Heart and Circulation

Herbs and the Heart and Circulation

Keeping you up to date
by Herbal Practitioner Alan Hopking MA MNIMH


From the depths of my heart
"Dear Mr Hopking, I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with your treatment of my high plood pressure. It was 190/105 when I went to the GP and I didn't want to go on his drugs. I came to you and you put me on Heart and Circulation medicine. I went back to him for another assessment today after 1 month and my reading is 130/85. He was astonished that I only took your herbal medicine. I will of course continue taking a low dose daily as you have advised. I feel so well and I thank you from the depths of my heart!!"
Mrs George.


Update on my husband (who is taking the Heart and Circulation Tonic) and his blood pressure, it is coming down and he is losing weight as well. He is taking the ABC powder also. We have always taken supplements but don’t believe any have worked as well and as quickly as these. Again thank you for all you do.
Regards, Kay (USA)


A. Right BP - Key to Long Life
The relationship between blood pressure and cardiovascular disease is a continuous one. A normal blood pressure through your years is the key to a long life say the experts. Excess risk for cardiovascular disease begins to increase substantially at a SBP (Systolic Blood Pressure) greater than 140 mm Hg and a DBP (Diastolic Blood Pressure) greater than 83 mm Hg.(2) Factors such as age, race, sex, socioeconomic status, and other cardiovascular risk factors should be considered in determining the need for treatment.(3) Since it is estimated one fifth of British adults have SBP that averages over140 mm Hg and/or DBP that averages 90 mm Hg or greater. The Joint National Committee on Detection Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure V (JNC V) has reclassified hypertension to emphasize elevation of SBP and to phase out the outmoded adjectives mild, moderate and severe. (1)
Category ...SBP ....DBP
Normal ....<130 .....<85
Borderline 130-139.... 85-89
Stage 1.... 140-159.... 90-99
Stage 2.... 160-179.... 100-110
Stage 3.... 180-209.... 110-119
Stage 4.... >210.... >120
There is elevated risk of disease and death at all levels of hypertension and each requires long-term management.

Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack, heart disease, angina, heart failure and stroke, is still the nomber one cause of death in the West. It is becoming increasingly clear to scientists that the real causes of heart disease are sugar, the wrong kind of fats, processed meats, chronic severe stress, inflammation, high levels of homocysteine, gum disease, vitamin C deficiency, chromium deficiency and lack of exercise ... and not a high-fat diet and high cholesterol.

B. Risks of Hypertension
The choice of 140 mm Hg to define high SBP or 90 mm Hg to define high DBP should not imply a fixed threshold by which to initiate therapy. Persons with consistent readings between 85 89 mm Hg should be considered as having borderline diastolic hypertension, and although in most cases this does not warrant treatment, non-medication treatment should be started.
"Borderline" hypertensive persons are usually significantly heavier, and have higher total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and higher glucose and insulin levels. (4) It has been concluded that "borderline" high blood pressure is associated with other cardiovascular risk factors. (4)
Coexisting high SBP is an important factor to consider since it has been found to be more predictive of cardiovascular disease and death in the majority of British men. (5) (6) Isolated high SBP is predominantly found among the elderly.
The six year risk of coronary artery disease mortality among men, 35 to 57 years of age, screened for the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) confirms earlier reports from Framingham that multiple cardiovascular risk factors increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and death. Cigarette smoking increases the risk by two to three fold independent of DBP and cholesterol levels. As cholesterol levels increase the risk of CHD mortality increases by three fold from the lowest to the highest category.(6) Between 1972 and 1990 the US experienced a significant reduction in the mortality rates for coronary heart disease (50%) and stroke (57%) in both men and women (1) compared to a decrease of <10% in mortality from all non cardiovascular diseases. (7) Goldman and Cook (8) estimated that lifestyle factors (less cigarette smoking, less saturated fat consumption and healthier dietary habits, and increased physical activity) have contributed to about 50% of the decline; physician initiated factors are estimated to account for about 40% of the decline. Recent data from the Framingham study suggest that the decrease in incidence of coronary heart disease is related to changes in lifestyle and to treatment of hypertension. (7)

