What is a Cardiac Remedy?
This is a general term for herbal remedies that have an action on the heart. Some of the remedies in this group are powerful Cardio-Active agents such as Foxglove, while others are gentler and safer Cardiac Tonics such as Hawthorn and Linden. These remedies are discussed in more depth in the section on the cardiovascular system.
How Do Cardiac Remedies Work?
The strong and effective cardio-active remedies owe their power to the presence of the cardiac glycoside group of plant constituents. These have the effect of increasing the efficiency of the muscles of the heart without increasing their need for oxygen. This enables the heart to pump enough blood around the body and ensure there is not a build-up of fluid in the lungs or extremities.
That sounds wonderful, as indeed it is, but there is always the possibility of accruing too much of the glycosides in the body as the removal rates tend to be low. This is the main drawback of Foxglove and why it is potentially poisonous, unless used with skill and knowledge. The clinically trained medical herbalist uses Lily of the Valley in preference to Foxglove as there is less chance of such problems developing.
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© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH Share