Herbs to boost post-surgery recovery
Q: What can I do to boost my recovery after surgery?
Dr. Wright: My colleague Kerry Bone is very knowledgeable in the field of herbal medicine. Here is his advice:
Immune support is one of the key aspects of improving healing. Major surgery also suppresses natural killer (NK) cell activity. These two factors make Echinacea root the ideal herb to use post-surgically, given what we now know about its ability to boost innate immunity and NK cell production and activity. I recommend between 2.5 and 5 g of good quality Echinacea root per day, depending on the severity of the surgery and the risk of infection.
But equally important is the use of herbs that promote blood flow to and connective tissue production in areas that have been operated on. Grape seed extract has a number of actions related to healing, including the support of connective tissue by protecting collagen and elastin. And in clinical trials, grape seed extract has been shown to support microcirculation and improve capillary resistance. It also improves venous function, reducing edema (swelling) and improving venous tone, which helps reduce the risk of post-surgical deep vein thrombosis (DVT). I recommend around 100 to 150 mg of grape seed extract per day.
There is also clinical evidence that suggests Ginkgo biloba leaf extract helps improve microcirculation. It combines well with grape seed extract, so I typically recommend 100 to 150 mg per day of a 50:1 leaf extract.