Blood (Rakta dhatu) is the second layer of our body, the first one is plasma. Blood is connected with Pitta (Fire, water) dosha, while the blood circulation is related to Vata (Air, Ether) dosha and life force (Prana-breath), which controls the movement of our body. Poor blood circulation may be caused due to blockage in the circulatory system. The blockage happens because of several complications such as
- Excessive toxic substances due to the high amount of Kapha which may be the reason for fatty tissue and bad cholesterol
- Narrow blood vessels due to high stress
- Increased Vata which leads to depression
- Modern lifestyle habits
- Poor food routine
When our circulation gets stagnant it will cause various minor and major health issues. Poor circulation is a crucial issue that should be treated immediately. A balanced flow of blood and energy will make your soul, mind, and body healthier. Ayurvedic texts have a detailed explanation about the circulation of blood.
Already we know that according to Ayurveda, Vata dosha regulates blood circulation by controlling the movement of blood throughout the body. Each and every dosha gives unique properties to the blood which is given below
- Vata Dosha – makes the blood cold and dry
- Pitta Dosha – warmth blood
- Kapha (Water, earth) Dosha – acts on its fluidity
Blood Circulation – Basics
According to Ayurveda, there are ten important blood vessels in the body that are connected with the heart to form the cardiovascular system. This system is an important reason for the distribution of nutrients, enzymes, and hormones to all parts of the body.
The outward moving air (Vyana Vayu) pumps the blood out of the heart and distributes it over the blood vessels and tissues of the body. The inward moving air (Prana Vayu) controls the activities of the heart. These airs control the circulation of the blood throughout the body. The blood absorbs nutrients and other material from the intestine after the process of digestion, then it reaches the heart to get circulated over the body.
Heart: The pumping action of the heart pumps the blood (rasa) with the help of outward moving air (Vyana Vayu) which makes the heart a pumping organ.
Blood Flow Pattern: According to ayurvedic ancient texts Sushruta Samhita, the pattern of the blood flow in the human body is compared with the motion of elements such as sound, fire, and water. The average blood flow velocity is decreasing when the blood flows from the heart toward the periphery (leg or arms).
Likewise, the sound (1st element) travels fastest among the three-element which is described by Sushruta to compare the movement of blood throughout the human body. The speed at which the fire travels is dependent on the speed of the wind in a particular direction. The speed of fire is less than that of sound but greater than that of water.
Types of blood vessels in the human body: Blood vessels play a key role in the blood circulation process. Ayurveda says there are three different kinds of blood vessels. They are
Arteries (Dhamanyah) – blood vessels with pulsate (ten major blood vessels)
Veins (Sirah) – blood vessels without pulsating
Capillaries (Srotamsi) – vessels from which blood and other fluids goes out
The circulatory system is a closed circuit that circulates blood in a circular motion throughout the body. Balancing air (Samana Vayu) aids in the transportation of blood toward the heart.
Working: The circulatory system transports nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body through blood. The main parts of the circulatory systems are the heart and blood vessels (arteries, veins, and capillaries). The arteries carry blood away from the heart, the veins carry blood back to the heart.
The lung is a major organ which purifies the blood by removing waste products (carbon dioxide – it is created by the cells and tissues,) and supplying oxygen to the blood which is needed for the active function of every organ.
While the breathing processes, inhale means take oxygen from the outer environment, and exhale means releasing carbon dioxide. The impure blood from various tissues first enters into the lungs to get purified and then it gets transported to the heart through veins by the pumping action.
How to Diagnose Poor Circulation
When blood circulation becomes stagnant, it can find out through many symptoms. They are,
- Numbness and tingling
- Cold in the hands and feet
- Discoloration of hand and feet
- Varicose veins
- Swelling and edema
- Muscles Cramps
- Chronic fatigue
- Poor memory
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hair loss
- Skin wounds or ulcers
- Brittle nails
- Dry and cracking skin
- Nerve damage
- Tissue damage
- Affects energy level
- Improper digestion
- Poor focus or concentration
Common Causes of Poor Circulation
Poor blood circulation is caused due to various conditions, some of then are
- Increased Vata
- Anxiety and dryness
- Increased Kapha
- Overweight and metabolic issues
- Excessive toxins
- Raynaud’s disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
- Bad food routine
- Constant heavy lifting
- Contraction of muscles
- Standing or sitting for long periods
- Prolonged computer usage
Herbs for Proper Blood Circulation
Circulating blood throughout the body is the main process that regulates the function of all organs by providing sufficient nutrients and oxygen. It makes all the organs and tissues healthy. When poor circulation is untreated for over a prolonged period of time, it may cause life-threatening problems such as stroke and heart attack.
