How to Use Herbs If You Have Atrial Fibrillation
Herbs can promote heart health and may be used in a variety of ways to obtain a broad spectrum of benefits. They can may be used to slow or stimulate the heart rate, serve as heart and blood vessel tonics, relieve chest pain, and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Please note: You should check with your cardiologist prior to using herbal therapies, as some herbs may interact with cardiac medications.
How to Get Started
- Know you won’t be giving up your prescription medications (not right away anyway). It would be unwise to think herbs are going to substitute for the medications. This would be like thinking that just because you have new orthopedic boots you don’t need your wheelchair anymore.
- You’ll have to determine what herbs to take and how much. This is best accomplished by seeing a professional herbalist. It's a good idea to look from a herbalist with the most extensive training; you want an herbalist who has gone through an official herbal school.
- Lastly, you have to take the herbs as recommended by the herbalist. Keep records of how you are feeling each day. You’ll start to see changes very soon.
Some common herbs for atrial fibrillation treatment are as follows:
Astragalus is an herb which promotes a regular heart rhythm. Some irregular heart rhythms are caused by a viral infection; astragalus destroys the coxsackie virus, which is the organism that often infects the heart and causes the irregular rhythm. The herb improves cardiac output and strengthens the heart.
2. Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms have been used medicinally for thousands of years. In ancient China, reishi was highly valued, and reserved for use by emperors. These mushrooms can help your heart beat in a regular pattern.
Reishi improves the cellular metabolism of your heart, which allows your entire heart to function optimally. Science confirms that reishi reduces episodes of palpitations and shortness of breath, as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Pseudo-ginseng is also known as sanchi-ginseng or by its scientific name, panax noto ginseng. It can normalize your heart rhythm and lower your blood pressure.
Pseudo-ginseng relieves fatigue and anxiety levels, and can improve the circulation throughout your body. Unfortunately it is relatively expensive and can be hard to find.
Do not use confuse pseudo ginseng with other types of ginseng, as the actions are not the same. Some types of ginseng may worsen atrial fibrillation and other cardiac conditions.
Motherwort is one of my favorite herbs for promoting heart health. Its scientific name, leonurus cardiaca, indicates the herb’s history as a remedy for heart problems.
Motherwort is a superior relaxant. It does not cause drowsiness, but may make you feel less tense. It relaxes all of the muscles of the body, including the heart. Motherwort can reduce your pulse rate, as it strengthens your heart. Combine it with the herb valerian if you experience atrial fibrillation or other types of fast heart rhythms due to anxiety.
Chicory is another valuable weed. The entire plant may be used medicinally; however the most commonly employed part is the root. The root is used as a coffee substitute when roasted.
Young chicory shoots and leaves may be added to salads and eaten as bitter greens. Chicory has actions similar to the drug digitalis, but is much milder in its effects. Chicory slows the pulse rate, as it improves the heart’s ability to contract forcefully.
Gingko has similar but milder actions as the cardiac medications metoprolol and diltiazem. The herb can improve blood flow throughout your body — including the coronary arteries.
The herb reduces the oxygen demands of the heart muscle, which may reduce shortness of breath. Gingko may be safely used as an aspirin substitute if you want to lower your risk of stroke, but cannot take aspirin. It serves as an excellent tonic for the heart. Research proves that gingko’s antioxidant effects protect the heart.
Do not use hawthorn without professional supervision if you take digoxin or lanoxin as it may increase the effects of the medications. Your blood pressure may fall and the force of the contraction of your heart may increase too much.
Hawthorn has amazing effects on balancing blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too low, small amounts of hawthorn may increase it to a normal range. However, if you have high blood pressure, the same herb has the ability to lower your blood pressure when taken in larger amounts.
It is truly one of nature’s wonders. Hawthorn works with your body to provide what your body needs — no pharmaceutical drug has that ability.
Usually the berries are employed by herbalists, however the flowers and leaves are useful too. It is safe for long-term use.
Garlic is a healthy herb for your entire body. It is particularly useful if you have a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, as you have an increased risk of blood clot formation and stroke.
Garlic is a blood thinner, so if you take an anticoagulant medication, check with your health care provider prior to implementing it, except as a food. In addition to preventing blood clot formation, garlic lowers blood pressure, as well as unhealthy LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels — while increasing healthy HDL cholesterol levels.
Garlic prevents hardening of the arteries and improves the flexibility of your blood vessels. The herb is rich in healthy antioxidants. Garlic may relieve discomfort in your legs that is caused by poor circulation.
Ginger has been employed as food and medicine for thousands of years. It is beneficial to your entire body and tastes great.
The herb is a superior tonic for your heart. Warming ginger prevents blood clots from forming and supports the circulation throughout your entire body.
Ginger exerts positive effects on the heart and blood vessels —f you suffer from leg cramps, cold hands and feet, due to poor circulation, ginger may provide relief. It may also relieve feelings of dizziness and vertigo, which may occur in the presence of atrial fibrillation and other conditions.
Ginger helps to maintain and restore the proper electrolyte balance within your heart. This is important for preventing arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation. Ginger does this by improving your heart’s ability to utilize calcium from your blood stream.
Check with your doctor if you desire to use ginger medicinally and you are taking blood thinners, or have gallbladder disease.