Circulatory problems can be a sign of underlying and undiagnosed health concerns such as varicose veins, thrombosis, and plaque buildup in the arteries. Circulatory issues may be caused by high or low blood pressure, chilblains, Reynaud’s syndrome, or diabetes.
Tingling, burning, or ‘pins and needles’ sensations in the hands and toes are also common signs of circulatory issues and should be specifically addressed by your medical herbalist or healthcare provider.
Cold Hands and Feet Causes and Treatment
A lack of oxygen to the tissues due to disrupted circulation can lead to a whitish or bluish hue to the fingers and toes; and when left untreated, gangrene may result from chronic contraction of the arteries.
Chilblains are a common circulatory issue experienced during the winter months, in which exposure to cold weather causes localized inflammation of the blood vessels. Improving circulation will help minimize the condition and can help prevent thrombosis of the skin. Here are some simple yet effective suggestions for improving circulation and warming up those cold hands and feet during the winter months.
Tips for Improving Circulation
1. Replace the salt and pepper shaker with cayenne pepper powder. Use cayenne pepper to season your food and keep it on the counter where you would normally keep the salt shaker. Traditionally, Cayenne is known to improve circulation and improve blood flow throughout the body especially to the peripheral blood vessels.
2. Decrease the consumption of tea, coffee, and caffeinated drinks such as cola and caffeine-based energy drinks. Caffeine constricts blood vessels and decreases peripheral circulation, leading to a rise in blood pressure. A high intake of caffeine promotes the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, triggering the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. Blood pressure becomes elevated and irritability may result.
3. Add freshly chopped garlic to your diet. Garlic is known both for its immune system boosting properties as well as for its heart health benefits. Studies have shown that garlic can improve blood cholesterol levels while decreasing the likelihood of blood platelet clumping.
4. Keep fresh ginger in your pantry and add chopped, grated, or sliced fresh root to soups, stews, stir-fries or even herbal teas for an added spicy flavor. Ginger is known to improve circulation and blood flow to the hands and feet. It has been used traditionally for the treatment of chilblains and for gently easing the symptoms of frostbite.
5. Use Herbal Teas to support healthy circulation. Herbal teas such as ginger root, hawthorn berries, yarrow flowers, linden leaves, rosemary leaves, and ginkgo leaves are rich in flavonoids and strengthen the walls of blood vessels, improving circulation. When used long-term, they may help reduce hypertension.
6. Uncross your legs. Frequent leg crossing looks pleasing to the eye but can hinder circulation, further contributing to broken veins and spider veins.
7. Choose Movement! Instead of sitting for long periods of time, take a moment to raise both legs off the floor and flex and point your toes or take a time-out moment and walk. Sitting for long periods of time can decrease blood flow to the peripheries and raise the risk of thrombosis, or clot formations in veins deep within the body.
8. Try some home remedies for circulatory issues. Chilblains can cause surface inflammation, itching, and redness of the hands and feet. Traditional home remedies include rubbing the affected hands and feet with raw onion or bathing in potato water (hot water containing grated fresh potato). Apple cider vinegar is also used as a topical soak to improve circulation. source: choicesmarkets