Here is how natural herbs like gingko can help with poor circulation this winter

Ginkgo. Picture by Pixabay
Ginkgo. Picture by Pixabay

If you struggle with poor circulation through the winter, now is the time to do something about it.

If you struggle with poor circulation through the winter, now is the time to do something about it.

That biting cold that can set in from November onwards will can cause problems in the fingers and toes.

On a small level, it may be that your hands and feet are just always cold but if the problem is greater, you may be prone to chilblains that can cause sores on the skin.

Arteries that transport blood around the body become extremely tiny as they get further from the heart, allowing them to enter tissues and organs.

They can then provide vital nutrients and oxygen to areas that the larger blood vessels cannot reach.

These tiny vessels called capillaries are only a single cell thick.

For those with compromised circulation, capillaries may be too narrow to let enough blood through, especially at the parts of the body furthest away from the heart like the fingers and toes.

This interrupts nutrient exchange and prevents blood keeping the tissues warm.

You may notice that your hands and feet get cold really easily or feel that way all the time, your skin may change colour or chilblains may develop and pins and needles can occur where the blood flow is particularly restricted.

This is sometimes called Raynaud’s phenomenon.

If you are plagued by these problems, there has been research done on a herb called Ginkgo biloba, showing that it can help widen blood capillaries.

This allows more blood into the tissues to warm and nourish the tips of our fingers and toes.

Ginkgo can make these changes to capillaries within about a month, opening them out so that blood can enter otherwise under nourished tissue.

A little bit like opening up more roads to a city centre to let traffic move in and out more freely.

Ginkgo is herb that is sold a lot but I do recommend checking the quality of your herb before buying it.

Sometimes supplements contain very little of a herb’s active constituents and when it comes to ginkgo, I only ever recommend using a liquid tincture.

Before training as a herbalist, I worked with a man who had suffered with Raynaud’s phenomenon for a large part of his life.

Using tablets, he’d seen no benefit but once he moved onto using tincture, he saw results within weeks.

Raynaud’s doesn’t only affect the hands and feet.

Last year I met a lady whose legs were turning a reddish purple due to poor circulation and her hands had been undernourished for so long that her skin and nails were in very poor condition.

Naturally she was not only uncomfortable but also conscious of these visible changes.

This wasn’t just a problem for her in winter, but all year round with the cold weather causing a significant worsening.

It took a month for the tincture to start easing the discomfort, with noticeable changes in the colour of the skin on her legs.

The skin on her hands started to improve and she generally felt much more confident and comfortable, so much so that she bought a skirt to wear to a Christmas party for the first time in years, despite the cold weather.

Ginkgo isn’t just about warm hands and nice skin.

Important organs including your brain are supplied by capillaries and these highly important areas need nourishment too.

Improving blood flow to the brain can help keep it healthy.

The Ginkgo leaf is shaped like the human brain and has been traditionally used to help with the short-term memory and age-related memory decline.

If circulation to your skin is poor, then circulation to other areas may be too.

Eating lots of chilli, ginger and warming spices can also be of use, since these herbs can be gently blood thinning and stimulating to the circulation.

If diet alone isn’t doing the trick though and you think your capillaries need a bit more support, consider talking to a herbalist about taking ginkgo.

It plays a key role in any circulatory issue in my clinic, be that for memory, skin health, chilblain sores or just cold hands and feet. Especially with winter on it’s way.

For more information, contact Nicola at Health and Herbs, on 01524 413733 at her herbal clinic.