Our heart pumps oxygen rich blood all over the body, from the crown of your head right down to your little toe! The size of an adult fist, it pumps over 9,000 litres of blood every day. It has 4 chambers which rhythmically pump the blood and is controlled by an electrical impulse. 7.6 million UK people have a heart condition.
In TCM, heart energy is linked with circulation. So cold hands may be a sign of weak heart energy. You may also have a long shallow crack down the centre of your tongue. Heart energy manifests in the face. So stagnant heart Qi (chi) can mean you have a blue-purplish tinge to your complexion. Heart Qi also controls sweating, so saunas or very vigorous exercise may not be good for those who are pale and fatigued. Some other signs of weak heart energy are: shortness of breath, constipation and dizziness.
Heart Qi opens on to the tongue. Any speech issues can indicate weak heart Qi. This can be stuttering or loquacity. If you have strong heart Qi, you are said to be ‘spirited’ like a force of nature. Often this can be seen in charismatic leaders as they are great communicators, have clear minds and firm connections with others. The emotion associated with the heart Qi is Joy/Sadness, which needs to be in balance, so you don’t tip into depression. Joy is about living with wisdom, purpose, seeking the truth and having meaningful relationships.
The heart is paired with the small intestine, which extracts iron from food to keep the heart blood strong. If arthritis is suppressed it can affect the heart energy. Joints and heart Qi are linked in TCM. NSAIDs are a common group of drugs used to treat the pain and inflammation of arthritis e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen etc. They also have the common side effects of heart attacks, strokes, hypertension (raised blood pressure), atrial fibrillation and clots. In fact in 2004, the COX-2 inhibitor NSAID drug Vioxx was pulled from the market due to high rates of cardiac events.
Here are my top 5 tips to keep your heart healthy:
- Eat red foods.
Red foods in Chinese medicine are said to be good for the heart. E.g. raw red onions, strawberries, red peppers, tomatoes, cranberries, pomegranate, cherries, watermelon, raspberries beetroot and red cabbage.
- Walk briskly.
Walking for at least 30mins daily whilst swinging your arms will raise your heart rate. Aim to get slightly out of breath and be a bit sweaty! Listening to a podcast or music whilst out in nature gets you bonus health points!
- Lower stress.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again! Stress is hugely damaging to our health. T’ai chi, yoga, breathing exercises even having a good laugh all help to lower our stress levels. If you are wanting more practical tips on this check out my Mental health E-book * link* which is an immediate download.
- Maintain a sense of community and connection.
Having meaningful relationships is vital to our heart energy. Someone you can have a real ‘heart-to-heart’ with! Or just someone to talk to about your ‘broken’ heart. Our language tells the story of the emotions linked with our physical organs.
- Eating iron-rich foods.
Iron is essential for making red blood cells which transport oxygen and nutrients around our bodies. Iron rich foods are: lean red meat, dried apricots, cress, eggs and soybeans. My favourite supplement is Floradix tablets. I recommend this to anyone feeling fatigued but especially to menstruating women!
Finding the root cause of who ‘broke’ your heart and why can be obvious and you may have ‘moved on’ physically, but has your body? Homeopathy can help to deal with the emotion still stuck in your body which may be presenting as a physical symptom. Get in touch if this resonated with you!