Ailments and Situations - Circulatory Problems

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Ailments and Situations - Circulatory Problems
- Symptoms and Signs
- Causes and What to Expect
- Remedies
- Actions and Remedy Listings
- See also
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(also referred to as...)

Raynaud's Phenomenon, Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger's Disease)


Circulatory problems are a common factor of a number of disorders, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. A number of circulatory specific ailments also fall into this category.

Raynaud's Phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon is an overreaction of a normal response and affects the extremities, particularly the fingers, toes, and tip of the nose. When you are cold, small arteries (arterioles) in your extremities constrict to redirect blood flow internally to keep it warm. When the extremities become warm, the arteries relax and blood flow returns to normal. Under Raynaud's phenomenon, this constriction occurs at the slightest stimulation and the arteries remain closed for an extended period of time.

The phenomenon mostly affects women, though it is not known why. Women experiencing Raynaud's phenomenon also tend to have migraines and other conditions involving over-reactive blood vessels.

Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger's Disease)

Buerger's disease is a circulatory disease involving the obstruction of small and medium-sized arteries and veins. The resulting, chronic, inflammation of the blood vessels primarily affects the foot or lower leg but can also occur in the hand, arm, or thigh.

The condition mostly affects male smokers between twenty and forty years of age. Only 5% of cases involve women.


Symptoms and Signs:

In general, signs of poor circulation include cold extremities, such as the hands and feet, numbness, tingling, and bluish colour or loss of colour (due to low blood flow and possibly arterial spasm) in the affected area(s).

Raynaud's Phenomenon

The defining sign of Raynaud's phenomenon is a loss of colour, as blood drains from an affected area, followed by a bluish colour as poorly oxygenated water pools in the above-mentioned extremities.

Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger's Disease)

Buerger's disease is characterized by a tingling, "pins and needles" sensation and a burning sensation in the fingers and toes.



Circulatory problems may be due to hypertension, or high blood pressure. High cholesterol can also cause a buildup of fatty tissue along inner arterial walls, impeding blood flow and leading to circulatory problems. This tissue is formed by an excess of LDL ("bad") cholesterol in the bloodstream. A loss in vein wall elasticity, or varicose veins, can also lead to circulatory problems.

In addition, circulatory problems may be the result of cardiovascular disease. Your naturopath or other health practitioner will help determine a correlation.

Raynaud's Phenomenon

Causes include cold, stress, smoking, and other factors that negatively affect the circulatory system.

Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger's Disease)

It is not known what causes Buerger's disease, but the condition is triggered by smoking. The exact correlation is also not known.

What to Expect:

Raynaud's Phenomenon

The phenomenon can last from one minute to one or more hours, depending on the extent of your particular condition. Raynaud's phenomenon can lead to gangrene, in some cases.

Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger's Disease)

Buerger's disease can lead to ulceration and gangrene. Amputation may be required in extreme cases.



The following remedies are listed for general circulatory problems only. It is important to determine the cause(s) of your circulatory problem(s) and your naturopath or other health practitioner can assist you in accomplishing this goal.

For Raynaud's phenomenon or Buerger's disease, you are strongly advised to first discuss the matter with your naturopath or health practitioner, as he or she will assist you in developing a healing protocol suitable for your needs.

- Herbs -


Cayenne stimulates the heart and improves blood circulation. Add to food. To prepare an infusion, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried herb to one cup hot water. NOTE: If you have an intestinal disorder, make sure to consult with your naturopath or other heath practitioner before use.

Ginkgo biloba is well known for its ability to improve circulation. Take 40mg three times daily. This dosage can be doubled if required. Other recommendations suggest aiming for a 24% ginkgo flavoglycoside content (from a standardized or guaranteed potency preparation).

Hawthorn supports cardiovascular function, helps increase the pumping force of your heart, and eliminates arrhythmia (abnormal heart rate or rhythm). It also has a relaxing effect on your nervous system. Add 1 teaspoon berries or blossoms (or both) to 1 cup boiling water and infuse for 10 minutes. Take 3 times daily.

- Lifestyle -


If you are taking an anticoagulant (blood thinner) such as aspirin, limit your intake of vitamin K. Vitamin K promotes your body's tendency to clot. Foods that are rich in vitamin K include: alfalfa, broccoli, cauliflower, egg yolk, liver and spinach. To enhance anticoagulant efficiency, add more wheat germ, vitamin E, soybeans, and sunflower seeds to your diet.

Lower your blood pressure. Coffee consumption, alcohol intake, inactivity, stress, and smoking are all related to elevated blood pressure levels. Dietary factors that contribute to high blood pressure include obesity, an elevated sodium to potassium ratio, low intake of fibre, a diet high in sugar and saturated fats, a lack of essential-fatty-acids, and a lack of calcium, magnesium, or vitamin C. For more information, see the dedicated section on High Blood Pressure.

Have your cholesterol levels checked. For more information, see the dedicated section on High Cholesterol.

If circulatory problems lead to cold sensations, try to stay as warm as possible. Wear thermal socks or mitts. Put on an extra sweater. Wear a thick, warm hat when outdoors. Avoid drafts. And drink warm liquids.

If you are dealing with Buerger's disease, it is in your best interest to stop smoking for this and many other physiological reasons. Continued smoking will make the situation worse and may eventually lead to amputation. For more information, see the dedicated section on Smoking Dependency.

- Vitamins -


As with ginkgo biloba, vitamin B3 (Niacin) promotes circulation by dilating blood vessels. Take 50mg three times daily, but do not exceed this amount. NOTE: Do not take B3 if you have a liver disorder, gout, or high blood pressure. Also, do not be alarmed if you experience a niacin flush -- a dilation of blood vessels resulting in redness and tingling around joints, certain muscles and other portions of your body, and increased warmth. Depending on dosage, the effect can last from several minutes to an hour. The effect is completely normal, though you may be caught off guard at first -- especially if you do not know it is coming.

Coenzyme Q10 supports proper cardiovascular function and increases overall circulation. It is found in broccoli, meats, salmon, sardines, and spinach. If supplementing, take 100mg daily.

Vitamin E also supports the cardiovascular system and improves circulation by thinning your blood, reducing the risk of occlusion. Take 400 IU daily.


Actions and Remedy Listings

Avoid Alcohol

Avoid Coffee

Avoid Excess Vitamin K


Check Cholesterol Levels

Coenzyme Q10

Ginkgo Biloba


Lower Blood Pressure

Quit Smoking (Buerger's Disease)

Reduce Stress Levels

Stay Warm

Vitamin B3

Vitamin E



See also

High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Smoking Dependency, and Stress.



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