Angina pectoris is caused by an inadequate supply of blood to the heart which impedes the blood flow through a narrowing of the arteries. Angina usually comes on suddenly, causing severe chest pains, often spreading to one or both arms and to the neck, throat, jawbone or back.

Other symptoms of angina(which usually occur after exertion or over-excitement) include nausea, feelings of suffocation or exhaustion. The pains are very frightening but angina does not usually cause permanent damage. The blood supply is never cut off and there is no death of heart tissue, but the condition needs thorough medical investigation and treatment to ensure that the arteries do not continue to narrow.

A Chinese Medicine practitioner would expect angina patients to have had an ECG at an orthodox hospital to find out the extent of damage to the heart and a number of Western drugs are very effective. To help prevent angina attacks, the patient could then take Chinese herbal medicines such as cinnamon twigs, safflower, red sage root, red peony root or macrostem onion bulb. Several herbs help to thin blood down, reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are contributory factors in atherosclerotic heart disease and open the blockage.

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