6 Essential tips to improving your circulation naturally this winter
A simple guide to alternative treatment for bad circulation
Brought to you by Oswestry Herbarium
Try using a few of the tips in our blog when trying to improve circulation. You’ll find what works best for you, makes you feel great, and most importantly - warms you up.
Remember - it’s important to get professional advice from your herbalist, especially if you are already taking other medicines or supplementation. Pop into Oswestry herbarium or book a consultation with Medical Herbalist, Louise Idoux, who will help you figure out what is the best course of natural treatment for you and put together a bespoke programme.
When Winter is fully upon us, and if you’re living in the UK, that means it’s cold. If you have bad circulation you’re likely to be noticing the cold in the form of cold hands and feet, chilblains and possibly Raynaud’s syndrome or leg ulcers.
Although we are lucky to have modern methods such as central heating, electric blankets, vests, and hot water bottles - not to mention hand warmers, suffering from the cold can still make you feel miserable through the winter months.
Circulation is essential for providing oxygenated blood to our body and getting rid of waste products. Poor circulation can ultimately result in headaches, muscle cramps, varicose veins, or even blood clots.
But don’t worry - there is an answer. Improving circulation naturally can be easier than you think. Alternative treatment for poor circulation is something that has been practiced for thousands of years.
Warming herbs include things like ginger, black pepper, chilli, and cinnamon which can be taken as supplements or simply added to your diet for improving circulation naturally.
So give yourself a break from the winter cold and try one of these essential, yet simple tips to improve your circulation.
1. Golden Milk
Golden Milk - also called Turmeric milk - is a traditional Indian drink that is known for its support in Arthritis and other cold-sensitive conditions. This wonderful combination of warming herbs and spices can make a big difference to cold hands and feet and is also a natural chilblain treatment.
In addition, it plays a part in managing Raynaud’s syndrome, boosting immunity and can also help aid natural weight loss! It’s generally a fantastic and tasty alternative treatment for bad circulation.
Other benefits include:
- Lowering blood sugar levels
- Aiding digestion
- Reducing inflammation - great for arthritis!
- Improving mood
- Improving memory
This gentle on the stomach recipe is easy and can be effective when taken regularly - and what could be better than making it at home!
- Milk (or substitute milk) 1pint
- Turmeric 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper 1 pinch
- Honey (or other sweetener) 1 good teaspoon
- Cinnamon or ginger (optional) 1 pinch
Heat all the ingredients gently on the hob for 10 mins, stand for 10 mins, then drink and enjoy.
2. Natural Chilblain Treatment
Many of us have suffered from chilblains - these are nasty red, itchy patches that are most common on our feet. Chilblains generally occur in winter and most of us go throughout the summer months feeling fine - chilblain free!
The first thing to remember in natural chilblain treatment is that chilblains are often caused by the transition from cold to warm temperatures so remember to wear warm socks and don’t put your feet on the heater as soon as you get inside! Let your feet warm up naturally inside thick socks and a pair of slippers.
Sometimes though, however careful you are, those angry red patches still pop up and cause discomfort through the winter months! So try these tips below as a natural chilblain treatment.
Use mustard powder as an external preparation.
Simply add a teaspoon full to a warm hand or foot bath and add 3 drops of warming essential oil - Geranium. Soak your hands or feet for 5-10 minutes.
Not only will this soothe unbroken chilblains but it is also great for improving circulation naturally in your extremities through their rubefacient (posh word meaning warming) effect!
If your chilblains are more painful and have started to split and weep then avoid using the mustard footbath and try using Calendula cream. This beautiful traditional cream is soothing and healing on broken skin. Calendula is not just a cream from the alternative treatment of bad circulation but is also suitable for emergency cuts, grazes, and even eczema.
3. Natural Raynaud’s treatment
Raynaud’s disease is a problem that causes decreased blood flow to fingers. It can also occur in toes and sometimes other areas of the body such as ears and nose! It’s generally uncomfortable and occurs after exposure to cold although it can be triggered by emotional stress!
Raynaud’s is more common in women and definitely more common in people who live in colder climates. It generally causes fingers to change colour, feel very cold and numb, and sting or tingle when normal blood flow returns to the extremities.
Mustard and Geranium oil hand and foot bath
Using the mustard and geranium oil hand and foot bath - as outlined in the chilblain treatment above - will be a great help to improve circulation in the hands and feet which will act as a natural Raynaud’s treatment.
Including omega-three fatty acids in your diet, such as fish oil, has been found to be beneficial as a natural Raynaud’s treatment, along with evening primrose oil, and a magnesium supplement. Magnesium opens blood vessels which helps circulation - it’s recommended that you talk with your doctor if you are taking other medication before adding a magnesium supplement to your diet.
4. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginko Biloba has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy to improve circulation. It is proven to open up blood vessels and also act as an antioxidant. You can drink it as a herbal tea or take it as a supplement.
Ginkgo has a whole host of suggested positive benefits in addition to being a great alternative treatment for bad circulation. These are:
- Acts as an antioxidant
- Helps fight inflammation
- Improves heart health
- Reduces symptoms of dementia
- Improves brain function
- Reduce anxiety
- Help with asthma or COPD
- Support eye health
- Aid in the treatment of depression
- Helps with headaches and migraines
What a list!
Ginkgo biloba supplement originates from a tree that is native to China and uses Ginko extract primarily from the leaves. Have a chat with your herbalist to see if Ginko Biloba could help you!
Seems obvious right? We all know when we exercise we warm up! But it’s much easier said than done when we’re in the depths of winter and the weather is bad - the last thing you want to do is go outside in the cold!
It hasn’t got to be hard! Wrap up warm and go for a simple walk. You could challenge yourself to go for a 20minute walk first thing in the morning, or maybe in your lunch break. The benefits of exercise go far beyond circulation - having positive effects on physical and mental health!
In addition - try not to cross your legs for too long whilst sitting and remember to stand up and move around the room regularly if you are sitting for long periods during the day - maybe go up the stairs once or twice, your circulation will thank you!
Try using these simple tips to make exercise a simple alternative treatment for bad circulation.
We mentioned above that Omega-three fatty acids found in fish oil are beneficial in a natural Raynaud’s treatment. These fish include:
- Cod liver oil - more of a supplement than a food
And you can also include iron-rich foods which are great at preventing anaemia (iron deficiency) and essential for haemoglobin in blood (this is how the oxygen is transported around the body).
Foods rich in iron include:
- Red meat, pork, and poultry
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as Spinach
- Cereals and grains
Eating plenty of garlic or taking a garlic supplement helps to thin the blood which in turn increases blood flow to the extremities. Cayenne pepper, ginger, oranges, nuts and pumpkin seeds can all act as a natural remedy to improve circulation.
Reduce your caffeine intake! Caffeine can constrict blood flow to extremities. Go for herbal tea, especially something like ginger or ginkgo tea - or use the recipe above for Golden milk!
Keep an eye on your diet in general as improving this can positively affect you and help in improving circulation naturally.
Stay safe and warm this winter!