February has been designated American Heart Month. For many years, heart disease was considered to be a mostly male affliction. In order to compensate for, and correct, that misconception, the first Friday in the month of February has become National Wear Red Day, to bring awareness of the fact that heart disease has unfortunately become a major killer of women as well.

In honor of American Heart Month, and because caring for one’s health is part of the mitzvot of u’sh’martem me’od l’naf’sho’tay’chem and hatzalat n’fashoat (guarding and saving a life), Jewish Treats presents some interesting homeopathic remedies for the heart recommended in the Talmud: “Rabbi Hisda said: A beet broth (i.e. borscht) is beneficial for the heart and good for the eyes, and needless to say for the bowels. Said Abaye: This is only if it is left on the stove till it goes tuk, tuk (boils)” (Brachot 39a).

“Our Rabbis taught: Asparagus brew is good for the heart and good for the eyes, and, needless to say, for the bowels…But, if one gets drunk on it, it is bad for the entire body. Since it is stated that it is good for the heart, we infer that we are dealing with a brew of [asparagus] wine” (Brachot 51a).

“Abaye further stated: My nurse told me: If a man suffers from weakness of the heart…let him fetch some willow twigs, and let him roast them, eat them and, after that, drink some diluted wine” (Eiruvin 29b).

It is most intriguing that some contemporary research supports the use of beets and asparagus in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment. Additionally, those who study natural remedies believe that willow bark acts in a similar manner to aspirin, often recommended for cardiovascular patients.

This Treat was originally posted on February 3, 2012.

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