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health 3valentines-day iconAyurvedic, unani and homeopathic practitioners continue to use herbs to cure a plethora of illnesses, especially those related to the heart, such as hypertension, insomnia and anxiety. These herbs (primarily used in the form of tinctures) are believed to open blocked chakras, thereby allowing love and health to flow freely throughout the body, cure depression and treat heart problems without the harmful side effects of allopathic medicine.

As you gear up for Valentine’s Day, try the following herbs to bolster your heart health:

Rosemary for remembrance. Believed to nurture love and fidelity, rosemary has long been held to be an aphrodisiac and continues to be used in bridal bouquets for luck. It is rich in potassium and rosemary capsules are increasingly being prescribed to heart patients to regulate their blood pressure. Psychiatrists seem to have taken a page out of Hamlet (remember Ophelia’s lines: “There’s Rosemary. That’s for remembrance”?), and recommend rosemary extracts to aid memory retention in Alzheimer’s patients.

The flowering Hawthorn. The leaves, berries and flowers of the hawthorn plant are believed to calm shattered nerves. The plant, a botanical cardiotonic, is used to make medicine that can cure a host of heart related diseases such as blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and high cholesterol. A tincture made by steeping berries in hot water is also believed to provide enough energy to recover from heartbreak.

A Rose by any other name. Roses are usually the ideal Valentine’s Day present and coincidentally rose oil was prescribed by the Persian physician Ibn-e-Sina to prevent blood thickening in 1000 AD. When ingested in small quantities, rose water soothes the nerves, relieves insomnia and fatigue. Alternate medicine practitioners prescribe rose petals as pain relievers, cough suppressants and to treat liver disease.

The allure of Lavender. Associated with the heart chakra, herbalists recommend lavender based syrups to strengthen cardiac muscles, reduce palpitations and ease hypertension. Dried lavender flowers sewn into pillows can ensure a good nights’ sleep and promote harmony between couples. When used in smelling salts, lavender stimulates the appetite.

– Ayesha Shaikh
Fist published in the Health Advertiser of THE DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on February 9, 2014.