There are many herbs available in the ayurvedic medicinal system that will regulate blood circulation. These herbs can be intaken by mixing with honey, ghee, made as a tea, or mixed with food. The best herbs for your body type can be chosen by your dosha type and specified conditions due to circulatory problems. The few most powerful herbs which provide good circulation are mentioned below.
Ginger is a natural herb that is used by Indian sub-continent people for thousands of years to improve blood circulation. Ginger thins the blood and which is helpful in better blood flow. It also lowers the blood pressure which relaxes the blood vessels and makes them a free flow of blood throughout the body. Bad cholesterol may cause several heart diseases which can be decreased by consuming ginger.
In females, these herbs also used to increase blood flow during menstruation. Gingerol found in ginger has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which help in the treatment of cold, cough, throat infection, swollen joints, toothache, joint pain, and chest pain. Other health benefits include help in weight loss, depression, arthritis, headache, morning sickness, and stomach related issues. Ginger has a distinct flavor because of the bioactive substance gingerol.
How to Use
- Prepare ginger tea by adding a few grams of ginger with water and consume it two times a day. Ginger can be added as fresh, dried, or powdered form.
- Add as a paste to dishes.
- Dry ginger powder can be added as a flavoring agent for desserts and sweets.
Arjuna is a shrub that is used for its ayurvedic properties to maintain heart and circulatory system health. The extract obtained from the plant is rich in flavonoids and polyphenols. This compound has anti-inflammatory properties that minimize the formation of plaque in arteries. Arjuna has an anticoagulant property which thins the consistency of blood and improves blood circulation.
Arjuna is used to treat cardiovascular diseases such as ischemic chest pain, hypertension, heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and congestive heart failure. Arjuna herbal tonic reduces cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood pressure levels. It also controls diarrhea, headache, asthma, and cough. External application of Arjuna bark cures eczema, psoriasis, itching, and rashes.
How to Consume
- Mix 3 g of Arjuna bark powder with 250 ml of milk, boil it and drink it twice a day.
Guggul is a small tree with thorns that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicines for almost two thousand years. The resin obtained from the Guggul tree is used to protect and cure our body from various diseases.
Guggal enhances the detoxification process and purifies the blood. It has penetrating properties which makes them penetrate the body tissues. Guggal enhances the detoxification process and purifies the blood which enhances the circulation of blood.
Guggul eliminates toxic substances from the tissues and blood vessels while rejuvenating them. It is also used to control cholesterol levels. Apart from that, it improves digestion, maintains weight, balances movement of the joints, boosts up the immune system, and treats irregular menstrual cycles.
Ashwagandha is a traditional ayurvedic herb that enhances blood circulation which in turn improves cardiovascular health. Ashwagandha decreases cholesterol level and blood pressure level that relaxes blood vessels and stimulates blood circulation throughout the body. The thinning properties of ashwagandha dilute the blood and make the blood easier to flow.
Ashwagandha plays an important role in reducing cortisol – the stress hormones – which may improve blood flow. It also stimulates the production of nitric oxide that enhances blood circulation. The other benefits of ashwagandha include in the treatment of irregular ovulation, depression, cancer, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, reduced blood pressure level, and rheumatoid arthritis. It also increases hemoglobin levels.
How to Use
- Boil a few grams of Ashwagandha powder or crushed Ashwagandha with a cup of water or milk, then strain it and drink it. You can also add honey if necessary.
5] Pine Bark Extract
Pine bark extract prepared from the internal bark of a pine tree species. It contains active compounds proanthocyanidins which enhance the circulation of blood. The extract prepared from the pine bark also increases the production of Nitric Oxide. The compound nitric oxide improves the blood flow which transports nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and cells.
It also aids in diminishing edema, treats erectile dysfunction, improves heart health, increases testosterone production, improves libido, lowers cholesterol, and boosts up immunity power.
