A voice for
herbal medicine

We share traditional, scientific and practical insights written by experienced herbalists and health experts from the world of herbal medicine and natural health

Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term for various heart problems

Cardiovascular health: An Ayurvedic perspective

Understanding cardiovascular health

Cardiovascular health An Ayurvedic perspective

The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and the blood vessels. Whenever there is an anomaly in these structures and their functioning, it leads to cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term referring to coronary heart disease (CHD, disease of the blood vessels supplying heart tissues), cardiomyopathies (diseases of the heart muscle), peripheral arterial disease, cerebrovascular disease (diseases of blood vessels supplying the brain), rheumatic heart diseases, venous thromboembolism (blockages in the veins) and congenital heart diseases (1). Because every cell in the body requires a reliable flow of oxygen-rich blood to function well, cardiovascular diseases can severely impact systemic health and wellbeing. 

In the tradition of Ayurveda, cardiovascular diseases are referred to as ‘hridaroga.’ In this term, hridya means ‘heart’ and roga means ‘diseases’. Therefore, hridyaroga in Ayurveda are the diseases or conditions related to the heart (7).

The term hridya is also made of two words: ‘hru’ means something which draws blood or fluid from the body and ‘da’ means to donate. In simple words, the blood and the body fluids are circulated throughout the body by the heart. Therefore, it is named hridya. According to Ayurvedic thought, the heart originates predominantly from the maternal component, with rakta (blood) and kapha building a muscular structure. The movement of the heart is governed by the vyana type of vata (vyanavayu). It is assumed the endocardium is made up of rasa (body fluid) and rakta (blood), the myocardium is made from mamsa (muscles) and the pericardium from meda (fat).

Globally, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death, resulting in 17.9 million deaths per year. Of these, heart attack and stroke are the cause for more than 4 in 5. One third of these deaths happen prematurely under the age of 70 (2). An estimate has been reported that by 2030 the above number will rise to 24 million people globally (3). In England, 6.8 million people live with a cardiovascular condition. The NHS is under considerable financial burden as these conditions cost £7.4 billion per year (4).

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the very latest in herbal insights.

Sign up to our newsletter