Palpitations & Arrhythmias

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Finding a good herbalist

Much of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here

What can help

There are many cross-overs in the understanding and approach to both palpitations and arrhythmias. Palpitations are an unpleasantly obvious sensation of the heart's beating. Arrhythmias are an unpleasantly obvious irregularity to the normal rhythm of the heartbeat.

For most people, both palpitations and arrhythmias have been seen to respond very well to several key herbs along with a certain approach as described below.


Hawthorn should be, without hesitation, at the top of the list for what must be tried to help a person with chronic palpitations or arrhythmias. This is because it is a verified fact that Hawthorn strengthens the heart muscle and improves blood flow through the heart.

Hawthorn is a true ''friend' to the heart. If taken patiently and consistently, it has been seen to be exceptionally helpful to a great many people, including those who suffer from palpitations or arrhythmias, learn more about it here

Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn)



Whilst Hawthorn is the great tonic for the heart, it is also undeniably a slow-acting remedy so, if we need to find a way to provide some faster relief when the palpitations or arrhythmias are causing acute disturbances, the best medicine to help may be a herb with the distinctive name of Motherwort.

Motherwort's Latin name Leonurus cardiaca (cardiac meaning heart) shows how it has been used since ancient times for heart troubles and, especially so, for functional heart disturbances, such as occur with arrhythmias and palpitations.

Motherwort can work quickly if you learn how to use it correctly. Generally, what that means is taking small, frequent doses until the person feels an obvious calming, settling action on the agitated heart, more here

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort)



Cayenne is the third herb that has been seen to help a great deal with functional heart disturbances such as arrhythmias and palpitations. Cayenne is known as a 'pure' stimulant, it's powerful stuff, and not for everyone, but it has been seen to work for some particularly long-standing problems of this nature.

The only way to know for sure whether it may help you is to take a 'try and see' approach and, in this case, you must be crystal clear on the vital matter of the dose. I cannot advise you on a product without seeing you in person so, what follows is merely by way of example. We use a high grade pure Cayenne capsule and start people on about 2 or 3 capsules a day and then advise them to see how their body feels with it and to be prepared to add a capsule every couple of days to see if they get an improved effect or whether their body tells them it has had enough. The maximum dose we usually get to is 4 capsules twice a day.

The gradual build-up of the dose is both to check for tolerance, also to see at what level it starts to work. If you are taking too much you then you may get some excess feelings of 'heat' in your body. This may be a literal feeling of being too hot or it may feel like a kind of agitation, like you are being too stimulated. If this happens it does not necessarily mean it is the wrong herb for you, just that you are having a little too much of it. Go back to a smaller dose and continue to observe to see if it is actually helping the palpitations or arrhythmias overall, more about Cayenne here

Capsicum minimum (Cayenne)


Effects of the herbs

A person who has experienced palpitations or arrhythmia over a long time-frame is unlikely to be in doubt when the above herbs are actually working. We are looking to see an obvious and sustained tonic action on the heart where you feel your heart beating with more balance and regularity.

However, do not be discouraged if you have the occasional set-back of some arrhythmias or palpitations along the way. You must understand that the longer you use these herbs, the better they work.


Mind/body medicine

Unless a person has experienced arrhythmias or palpitations for themselves, it may be impossible for them to grasp just how great is their ability to disturb a person's peace of mind.

It is a simple fact of biology that any 'felt' disruption to the regular rhythmical beating of the heart will cause a hard-wired alarm reaction to the brain.

This is survival biology, it doesn't matter how cool, calm and collected you are in your general life, If you get arrhythmias or palpitations in your heart, then your alarm bells will start going off and you will get some feelings of anxiety. A part of your brain that is well and truly beyond your conscious control is telling you "Warning, the heart is in trouble, danger!" You just can't ignore that kind of biological signal.

However, as you will have already realised, the feelings of tension created by arrhythmias or palpitations themselves increase the awareness, and therefore the intensity, of the problem, it all quickly becomes a vicious cycle.

The great majority of both arrhythmias and palpitations are 'functional', which means that no physical organic heart disease is involved. However, if you get significant arrhythmias or palpitations then I recommend you start by letting Nature take the first step with the herbs above and then set about working on relaxing the tension as the next step.

When you have some herbal support in place, and when you are ready, study an article that goes into practical depth on how to release anxiety and tension found here


Constitutional Health Note

Finally, you might benefit from learning about your constitution to know what kind of foods, herbs, exercises etc. will work especially well for your health in general.

There is a brief introduction to the subject here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!




© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd