indicated. Your physician can also give you B 12 injections.
A 100% absorbable chelated and bound multi-vitamin or a high quality food derived multi vitamin is also indicated and completely necessary.

Omega fatty acids and oils:
The heart and other organs need good fats for hormone production and hormone balance, as well as a defense system for free radicals and other anti-inflammatory processes in the body. Fish oils from the cold section at your health store are a good idea. Vitamin E should be taken in the form of Evening primrose oil and/or Olive oil. Sesame oil has been shown to have a prominent effect on the heart and blood vessels and in clinical trials, has been shown to lower blood pressure remarkably in just 30 to 60 days. Coconut oil and ghee are the best fats to use when cooking at high temperatures to avoid oxidative damage and toxic accumulation in food.

Herbal formulas and all other herbs should usually be approved by your holistic healthcare practitioner. Some suggestions for females are: Co-op Fem cycle, La Puebla Blood tonic, Fem-gest topical cream, and La Puebla yam topical cream. Also, Evening Primrose oil, Vitex/Chastetree Berry, and Dong Quai herb will all help to balance the hormones. Evening Primrose and Vitex need to be taken together and many formulas will have them both combined. For males and females, the Chinese formula “Gui Pi Wan” is a good choice for building up the blood, balancing the hormones and nourishing the heart. Additionally, Hawthorne Berry herb and Chinese Go ji (wolf) berries support the blood and the heart function.
Holy Basil supports the adrenals, pancreas, and immune system and calms the mind. This will help to balance blood sugar and give the organs a rest while they rebuild. If there is a pronounced problem with insulin and sugar balance, then Stevia granules can be added to the diet one to three times daily in a dosage of 1 TBSP. It is necessary to test your blood sugar twice daily to find out how much you need and when to begin decreasing the dosage. This should not be used if you are currently taking medication for diabetes or hypoglycemia.
Aloe Vera juice also is an excellent herb used mainly for the gastrointestinal tract and the skin. However, it has a gentle yet pronounced effect on the stomach and will help to balance the interior environment of the organ, therefore reducing a hyper vagus nerve response, which can be the culprit in some heart related symptoms. When the vagus nerve is suspected, alignment of the spinal column, neck and rib cage need to be checked. Vagus impingement needs to be ruled out.

Candida and other yeasts:
Candida and yeast cause heart related ailments because of their neuro-blocking capability and their ability to eat up and impinge the passing through of important vitamins and nutrients, therefore starving the heart and other organs of what they need to function. Candida and yeast infection should be ruled out by your healthcare provider. If a yeast infection does exist, then a yeast clearing protocol should be followed.

Supportive Therapies:
Supportive therapies, after a proper check-up from your primary care provider, can help the body to rebalance and recovery more quickly. They include, but are not limited to: Acupuncture, Massage, Chiropractics, Lymphatic Therapy, Ayurveda, Native American Medicine, and other Energy Therapies.

Heart palpitations do not have to be a persistent part of your life. If you have checked with your healthcare provider and you do in fact have an actual heart pathology, don’t be discouraged. See an Acupuncturist or Naturopathic Doctor and let them give you some advice and care in conjunction with what your allopathic doctor is doing for you. There are many herbs that can clean out the arteries and increase the strength of the heart naturally. If you are deemed a hypochondriac, mad, crazy or worrying for no reason, then try to take a natural approach to eliminating this little warning sign from your body. Little warning signs turn into bigger warning signs and then an entire group of symptoms that will later be labeled as a pathology. Catch it while it is small. After all, the heart is the gateway of the spirit. Don’t ignore it.

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