Calcified arteries in the heart are a form of coronary arteriosclerosis. In this condition, the arteries become hard and narrowed. This restricts the flow of blood to the heart, limiting the amount of work it can perform, even to the point at which a person may have trouble walking a few steps without chest pain or shortness of breath. The narrowing of the arteries can be progressive, leading to stronger symptoms. If the artery suddenly becomes occluded, the blood supply to the area of the heart supplied by the artery will be cut off and a heart attack will result. Lifestyle, medical and interventional treatments for coronary artery disease can relieve symptoms and prolong life. One of the most common medicines prescribed is aspirin. Aspirin interferes with platelets. Platelets help form blood clots, a good thing when a person is bleeding, but when the blood vessels in the heart are constricted and hard, a platelet plug will cause a heart attack.
Hawthorn is a thorny shrub plant with small red berries. Extracts from the hawthorn plant have been used to treat heart disease for many centuries. Hawthorn benefits the heart and circulatory system as it helps to decrease blood pressure while strengthening heart muscle. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that hawthorn is rich in chemicals known as flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants and may also increase vasodilation to increase blood flow through veins and arteries to decrease blood pressure.
The University of Maryland Medical Center advises taking a total of 160 to 1,800 mg of the herb hawthorn in two to three doses per day. Hawthorn contains antioxidant compounds called quercetin and rutin, which help dissolve fatty and calcium plaques in the arteries. Hawthorn may help to treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure levels, but speak to your doctor first before self-treating your condition.
Regular use of aged garlic extracts may help to clean out your arteries and reduce your chances of developing coronary heart disease. The Natural Health and Longevity Resource Center explains that garlic raises good HDL cholesterol while decreasing bad LDL cholesterol in your body to help prevent the buildup of plaque. According to a 2006 study in the "Journal of Nutrition" by Matthew Budoff, the way garlic reduces plaque formation in arteries is not understood. This study suggests that garlic may help to prevent fat in the arteries from hardening and causing blockage.
Consume garlic. Take a daily 900 mg garlic supplement, and add raw and cooked garlic to your daily meals, to naturally reduce calcium buildup in the blood vessels. Garlic is a popularly used herbal remedy to treat and prevent cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, garlic contains active organosulfur compounds, which help to reduce inflammation and the synthesis and buildup of cholesterol that leads to calcium deposits in the arteries.
It contains allicin--a compound with potent antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. Dipak K. Das, Ph.D., professor at the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Connecticut, states that garlic can greatly improve circulation in the aorta while reducing heart damage caused by oxygen deprivation. It also has mild cholesterol-lowering properties and may help improve circulation by reducing the viscosity of blood platelets. The dosage of garlic recommended for heart health is between one and three cloves daily. Side effects include indigestion, nausea and increased bleeding risks. Garlic may be taken in supplement form or crushed and added to foods for its medicinal effects.
Bilberry is a berry fruit similar to blueberry that is rich in heart-health chemicals known as anthocyanosides. Anthocyanosides can act as antioxidants to protect arteries and veins from hardening and clogging. A 2006 study published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology" explains that bilberry extracts can not only prevent hardening of arteries, but also helps to relax blood vessels so that more blood can flow through veins and arteries. In addition to helping keep veins and arteries clear, bilberry may also help improve blood flow though capillaries in the eyes. Medical scientists are now researching bilberry extracts to treat eye damage caused by diabetes as well as macular degeneration.
We often hear that olive oil is a heart healthy source of fat, however, we rarely hear about the leaves of the olive plant that can also benefit cardiovascular health. Extracts of the olive plant leaf are rich in compounds called oleuropeins which also act as vasodilators to relax blood vessels and increase blood flow through arteries. Olive leaf extract may also lower levels of fats in arteries to prevent artery blockage and increase blood flow. Interestingly, a 2010 clinical study in the journal "Phytomedicine" found that supplementation with olive leaf extract can lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. Olive leaf extract was also found to lower the levels of fats circulating in the cardiovascular system of people with early hypertension.
Ingest nattokinase supplements.This natural enzyme helps to dissolve fibrin, cholesterol and calcium that has accumulated in the arteries of the legs and other parts of the body. Nattokinase is commonly derived from a traditional Japanese fermented cheese called natto, which is produced by the bacteria Bacillus natto that is added to soybeans, giving it its beneficial properties. Take one to two 138 mg capsules of nattokinase every four hours to help dissolve arterial plaques. Talk to your physician before using nattokinase for any medicinal purpose.
Aspirin is quite good at controlling blood clots by keeping platelets from clumping for their entire life span, about 10 days. The salicylates in foods are not as powerful and their effects are more temporary. But it’s easy to take in a small, steady supply of salicylates through the foods you eat.
Foods with natural salicylates:
Used for centuries in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, turmeric is an herb credited with a multitude of healing properties. Its main active compound, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning effects that may be useful in conditions such as atherosclerosis and heart disease. A study by Tatsuya Morimoto and colleagues in the March 3, 2008, issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation states that curcumin prevents heart failure caused by hypertension in rats and may have similar cardio-protective effects in humans. Turmeric can thin the blood and should be used cautiously by people taking blood thinners. The typical daily dose is between 400 and 600 milligrams dried powder.
Willow bark is a close chemical relative of aspirin. Like aspirin, willow bark contains salicin, a compound with blood-thinning and pain-relieving properties. After ingestion, the salicin in willow bark is converted to salicylic acid, which thins the blood and prevents clotting that can lead to heart attack or ischemic stroke. The typical dose of willow bark for heart health is between 1 and 3 grams daily, or approximately 60 to 120 milligrams salicin. To prevent Reye's syndrome--a potentially fatal condition--do not give willow bark to children with a fever or other signs of viral infection.