Herbs for Atrial Fibrillation
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: [No Name Given]
Posted on: May 5, 1998

Please advise what if any herbs that I may purchase from you that would be useful in treating atrial fibrillation and in particular the irregularly irregular heart beat type? Also please advise if you have or can recommend any books on this condition.

Atrial fibrillation is an uncoordinated contraction of the heart’s atrial muscle wall causing the heart’s ventricles to contract irregularly and an irregular pulse. Causes can include an overactive thyroid gland, heart valve disease or disease of the coronary artery. Since atrial fibrillation causes extra strain on the heart, a licensed medical practitioner must be consulted for treatment. We give you the following information for your research.

Herbs available at Richters that are useful in this condition are: Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacanthoides) is a vasodilator, antispasmodic, diuretic heart restorative that lowers blood pressure, acts as a sedative to the nervous system and dissolves cholesterol. It strengthens the heart muscle without increasing the beat.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) has a sedative affect on the Central Nervous System, positively influencing anxiety, palpitations and nervous excitement. Christopher Hobbs "Valerian, The Relaxing and Sleep Herb" (available at Richters) describes its chemistry, actions and uses.

Motherwort (Leonuris cardiaca) is an anti-spasmodic nerve and heart sedative.

Broom (Cytisus scoparius) increases the power of the heart, and slows it down. Rudolf Weiss, MD, in "Herbal Medicine" (Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, Beaconsfield, England) states that one of its constituents, the alkaloid sparteine, acts on the conduction of the heart, slowing down pathologically accelerated stimuli arising in the atrium. "Atrial and ventricular fibrillation disappear". Weiss states that there is little risk of toxicity, but other sources advise against its use in high blood pressure, pregnancy or lactation.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) contains cardiac glycosides, and must only be used under supervision of a practitioner. Its action is to increase the force of the heart and regularize the beat.

I don’t know of any books that discuss this condition specifically. You might consult a local or University library or a good health food store for recommendations.

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