Last Modified on Mar 01, 2014
What Causes Poor Circulation?
Poor leg circulation, or peripheral artery disease (PAD), occurs as arteries narrow and reduce blood flow to limbs of your body. As a result, your blood cannot keep up with the demands of your body and can cause pain (usually in the legs). Bad circulation is a result of fatty deposits accumulating in the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can also reduce blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. Smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise are common causes of poor circulation.
Poor circulation symptoms include leg pain while walking, cramping in arms or legs after activity, cold feet, calf pain, leg numbness or weakness, hair loss or slow hair growth on legs, sores on feet or legs that won't heal, slow toenail growth, and erectile dysfunction in men.
Natural Remedies for Peripheral Artery Disease
On this page you can find a number of user submitted home and natural remedies for poor circulation. Some of our suggested cures are apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses, cayenne pepper, and coconut oil. Let us know what you try from Earth Clinic to treat poor circulation. Know of a remedy not listed here yet? Please don't hesitate to share your story with us!
Apple Cider Vinegar
[YEA] 03/25/2009: Rachael from Bemidji, Mn.: "I found this site looking for help for my husbands high blood pressure. I am so glad that I did! His blood pressure has dropped 40 pts. in 5 days by using Apple Cider Vinegar remedy on this site. He drinks 2 tbsp. in 8 oz. of water 2 times a day before meals.
I was drinking it with him as well as he didn't enjoy the taste and I wanted to share in his misery..lol
I have suffered from cold hands and feet and a cold backside for many years. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroid over 10 years ago. Since drinking the ACV my feet and backside are burning hot! I can't remember the last time I had warm feet or a warm bum...My face even has a warm rosy glow!! This is amazing! Not only has this helped my circulation come back but I am finding that my fibromyalgia aches are going away. I am so excited! It is a double miracle. I am so glad I decided to "suffer" with him in drinking this nature's cure!! Thank you for your website. I wonder how many lives are being saved by this wonderful information. God bless you."
10/15/2011: Abby from Mentor, Ohio replies: "Love it!! To the point, articulate, and interesting. Thanks"
[YEA] 09/20/2008: Jodi from La Quinta, CA: "Edema, Poor Circulation:
I recently was told by my Naturopath to begin 1Tbsp of ACV before every meal. One of my health complaints has been very swollen ankles ( even legs sometimes) and cold pale feet. It has been a week and among other things, my ankles are very skinny, my feet now have color again and my overall circulation has improved. I also have dropped 5 pounds- but I'm also following the Elmination Diet to identify allergies so I can't completely credit that to the ACV. My whole body seems to have been de-bloated. I notice that after drinking the ACV my appetite wanes, so I do eat less and can definitely feel my food digesting.
One way to know if you are digesting food properly or not is to check your stools. Do you recognize your meals? If you can identify what's there- you are not digesting your food.
I'm thrilled with the results so far and am anxious to see what else happens from my new dosing."
[YEA] 03/16/2008: Norman L. from Abbotsford, BC: "I had serious swelling of ankles ,feet & legs. And all doctors could suggest is poor ciculation and one way valves in leg not working properly and would have to wear pressure socks for the rest of my life but I was not willing for this and kept earching and tryinng all sorts of natural things but when finally I went back to black strap molasses which I used to take for nose bleeding & cured that and after some time of use I ran out of it & forgot to replace it and got swlling problems but never connected it to molasses but after 2 yrs for some reason tried molasses again and after some time I noticed something , less swelling to happen and gradually dissapearednd not even swelled during the day anymore and so must be the molasses that played a part in circulation for me in my legs and so will continue taking it for this is a much better cure than wearing pressure socks whch did not go to fix the problem anyways. Thank You, Norm from Abbotsford BC"Replies
[YEA] 03/17/2008: Maureen from Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada replies: "Thank you Norman L. from Abbotsford, BC for taking the time to write about the benefits blackstrap molasses has had for you. I have NEVER heard of anything that helps swollen ankles and your e-mail has given me hope. I have just started using it for other reasons and now hope I get the same results you got. I must say I try so many things that I would not know what worked if something did work! I will pass on something that I discovered last week. I used the remainder of blackstrap molasses I have had for years and bought new organic unsulfured blackstrap molassas last week. There was some that I could not get out of the bottle so rather than waste it I decided to add shampoo and water to the bottle and wash my hair with it to see if it would help my gray hair. Well it did not, no surprise there, but it did clean my scalp (from itch) about 90% for most of the day. It worked just as good as apple cider vinegar does for me without the smell.
Thank you Earth Clinic for a fantastic site and also to Ted and Bill for your valuable input."
10/10/2010: Robert from Rokeby, Sk, Canada replies: "Hi Norman: I know it's been some time since your post, but I'm hoping you're still out there and can tell me what your current results are in using the BSM for leg-swelling. I, too, have been informed by my Dr. that the valves in my leg veins no longer work. I've been advised to keep my leg elevated as much as I can."
02/16/2012: Wes from Niagara, Ontario Canada replies: "How much do you take per day? Very interested. I suffer from leg pain and poor venous flow constantly!!"
[YEA] 03/01/2014: Phoebeanne from Indiana replies: "I believe that the proper dosage for the blackstrap molasses is one tablespoon in the morning and in the evening. I had constant swelling of the left ankle and it has completely disappeared since using the blackstrap molasses on a daily basis."
Cayenne in Socks - Diabetics Beware
[YEA] 02/01/2013: Neva from Glendale, Az: "A really old remedy from our family is to actually soak whatever body part is giving you grief in cayenne and hot water for 15 minutes. So feet which in turn move up to legs with circulation the effects aren't instantaneous but you can definately feel the difference after one soak. Just use as much as you like either less or more it's always to your preference."
[YEA] 01/20/2008: John from Panama City, FL: "Someone offered this advice to hunters (and anyone else looking to keep their feet warm): sprinkle cayenne in your socks. It DOES work. However, DIABETICS BE WARNED: you should be careful using any topical treatment which provides heat, be it medicinal or homeopathic (this includes cayenne, IcyHot or similar items, electric heating pads, etc.). Because diabetics often suffer from poor circulation and skin issues, using such items can produce burning, and since diabetics often do not heal as quickly, this can become a serious medical issue."
[YEA] 07/06/2007: Deloris from Covington, GA: "My husband suffers from cold hands and feet, but since he's using the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil(Organic) he has not had any problems since. I use it on my hair and it makes it look healthier and stronger than it has in years."Replies
02/06/2009: Bilja from Toronto, On, Canada replies: "Hi, does he use it internally, or putting as cream on feet and hands? Thanks"
03/30/2011: Ghii from Lang Ka, Negros, Philippines replies: "It sounds like you benefited from the thyroid boosting benefits... You may want to suplement your iodine to keep the benefits permanent.... But I would never give up the coconut oil, its just great stuff..... (you can replace most any oil you use internally or externally with coconut oil and you will get benefits.)"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 04/05/2010: Anonymous from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA: "Chamomile Catnip Basil and Yogurt help legs
Make a strong tea of 1 tablespoon each of Chamomile, Catnip, and Basil. Cover it and let it steep for 10 minutes or so. Try eating a cup of yogurt with it, or taking some calcium supplement. Try adding a heaping teaspoon of turmeric."
[YEA] 01/29/2007: Maureen from Buffalo Grove, IL: "I've suffered with poor circulation of the legs for a few years now. Standing for short periods of time left my legs feeling tired and achy. My legs had a heavy feeling when walking, too. Worse, any pressure applied to my ankle area resulted in pain. My doctor put his hands around them to see if I was retaining fluid and I could have cried from the pain. After doing research online, I started taking 900 mgs of horse chestnut and 350 mgs of pycnogenol each day. It's been only four weeks, but the difference has been amazing. My legs feel lighter, no more pain near the ankles, no more fatigue when standing for long periods. There have been medical studies on this, which is why I decided to try it myself. I highly recommend taking these supplements at these doses each day for improved circulation of the legs."Replies
[YEA] 04/05/2010: Anonymous from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Usa replies: "Try taking a calcium supplement with it, or eat a cup of plain yogurt. When I add the yogurt my legs and feet feel nice and warm, which they NEVER otherwise do."
Raise Your Feet
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 04/05/2010: Anonymous from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Usa: "If your legs/feet get really bad and you can't do anything immediately to heal them, lay on the floor on your stomach and put your feet against the wall or a chair so your lower legs are vertical. Or lay on your back and lay your calves across the seat of a chair so your thighs are vertical. Raising your legs above your body is the idea. The extra blood will drain easier."
[YEA] 04/04/2011: Cb from Irvine, Ca: "I am juicing a bunch of spinach each morning and drinking it - my circulation problems in my feet have disappeared. Please try this."
05/25/2006: Martin from Brunswick, OH: "I want a cure for a feeling of.... numbness, tiredness, heaviness, like a loss of full circulation or something of the sort that i feel in my legs at times. Maybe it's always there but i've gotten used to it that i don't even really notice it, unless i notice it. what i mean to say is that it's not hindering at the least for i ride my bike for hours at top speeds. but the sort of feeling of lack is there and i'm not sure what it is. can you give some feedback on my inquiry?"
Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "Circulation problems of the leg and tiredness could be an electrolyte and buffer problems, along with the lost of certain vitamins as a result of excessive. Common electrolytes loss are sodium chloride (sea salt is best), potassium and magnesium. Take plenty of vitamin B complex and vitamin E, to reduce the cells need for oxygen. The body needs much more antioxidant than you need during an exercise.
The lactic acid buildup will be a problem and while some sports medicine says it is good, that the body can convert lactic to glycogen to further the energy requirements, my background in biochemist do not see it as helpful, since the liver is an imperfect factory that does not necessarily convert all of it and this create problems.
So in sports medicine, lactate buildup is really a no-no during training as lactate tends to destroy cells and mitochrondria reducing your energy output anyway. In fact doing this during training will almost guarantee that your athlete will loose the competition anyway. Since lactic acid buildup will kill an awful lot of cells and mitochrondia before the competition. Lactic acid will simply drain any energy. I don't know why these P.E. Teachers do that to students, unless of course they don't know what they are doing. Therefore the best solution is to use soda loading. Most athletes know soda loading by using sodium bicarbonate. That is actually an inferior form.
The use of citric acid + sodium bicarbonate (sodium citrate) is a preferred form. You can add potassium bicarbonate at 1/10 of the sodium bicabonate to get an ideal soda loading and some magnesium chloride (at 1/20 of sodium bicarbonate) should eliminate most of the problems.
Now taking vitamin B complex will help with the circulation, removal so of some fatty buildup that might block circulation can be helped with granulated lecithin taken everyday. If the problems persist than EDTA will be the way to go, but it takes a while longer. I prefer sodium EDTA orally (only small amounts) at less than 500 mg is the safe amount. This should help somewhat but it takes about 3 months to notice the full effect on your athletic performance after daily taking it."
02/16/2012: Wes from Niagara, Ontario Canada replies: "What is EDTA? Where how much bicarbonate soda to you get or use? Not sure about what your ratios mean..."
05/08/2012: Anonymous from Miami, Florida replies: "EDTA is Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid."