Stroke Recovery

As I write this it has been over six years since my strokes in 2012. I still have a few residual effects, but I am thankful every day that it wasn’t much worse. My recovery process has taken me through the gamut of options available from a modern pharmaceutical approach to a natural plan combining ancient wisdom with current science.

I want to share what I’ve learned and what has worked for me so I can hopefully help someone else with their recovery journey. Here is a list of my what, why, where and when.

Physical Healing

Blood Thinners

One recommendation by my neurologist was to start taking low dose aspirin every day. This is to be an ongoing treatment for the rest of my lifetime as my stroke was the result of a clot in my left vertebral artery. Here are my natural blood thinning alternatives.

Ningxia Wolfberry

Ningxia Wolfberry contains significant levels of vitamin B3 which have been shown to thin blood, and even protect neurons from injury and degeneration after stroke. Food is the ideal source to receive B3 vitamins and this super-food is also rich in soluble fiber, which is highly efficient in removing triglycerides and cholesterol from the blood. Finally, ningxia wolfberry contains Vitamin E which has been linked with reducing the likelihood of developing blood clots in the body.

Ningxia Wolfberries

I get my Ningxia wolfberries in a juice supplement called NingXia Red (which also contains cherries, a natural blood thinner) and from Sulfurzyme Powder. I mix these together in water with lime essential oil daily.


It works on platelets to prevent clots from forming. I add this powder to almost everything I cook with meat or veggies.


Contains salicylate, an acid found in many plants that can keep blood from clotting. I add a slice of fresh ginger to hot water for my morning “tea” which also includes a slice of fresh lime, 15 drops of chlorophyll and half a dropper of black cohosh.

Essential Oils – Medical Properties

Disclaimer: Not all essential oils are bottled the same way. Many brands contain only a small percentage of actual essential oils and can have added synthetic fragrance, so they are not safe to use as I describe here. I have studied and trust Young Living’s process to create pure essential oils for medicinal use.


Anticoagulant, circulatory stimulant and muscle relaxing. I add a drop or two to my morning bulletproof / body-kind coffee.


Vascular system support. I add a drop to my home brewed kombucha.


Improves circulation. I rub this on my chest or diffuse.


Anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory. I add this to my coffee along with the nutmeg, or diffuse it.



Anticoagulant, vascodilator, reduces blood pressure. Since this is also a great oil to fight inflammation and pain I will rub it directly on my neck and shoulders when I’m tense, or over my sacrum to reduce sacroiliac pain.


Anticoagulant and circulatory stimulant. I take a spoonful of coconut oil with a drop of orange essential oil immediately when I get out of bed each morning. The coconut oil melts in my mouth and I swish it around for at least 5 minutes before spitting it into the trash. This is called “oil pulling” and part of a daily Ayurvedic routine.

Exercise Daily


I like to walk at least 30 minutes. I love taking my dog Snickers with me. It makes him so happy and that makes me so happy! Get outside if you can, and away from the city – even better!


Ideally I will do at least 60 minutes daily, but any yoga is better than no yoga! This piece is so important to me that I have taken yoga teacher training to become certified and teach others it’s healing benefits. I have blogged about that too in Finding Yoga and My Natural Wellness Journey.

Cognitive Healing


At this exact moment I am in the middle of 10 scrabble games on the app Words with Friends 2. This is largely due to the fact that my children will play it with me, but I also believe it helps flex my cognitive muscles. I try to make at least one move on all 10 games each day.

Emotional Healing & Stress Management


It is so important to take time everyday to just stop for a moment and keep our stress in check. My favorite saying about it is: meditation – it’s not what you think. We don’t have to empty our minds to meditate. I like to use a mantra, soft music or guided meditation on an app like InsightTimer. Apply a favorite essential oil, find a quite place, and reset your brain for a moment.

Essential Oils – Fragrant Influence

See Disclaimer under Essential Oils – Medical Properties above.


Fights depression and can induce relaxation. This is a great one for the diffuser.


Helps heal emotional trauma, calms, and soothes anger. Rub a drop into your palms and make a scent tent with your palms over your nose. Then you can rub the oil over your chest or belly.

Lemon and Orange

Uplifting and antidepressant, induces relaxation and reduces depression. I use these a lot in my diffuser or added to my drinking water.


Helps with attention, performance and focus. This is great mixed with Lemon in the diffuser or applied to the back of my neck.


Psychologically grounding, calming, and stabilizing. It helps us cope with stress and recover from emotional trauma. This is a favorite of mine for meditation. I also apply it at bedtime to my chest and inside my elbows.


Stimulates the limbic region of the brain (the center of emotions), stimulates the pineal gland, which releases melatonin. I use it with lemon in the diffuser to help me focus and with Vetiver as part of my bedtime routine.


Over the years I have heard from many of you recovering from stroke and other brain injuries. Your stories inspire me and remind me we are not alone in our journey. Please share about your recovery in the comment area below, or message me on my Facebook page here!

Further Reading:

Niaspan treatment induces neuroprotection after stroke –

Vitamins That Thin the Blood by –

5 Natural Blood Thinners –

Essential Oils Desk Reference, Seventh Edition. (2016). United States of America: Life Science Publishing.

About Renée Winn

I am a writer, business owner, and mother. Writing is how I share what I have learned over the past 40+ years and what is important to me as I live and thrive through health issues and the balance of personal life and a career. I live North of Seattle in the Puget Sound area, arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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