Chest pain is one of the most common complaints that make people visit the emergency department.
Chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart is known as angina pectoris or simply angina. People describe it as a feeling of tightness, squeezing, heaviness, burning and pressure behind the breastbone.
Other typical angina symptoms are pain in the upper central abdomen, back, neck area, jaw or shoulders as well as nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, sweating and dizziness. Women may experience these symptoms even without the chest pain or with chest discomfort.
Major risk factors for chest pain or angina are cigarette smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle and a family history of heart disease.
Due to similar symptoms, many times angina and heart attacks are mistaken for each other. The difference is that angina pain is usually not as bad as that of a heart attack and does not last longer than 5 to 10 minutes.
More often than not, it comes on during exercise and goes away when you rest. Also, it usually goes away after taking a prescription medicine, such as nitroglycerin. But one must not take angina lightly as it can be a warning sign for a future heart attack.
Angina is usually a symptom of plaque buildup in the arteries to the heart. Chest pain, however, can also be a symptom of a muscle spasm, upper respiratory infection, stomach ulcer, indigestion and bladder diseases.
To treat angina, you may need medication prescribed by a doctor. You can also use some simple home remedies to reduce the blockage in the arteries and thus help reduce the frequency of, or even eliminate, the chest pain.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for chest pain.
Garlic is one of the most effective home remedies for chest pain. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, regular consumption of garlic can prevent and delay cardiovascular disease.
It can lower high cholesterol and prevent plaque buildup on the arterial walls, which in turn improves the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart.
- Add ½ teaspoon of garlic juice to a cup of hot water and drink it.
- As a preventive measure, eat 1 to 2 raw garlic cloves with water every morning on an empty stomach.
Ginger is another proven home remedy for chest pain. Gingerol, a chemical compound in ginger, helps reduce cholesterol levels. Being an antioxidant, it also protects the blood vessels from damage from cholesterol.
- When suffering from chest pain, drink a cup of ginger tea. To make the tea, add 1 tablespoon of grated ginger to a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 5 minutes, then strain it.
- For cardiovascular health, eat a small piece of raw ginger on an empty stomach daily.
Turmeric is also recommended to treat chest pain. Its active ingredient called curcumin helps reduce cholesterol oxidation, plaque buildup and clot formation. Plus, its anti-inflammatory property helps relieve pain in the chest.
- Add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of milk and boil it. Add a little honey and drink it while it is still warm.
- To improve your heart health, include turmeric powder in your regular cooking or take turmeric supplements after consulting a doctor.
4. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper can provide relief from chest pain. It contains a high concentration of capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It also works as a blood regulator to help restore blood flow to the heart.
- Add ½ or 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder to a glass of milk or any fruit juice. Drink it and soon the pain will be gone.
- You can also take cayenne as a supplement after consulting your doctor.
Basil is also a good home remedy for chest pain. The magnesium in basil promotes blood flow by aiding the heart and blood vessels to relax. Plus, the antioxidant vitamin A in basil prevents the buildup of cholesterol in the blood vessel walls.
- During chest pain, chew 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves or drink a cup of basil tea to get relief.
- To prevent chest pain and improve the condition of your heart, take 1 teaspoon of fresh basil juice along with 1 teaspoon of honey daily on an empty stomach.
Alfalfa is effective in reducing chest pain as it helps reduce cholesterol levels and plaque buildup and ensure smooth blood flow toward the heart. It has a good amount of chlorophyll that helps soften arteries and reduce the incidence of cardiac chest pain.
- Drink warm alfalfa tea when you have chest pain. To make the tea, add 1 teaspoon of dried alfalfa leaves to a cup of hot water. Steep for 5 minutes, then strain it.
- You can also take alfalfa supplements daily to reduce the occurrence of chest pain. Consult your doctor first.