Herbal Support for Stress, Heart Health and Prostate Care: Remedies to Combat Common Male Troubles
Jun 06, 2016 03:18PM
By Lupo Passero
There is no question that natural health and healing is on the rise. Today’s publications are filled with useful articles on natural and alternative healing. These tend to focus on women’s health, however; the majority of the information available on men’s health usually concerns bodybuilding or virility. Though these topics may be of interest to some, primary focus ought to be on nourishing the entire male system and addressing common concerns such as stress, heart health and prostate care.
The Stress Factor
Regardless of gender, stress is by far one of the greatest concerns affecting modern day health and wellness. Stress directly not only affects the nervous system but the adrenal and circulatory systems as well. The leading cause of death in men is due to heart failure and high blood pressure. Heart health is directly linked stress levels. There is a wide range of relaxing herbs that can be used regularly to soothe and nourish the nervous system. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), lemon balm (Melissa off.) and oats (Avena sativa) work well to nourish, tone and relax the nervous system. Linden (Tilia spp) and motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) not only have a positive effect on the nervous system, but also on cardiovascular health. These herbs are best taken in the form of a daily herbal tea (see recipe below). Exercise, yoga, massage and meditation are excellent additions to any stress-reducing regimen.
Men appear to have consistently higher blood pressure than women do. It is unclear whether this is a constitutional trait or a result of cultural roles, diet or exercise patterns. Strengthening the cardiovascular system is best approached by toning the heart muscle both through increased exercise and by incorporating cardio-tonic herbs. Garlic (Allium sativum) is an excellent example of a cardiovascular tonic herb. It is a powerful hypotensive and may have a normalizing effect for lowering blood pressure. Using this herb as both food and medicine along with other herbs and dietary changes can help treat and possibly prevent high blood pressure. The leaves, flowers and berries of the hawthorn (Crategus species) tree, are thought to be one of the best heart tonics available. The entire circulatory system can show the benefits when this herb is administered as a daily tonic and taken over long periods. It should be one of the first considerations for individuals with high blood pressure, particularly at its initial stage. Energetically, hawthorn can work to help heal old—or new—emotional wounds, or feelings such as grief that can weigh heavily on the heart.
It is said that men push their worries into their prostates. The prostate is an endocrine system-dependent gland that sits just below the bladder, next to the rectum, and surrounds the urethra. If the prostate becomes inflamed or engorged, it squeezes the urethra, which, in turn, can lead to bladder infections, urinary incontinence and kidney problems. Statistics indicate the majority of men will have trouble with their prostate gland at some point in their lives. Saw palmetto (Sereona repens) is a remarkable berry that has proven to be quite effective for prostatic infection, enlargement, and even useful for prostate cancer. In some cases it can relieve not only symptoms but also the underlying causes through its anti-inflammatory, diuretic and urinary anti-septic actions. The dried berries are not considered tasty by most so saw palmetto is best consumed as a tincture or in capsule form. Pygeum (Pygeum africanum) bark has been used in Africa for centuries for a variety of male health issues, including prostate enlargement, impotence and infertility. Pygeum is another popular herb for the treatment of inflammation of the prostate and considered an overall male tonic. Pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita pepo) are not only a great snack but also an excellent natural remedy for male reproductive congestion. They are rich in zinc, which is excellent for the prostate. Consume a small handful daily either raw or roasted, or add to salads and bread.
There are numerous books on women’s health and wellness but very few written primarily for men. In 1991, James Green published The Male Herbal, one of the first books dedicated solely to healing men with herbs.
Daily Tea for Healthy Men
1 part hawthorn berry, leaf and flower
1 part lemon balm leaf
½ part oats straw or seed
¼ part chamomile
¼ part linden leaf and flower
Combine all herbs together and store in an airtight glass container. Drink 1-2 cups a day. Add one cup of boiled water to one tsp. of herb, cover and allow to sit 5-7 minutes. Strain, add honey (optional) and enjoy.
Lupo Passero is a community herbalist and director of Twin Star Herbal Education in New Milford. She will offer Earth Spirit, an energetic herbalism series, on June 22, co-taught by Native Mohegan Chris Harris. Visit TwinStarTribe.com for more information.