Dosage: 0.2 to 0.3 g
Turmeric is the best medicine which is most widely used in ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal systems. Turmeric increases the blood flow by widening the blood vessels. Curcumin compound found in turmeric increases the production of nitric oxide and reduces oxidative stress, maintains arteries from being blocked, and improves the circulation of blood.
It supports antiplatelet or anticoagulant activity thereby reducing the risk of plaque development in the arteries. Turmeric plays a significant role in the detoxification process. It is also used to protect the liver, remove toxins, heal wounds, treat depression, irregular periods, improve brain function, high fever, itching, and reduce cholesterol. Wild turmeric is the best skincare product that treats scar, acne, and removes facial hair.
How to Use
- Mix turmeric powder and pepper powder with roasted or fried vegetables.
- Add it to the curry, which gives extra flavor and color.
- Applying the paste of wild turmeric with curd, milk, or rosewater over the skin promotes blood circulation and treats various issues.
Apart from giving a unique flavor to your foods, cinnamon is used for its health benefits such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antimicrobial properties. Cinnamaldehyde is the main chemical substance present in cinnamon. Cinnamon controls the cholesterol level, pressure level, and triglycerides in the blood which improves the circulation of blood.
Cinnamon enhances the production of nitric oxide which has reduced vascular stress and relaxes the blood vessels. This will help in increasing blood flow. Cinnamon also helps diabetics patients by lowering blood sugar levels; it also treats diarrhea, gas troubles, common cold, joint pains and prevents cancer.
Dosage: 2 to 6 g per day
How to Use
- Add it into the food items like baked recipes and spicy cuisines.
- Consuming cinnamon tea regularly will enhance blood circulation.
8] Black Pepper
Black pepper is known as the king of spices which has effective antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Pepper decreases the levels of cholesterol, free fatty acids, phospholipids, and triglycerides that maintain heart-healthy.
Black pepper enhances the circulation of blood by enlarging blood vessel size. It also cures arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, diarrhea due to cholera, depression, gas troubles, headache, menstrual pain, sinus infection, aids in weight loss, and cancer.
Nuts are the best choice for evening time snacks with high nutrients. Walnuts are enriched with alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid) which helps in the smooth flow of blood. Regular intake of walnuts may help blood move smoothly by enhancing blood vessel health, and it maintains vessel elasticity effects, & lowering blood pressure.
Almonds reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping blood vessels healthy. It increases antioxidants in the bloodstream which reduces blood pressure and improves blood circulation. The magnesium in cashew nuts is maintaining blood pressure which relaxes the blood vessels.
Trikatu – Three spices is a traditional Ayurvedic formulation medicine that promotes digestive, immunity, and respiratory system. It is prepared by mixing milagu (Black pepper), Thippili (Indian long pepper), and Injii (Ginger) in equal quantity. It is used for curing conditions like high cholesterol, obesity, infection, gastric problems and boosts immunity power. These three-ingredients have extreme hot potency that helps to maintain blood circulation in our body.
How to Consume
- Make a paste of Trikatu with honey and consume it twice a day between meals.
11] Flax Seeds
Flaxseed is obtained from the plant flax and its botanical name is Linum Usitatissimum. Flax seeds are a good source of fiber, vitamins B, polyunsaturated fatty acids, magnesium, and manganese. Omega-3 and lignans present in flax seeds block hardening of the arteries and inhibit plaque deposits in the blood vessels. Alpha-lipoic acid enhances blood circulation throughout the body.
Other health benefits of flaxseeds are reducing cholesterol levels, helping in weight loss, improving the digestion process, and promoting skin and hair health. In females, it also aids in irregular periods, cramps, headache, depression, and mood swings. Flaxseeds are available as whole grain, oil, or capsule.
How to Consume
- You can sprinkle crushed flaxseed over oatmeal, bread, or a salad.
- Blend it with a smoothie and milkshake.
Always maintain healthy blood circulation and oxygen flow throughout the body to protect your body from various diseases. Proper blood circulation will provide a sufficient amount of nutrients, white blood cells in your immune system, and oxygen level to all the organs. Lead a healthy life by adding a healthy ingredient and consuming herbal medicines. Consult your medicinal advisor before intaking herbal medicines.