C. Herbal Medicine and High Blood Pressure
The heart pumps 100,000 times a day. The blood travels through a maze of 60,000 miles of vessels. Blood pressure is vital to life. High blood pressure threatens it. Low SBP below 100mm Hg is also a danger. Blood pressure depends on the strength of the heart beat, the elasticity of the blood vessel walls, back-pressure resistance (e.g. body fat), muscle, blood thickness and volume, also the health of the liver, kidneys and lungs. Blood pressure has now been found to be totally unrelated to age - it doesn’t rise with age. There are often no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure. But don’t be deceived. To optimize heart health, choose foods such as green veggies and berries with low glycemic index ratings. If you occasionally must have foods with simple carbs, avoid those made from white flour; instead, have a modest portion of brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.(9) And exercise three times a week for half an hour. If you want to get off your diuretics, adrenergic antagonists, vasodilators, beta-blockers, etc contact your local NIMH herbalist. S/he will give you a full examination and monitor your withdrawal, as you take a mixture of herbs like Lime Flowers, Hawthorn, Motherwort, Yarrow, Garlic, Dandelion leaves, and Ginger root. Other herbs s/he may give are for the liver, kidneys, immune system, gentle detox and relaxants for a stressed nervous system. Recommended supplements for high blood pressure: vitamin C 1000mg; vitamin E 400 IU; B complex; Magnesium 300mg; Selenium 50mg. Or better still take just ½ tsp of our ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus to fully support and supplement your nutritional needs.
Health matters. Live a lifestyle that’s both healthy & happy!
There are two important tonics important for heart health:
1. Cholesterol herbs used for those with a need to keep cholesterol under control - designed to gently cleanse the heart and arteries of lipids (fats). It’s also a gentle stimulant for those who have circulatory problems like cold hands and feet. With Hawthorn, Ginkgo, Melilot tops, Safflower, Buck wheat, Madder root, Ginger root, Prickly Ash and Red Sage root.
2. Heart and Circulation herbs to normalize blood pressure and regulate the circulation - great for those who have general good health but are looking to support their heart health into the latter years. With Hawthorn berry, Lime flower, Motherwort herb, Horse Chestnut, Blood root, Stevia, Heartsease, Broom tops, Jujube seed and Hart’s Tongue leaf.

References: 1. Joint National Committee on Detection Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. The Fifth Report of the Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC V). Arch Intern Med 1993;153:154 183. 2. Kannel WB, Stokes JI. Hypertension as a cardiovascular risk factor. In: Bulpitt CJ, ed. Epidemiology of Hypertension: Handbook of Hypertension, Volume 6. New York/Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishing Co, Inc., 1985: 15 34. 3. Browner WS, Hulley SB. Effect of risk status on treatment criteria: Implications of hypertension trials. Hypertension 1989;13(suppl I):I 51 56. 4. Julius S, Jamerson K, Mejia A, Krause L, Schork N, Jones K. The association of borderline hypertension with target organ changes and higher coronary risk: Tecumseh blood pressure study. JAMA 1990; 264(3) :354 358. 5. Lichtenstein MJ, Shipley MJ, Rose G. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures as predictors of coronary heart disease mortality in the Whitehall study. Br Med J 1985;291:243 245. 6. Kannel WB, Neaton JD, Wentworth HD, et al. Overall and coronary heart disease mortality rates in relation to major risk factors in 325,348 men screened for the MRFIT. Am Heart J 1986;112:825 836. 7. Sytkowski PA, Kannel WB, D'Agostino RB. Changes in risk factors and the decline in mortality from cardiovascular disease: The Framingham Heart Study. N Engl J Med 1990;322(23):1635 1641. 8. Goldman L, Cook EF. The decline in ischemic heart disease mortality rates: an analysis of the comparative effects of medical interventions and changes in lifestyle. Ann Intern Med 1984;101:825 836. 9. Am J Clin Nut 2000; 71(6): 1455-61.

Find out about herbal medicine for treatment of this condition

Intermittant Claudication
This is an awkward condition especially when you're out walking with friends! You keep have to ask them to hang on while you sit on the nearest bench and wait for your calf to reset. It is a cramping in the muscles a circulatory deficiency. We have a tried and tested herbal medicine for this condition which treats the spasms in the muscles and the circulatory deficiency.

This tonic can be taken for all kinds of cardiovascular issues.
It's good for heart health, the circulation, the blood itself, the blood vessel walls, etc.

Buy from our store
Heart and Circulation Tonic
Cholesterol Tonic
WorryLess Tonic
BloodCleanser Tonic
Intermittant Claudication
Varicose Veins


See our prices page and order from our store.

Related Products

Herbal tonics

Heart & Circulation Tonic — for better heart, ciculatory and BP function. Also see Cold Hands and Feet Lotion.




Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.

Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.

Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.

MRCHM - see Alan Hopking's statement about renouncing his association with membership of this organisation

HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436

General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK

• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.


Pregnant/Breast-feeding mothers

Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.

Volatile Oils

Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.


A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.

Breast-feeding mothers

A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.

Paediatric Use

Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.

Perioperative use

The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK


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