Herbs for Atrial Fibrillation?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Gerald
Posted on: May 28, 2004

I am 60 years old. I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation 19 years ago. After being on various meds and having several cardio conversions, it was determined by the doctors that I would always be in atrial fib. I was on a couple of meds for several years to keep my heart from going to fast. 2 years ago I started on all raw foods and was able to come off the meds. However, after 7 or 8 months I began to cheat and eventually got ate more and more cooked foods. While eating cook foods my heart would begin to beat fast again. Remember it is always irregular. After a trip a couple of months ago to the west coast, I really pigged out and gained 12 pounds. Upon returning I could not get my heart back under control with the raw foods. After a couple of days I went to the doctor. My heart beat was 180. After getting all of that calmed down and after many tests, it was determined that I had a weak and enlarged heart..of course still the atrial fib. If you are familiar with heart strength, I had a 25% ejection fraction with 55% being normal. I was put on 3 medications. At the time I weighted 255 pounds and I am 6’1" tall.

Seven years ago I overcame a Gleason 9 prostate cancer, the worst one can have, with natural means..no surgery, drugs or medication. I have no cancer now. I am a deep believer in the body’s ability to heal itself if it is cared for properly. After coming home and starting the meds that were prescribed, I found myself depressed. I did not want to go the med route. I wanted to stay on the meds, get healthy, then wean myself off. I found myself saying "no." There was no anger. Just no. I called me wife and said I was prepared to start a fast. I did the Master Cleanse for 13 days and a juice fast for the next 3 days. Since coming off the fast, I have stayed on raw fruit, vegetables, a few nuts and seeds, sprouts and juices. I am walking a lot, doing yoga, jumping on a re-bounder, etc. I have lost 31 pounds. I am walking up steep hills quite easily. My heart rate is staying in the 60’s a good bit of the time but still going to 70’, 80’s and once in a while the low 90’s. The doctor wants it in the 60’s and said I could not get it there without meds. Well I am getting it there.

I am perceiving myself as on a long term detox program. I want my heart to go back to normal rhythm, regain it’s strength and return to normal size. I know of no one who has done this naturally so I have not found a mentor. I want to incorporate natural herbs and wild plants that will help me on this journey. I am open to ideas. I have read a lot and am trying to take it all one day at a time.

I take full responsibility for all my decisions regardless of who suggest what. Any assistance you can give me would be mostly appreciated.

It sounds as though you have done extremely well in taking responsibility for your health. Some herbs that you can investigate for your continuing health include:

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacanthoides) berries or blossoms. Hawthorn strengthens the blood vessels around the heart, and is specifically recommended for strengthening the heart in atrial fibrillation.

Motherwort (Leonuris cardiaca) is a heart tonic that is antispasmodic and a nerve and heart sedative.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is one of the best herbal nervous system relaxants

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is antispasmodic, dilates the blood vessels to promote blood flow and is a mild sedative.

Linden flower (Tilia cordata)is antispasmodic, anticoagulant and a nervous system relaxant.

Garlic helps to keep the blood vessels free of cholesterol, is antibiotic, antiviral and anti-parasitic. With a weak heart, it is especially important to keep it free of infection.

Personally, I am not in favour of a diet that does not include complete proteins that are available from meat, fish or a legume-grain combination. There is evidence that oily fish, included in the diet 2 to 3 times a week, is of benefit in strengthening the heart and blood circulation. We only require small amounts of good quality protein in our diets. If a very small amount of fish can be included in your diet without causing your heart to race, you may find this beneficial. Fish oils help to prevent the build up of plaque in the arteries. Other foods that contain high amounts of the beneficial omega-3 oils are freshly ground flax seeds, and the herb purslane, which grows wild and abundantly in manured farmers fields.

I recommend that you look for an experienced natural practitioner for more information on your personal needs. Please see our web site at www.richters.com for information on how to find a well qualified herbalist or naturopath. Choose "Q&A" from the main menu, then enter the word "herbalist" for the search.

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