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Heart Health for Cis & Transgender Men: Tackling Unhealthy Stereotypes - Issue #42

Weekly newsletter of Ancestral Herbiary
Heart Health for Cis & Transgender Men: Tackling Unhealthy Stereotypes - Issue #42
By Ifayomi Fasola • Issue #42 • View online
As we’ve noticed heart health has always plagued our community, and many of its issues, (outside of genetics) can be prevented. Today, we’re going to talk about some common issues and how to prevent them. 

44% of African American men have some form of heart disease.
44% of African American men have some form of heart disease.
The heart is an organ of receptivity and stress management. It’s the chamber of feelings, both for oneself and others. We have to first look at how some men are emotionally reserved and and why that happens.
Statistically speaking, boys are hugged and held at least 60-80% less than girls, and aren’t given the space to learn about their emotions, which manifest itself in adulthood. Giving and receiving affection through the sensual medium of hugs communicates the feelings of the heart and ultimately nourishes the sensitive muscle. How our heart and emotions act out is a healthy response to life’s stimulations, helping us rid ourselves of the emotional and physical residues of stress.
So basically, if you feel the need to cry, then cry. Feel no judgment by letting yourself go through this human experience at this moment in time. In fact, holding off, or preventing yourself from crying by suppressing your tears can be a contributing factor in hypertension and other complications of the heart. Give yourself, or the men around you permission to cry - allow them the space (in a healthy manner) - and experience their emotions. 
“Being a man about it” is risking your heart health. Here’s a list of things that aid in the vitality of the heart:
  • Put your emotional life in balance
Express your feelings, both positive and the so-called negative ones. All of our feelings are valid indicators of change happening in our life. Begin learning how to identify what those feelings are, and when they arise. 
  • Laugh and play frequently
Enjoy those moments of happiness like you used to. What used to make you laugh? Make you cry? What hobbies are you really excited about? What people are you always excited to see? What do you do for fun? Balance productive, creative work with relaxing, playful frivolity. When was the last time you had spontaneous fun? That you’ve allowed yourself to be free without inhibitions? Playing sharpens the mind and normalizes the blood pressure. Laughter is good all around for our health. It soothes anxiety, uplifts depression, and enriches out relationships. It increases respiratory activity, oxygen exchanges, and muscular activity - it stimulates the appearance of alertness hormones call catecholamines that in turn, trigger the release of endorphines. These agents foster a sense of relaxation and well-being and the dull perception of pain. Catecholamines also enhance blood flow that can speed the healing process and reduce inflammation. 
  • Reject violence
Violence = Stress. It’s the prime generator of negative emotions, particularly hate, rage, depression, and regret. Prolonged negative emotions are harmful, making people more prone to illness, more likely to experience suffering from any existing ailments and less likely to recover as quickly, or at all. 
  • Exercise
Exercise alone may be the most effective method for normalizing blood pressure. Exercise helps keep excess fat pounds off, develops the muscles, and assists the heart by providing rhythmic contractions and relaxation of the skeletal muscles that help circulate blood and lymph. 
  • Eating healthy foods and liquids
Enjoy a health-supporting diet based on a variety of proteins a complex carbohydrates accompanied by fresh fruits and vegetables. Also develop a habit of drinking lots of water, by taking your weight in pounds and dividing by 2, this is the number of ounces your body wants each day. As much as I love tea, other beverages don’t count. Tea, coffee, koolaid, soft drinks, sodas, etc all fall under the category of diuretics, as they ultimately remove water from the body. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), which are part of Omega-3 Fatty acids, are health supportive foods that reduce triglycerides, increase HDL (good cholesterol), regulate heart beat, and make blood likely to form clots - thus improving circulation. Their actions in the body allow cell membranes to remain fluid and flexible. This function permits an easy flow of glucose and nutrients into the cells and the concurrent efficient release of cellular wastes. But because our bodies don’t naturally produce Omega-3’s, we’d have to take fish oil as a supplement which can either be eaten or taken as a pill. 
  • Including the cardiovascular nurturing herbs in your daily diet. 
Herbs that are safe, specific foods for toning and fine-tuning the heart, its nervous system, and the blood vessels include: 
  • Hawthorn Berries and blossoms (cardivascular tonic)
  • Motherwort (calms the heart, reducing palpitations)
  • Ginkgo (peripheral vasodilator)
  • Passionflower (calms anxiety)
  • Yarrow (vascular tonic that can also halt excessive bleeding)
  • Garlic (normalizes blood pressures and rids of bad cholesterol or LDL)
  • Ginger (circulatory stimulant)
  • Cayenne (circulatory stimulant)
Indigestion and gas create pressure on the heart, so anything that aids in digestion and reduces wind will help east the heart. Bitter herbs, especially those bitters that also have relaxing properties, such as Hops, Valerian, Chamomile, and Mugwort. 
Remedies That You Can Create.
Stress-Less Tonic Tea
Yields 1 quart
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons dried elderberries
  • 2 tablespoons dried wild sarsaparilla root
  • 2 tablespoons dried peppermint
This tea offers the grounding strength of yang tonic herbs as well as the nervine protection of the Essential Herbs. It has a robust flavor, so you may want to sweeten it with honey. Triple the quantities given here if you’re using fresh herbs.
Directions:
  1. In a 1-quart glass jar, combine the herbs and roots.
  2. Pour enough boiling water over them to fill the jar, and stir carefully.
  3. Let the tea steep for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then strain.
  4. Sweeten the tea as desired and store it in a thermos; drink 3 to 4 cups daily.
Herbal Treatments: 
  • Ginkgo Bilboa: 40 mg, 3x a day (Benefits normally show in 4-6 weeks)
  • Hawthorn: 100-200 mg a day 
  • Psyllium: 1 teaspoon mixed in 8 oz of water 3 times a day
  • Angelica, Ginger, and Prickly Ash: they stimulate circulation 
  • Motherwort: tincture, 30-60 drops (½-1 tsp) 3-4 times per day
REMEMBER! This is for educational purposes, and does not replace your Doctor’s advice. Please consult with your doctor before changing your regimen.
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Ifayomi Fasola

I’m Iya Ifayomi! She/Her. Onisegun. Herbalist. Isese. Ifa, Egbe, & Olokun priestess. Rootworker. Mvskokxe. 2 headed. Bone Reader 🦴 Venmo:@ifayomifasola

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