Coronary artery disease is caused by atherosclerosis of the arteries going to the heart. When the artery walls become thick they restrict the blood supply to the heart and can cause heart and chest pain, irregular heart flutters and heart attack. Smoking, being overweight, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol are regarded as chief risk factors. Western medical treatment can include cholesterol lowering drugs, calcium blockers, aspirin, nitrate vasodilators and coronary arterial bypass surgery.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have been used for hundreds of years to improve the heart health.
Ancient Chinese physicians realised excess salt damaged arteries
Historically, it is worthwhile mentioning that ancient Chinese physicians worked out and documented that eating excess salt caused damage to the blood vessels, two thousand years before western medical researchers “discovered” the link. Three hundred years ago Chinese physicians recorded that smoking caused the blood vessels to become diseased and cause heart trouble. As late as the 1930’s, modern medical practitioners still used to “prescribe” cigarette smoking to women if they were suffering from stress which the doctors called “women’s hysteria”.
What about cholesterol and high blood pressure?
Modern day research has shown that acupuncture can lower cholesterol as well as treat high blood pressure. Other research has shown that acupuncture can help for weight loss management and acupuncture can also treat many types of pain. In China, acupuncture is also used to treat chest and heart pain.
Are there Chinese herbs that are used to help chest pain?
Hospitals in China have herb specialists that specifically use Chinese herbs to treat atherosclerosis. In China, people have a choice to use Traditional Chinese Medicine or western medicine or a combination of both in their hospital system.
According to traditional Chinese medical literature, heart disease was classified into a number of categories including chest pain, true heart pain and heart pain with chilled limbs. The causes were attributed to diet, environmental stress, imbalance of the emotions and aging. There is also a special category which is translated as “unregulated stillness”. This equates to the modern day equivalent of lack of exercise. One should be able to see that ancient Chinese physicians were very on to the ball as to what factors actually contributed to heart disease, all of which has been confirmed by modern medicine.
Mark Crain, a well-known Brisbane based acupuncturist sees many patients in his clinic who have chosen to improve their heart health naturally. He said “Treating heart disease with acupuncture is a great example of marrying modern medicine with ancient Chinese medicine. Patients can have all the ongoing tests to monitor their heart as the acupuncture and herbal therapy treatment progresses. Patients may notice that the treatment starts improving their sleep, gives them more energy when walking up stairs and improves their mood well before their next check up to review their heart health”
Even though New Zealand has a free trade agreement with China, the New Zealand authorities have banned certain Chinese medicines like fu zi and shui zhi which have a history of being prescribed for treating various types of heart disease, depending on the cause. Luckily, though, there are still at least a couple hundred other Chinese herbs that can be imported into New Zealand and may be used to treat heart disease. Sandalwood is one such Chinese herb.