Herbal Substitute for Heart Drugs?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Sue
Posted on: June 29, 2005

I really appreciate you offering your help this way. I am writing for a very good friend who has no computer. He is 57 years old, and last June underwent surgery for a cardiac (left atrial) myxoma, which is a tumorous growth. The growth was removed successfully. However since the surgery Stanley has been struggling with high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation, which he never had before the surgery. He went the medical route for a year, taking multiple blood pressure meds that were not effective and taking amnioderone to keep his heart in rhythm. He had three cardiac conversions in that time, while religously taking the prescibed meds. Last month Stan decided he was tired of the medication route and the various side effects he was suffering, so he took matters into his own hands and began to wean off the meds himself. He informed the docs, who told him his heart might go out of rhythm again, but that discontinuing was not life threatening. He has been extremely careful with diet, eating mostly organic foods, avoiding salt, eating lots of raw veggies and fruit, oatmeal and flax seeds for breakfast, salmon and white fish for protein -- a really good diet. He also began taking supplements -- magnesium, hawthorn, green vitamins, vit E, C, A and B-complex, kyolic, flax oil, drinking herbal teas for cleansing and relaxation. He has also been using essential oils that are supposed to help with heart rhythm and blood pressure. He was beginning to feel better when 6 days ago his heart went out of rhythm again and he had to have another conversion, at which time them pumped him full of IV drugs again. They told him to go back on the amnioderone but it is such a dangerous drug that he was afraid to do so, and continued with his diet and supplement routine. I found a site on line that has chinese herbs and ordered for him Motherwort, Eyebright -X Chi which contains prunella, chrysanthemum, cassia seed, morus, gou teng, sea ear shell, lycii, and tribulus powder because the amnidoerone was beginning to blur his vision (irreversible vision loss is one of the side effects of the drug, together with death and liver damage and possible worsening of rhythm problems). We also ordered Cardiac Aid Chi to help with the rhythm which contains tien chi, rehmannia, prince ginseng, gynostemma, dong quai, dan shen, Chinese licorice, curcuma, jujube, ligusticum tree peony powder. And we ordered Eucommia for the blood pressure issue, and K-tonic chi for his kidneys and liver which contains ho shou wu, schisandra, trigonella seed, psoralea, teasel, cuscuta, and eucommia powder. We have not yet received these products. We expect them to arrive in about 3 days. Then yesterday, only 5 days after the last conversion, his heart went out of rhythm again and had to be converted again, and they sedated the tar out him. So he’s had two conversion in five days -- and he went back on the amnioderone at a pretty hefty dose to try and stabilize again. He really doesn’t want to take the medication -- he doesn’t want to risk blindness and liver damage and lung scarring; he considers it a slow death. Do you know if it would be safe for him to take the herbs we have ordered at the same time as he takes the amnioderone? He would really like to wean off again as soon as he can, but is afraid again of how much damage being shocked on a frequent basis might do to him if he continues to go out of rhythm as easily as he has in the past week, and would like to get the herbs in his system before discontinuing the amnioderone. The docs haven’t told him to go back on any other drug, so this is the only one that is of concern right now. We are not asking you to give direct medical advice and would not hold you responsible for sharing the knowledge you have if he continues to run into difficulties, but he can’t find anyone here who will talk to him about it. We are winging it based on what information we can find on the net.

In serious health problems such as these, I have to advise you to follow the doctor’s instuctions and inform your doctor of all supplements being taken. The only alternatives are to consult with another specialist, or to find a doctor who is aware of natural treatments, and is able to integrate them with conventional drugs.

I recommend that you consult with a natural practitioner who will work to support your friend in the areas of concern. A natural practitioner such as a herbalist of naturopath may recommend herbs to support your friend’s heart, blood circulation, the lungs and the liver. The practitioner will do a full health assessment, and recommend only herbs that are safe in your friend’s condition and with the drugs advised by his doctor. By moral code, we are not allowed to advise patients to stop taking prescribed drugs, but the herbs recommended may help to bring your friend’s body systems into balance. A full consultation is necessary to determine all of the underlying factors.

You can find a qualified natural practitioner in your area by contacting the resources listed on our website, www.richters.com. Choose "Q&A" from the main menu, then enter "herbalist" for the search. The item "Finding a Herbalist" lists organizations of qualified herbalists and naturopaths.

We saw the letter you posted from Gerald on May 28, 2004. If there is a way you know how to still contact Gerald and would be willing to send him my e-mail so we can try to learn from each other, we would deeply appreciate that as well. I love Stan. I don’t want bad things to happen to him. Can you give us any advice? Thanks very much.

Privacy laws prevent us from giving out another questioner’s contact info. Sorry.

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