Arteriosclerosis refers to the thickening of the walls of the arteries. It has become a common ailment in modern times, accounting for much of the disability and high death rate, more so among older people.
Arteriosclerosis is usually preceded by atherosclerosis, a kind of fatty infiltration in the inner lining of the blood vessel walls. The most risky places for such degeneration are the coronary vessels of the heart and the arteries of the brain. Arteriosclerosis results in the loss of elasticity of the blood vessels and a narrowing of the smaller arteries, which interferes with the free circulation of the blood.
Causes and Symptoms
The symptoms of arteriosclerosis vary according to the arteries involved. Signs of inadequate blood supply generally appear first the legs. There may be numbness and coldness in the feet, and cramps and pains in the legs even after light exercise. If the coronary arteries are involved, the patient may have sharp pains, characteristic of angina pectoris. When arteries leading to the brain involved, the vessel may burst, causing haemorrhage in the brain tissues. A cerebral vascular stroke, with partial or complete paralysis on one side of the body, may result if there is blockage with a blood clot. It may also lead to loss of memory and a confused state of mind in elderly people. If arteries leading to the kidneys are involved, the patient may suffer from high blood pressure and kidney disorders.
The most important causes of arteriosclerosis are lack of physical exercise, excessive intake of white sugar, refined foods, and a high fat diet rich in cholesterol. Hardening of the arteries may also be caused by other diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Emotional stress plays an important part, and heart attacks are more common during periods of mental and emotional disturbances, particularly in those engaged in sedentary occupations. Heredity also plays its role and this disease runs in families.
It is imperative that a patient has his condition diagnosed by a physician and resorts to remedies only in consultation with him.
Lemon: One of the most effective home remedies for arteriosclerosis is the lemon peel. It is believed to be one of the richest sources of vitamin P. It strengthens the entire arterial system. Shredded lemon peel of one lemon may be added to soups and stews, or sprinkled over salads. To make a medicine, the peel of one or two lemons may be cut up finely, covered with warm water and allowed to stand for about twelve hours. A teaspoon may be taken every three hours, or immediately before or after a meal.
Parsley: Parsley is another effective remedy for arteriosclerosis. It contains elements which help to maintain the blood vessels, particularly the capillaries, and arterial system in a healthy condition. It may be taken as a tea: a teaspoon of dry parsley may be allowed to simmer gently in a cupful of water for a few minutes. This can be taken two to three times daily.
Vegetable Juices: Beet juice, taken daily, has been found valuable in arteriosclerosis. It is an excellent solvent for inorganic calcium deposits. The juices of carrots and spinach are also beneficial if taken once a day. These juices can be taken individually—500 ml, or as a combination. When taken as a combination, they should be in the following proportion: carrots—300 ml and spinach-200 ml to prepare 500 ml of juice.
Honey: Honey is also considered beneficial in the treatment of arteriosclerosis. It is easily digested and assimilated. The patient should take a glass of water with one teaspoon each of honey and lemon juice in it, before going to bed. He can also take it if he wakes up at night.
Ishabgul: The herb ishabgul, botanically known as Planiago- ovata, has been found valuable in arteriosclerosis. The oil of the seeds of this plant should be used. It contains fifty per cent of linoleic acid, an unsaturated fat, and is, therefore, helpful in the prevention and treatment of this disease.
Garlic and Onions: Recent investigations have shown that garlic and onions have a preventive effect on the development of arteriosclerosis. They should be included in the daily diet either raw or cooked, according to individual taste.
To begin with, the patient should resort to a juice fast for five to seven days. Fresh, raw vegetables and juices of seasonal fruits may be taken three times a day. After the juice fast, the patient should take a diet consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits, with emphasis on raw foods. Further short fasts of juices may be undertaken at intervals of three months or so, depending on the progress being made.
The patient should take several small meals instead of a few large ones. He should avoid all hydrogenated fats and an excess of saturated fats, such as butter, cream, ghee, and animal fat.
Vegetable oils, particularly safllower oil, flax seed oil, and olive oil, should be used as a cooking medium. He should also avoid meat salt and all refined and processed foods, condiments, sauces, pickles, strong tea, coffee, white sugar, white flour, and all products made from them.
During the juice fast undertaken for the first five to seven days, a warm-water enema should be used daily to cleanse the bowels.