Tachycardia, or elevated heart rate, is a type of arrhythmia, or a disorder of heart rate or rhythm. Arrhythmias, notes the National Center for Biotechnology Information, are caused by dysfunction in the heart's electrical conduction system. Problems with this system may cause your heart to beat too quickly, too slowly or irregularly. Some herbal remedies have historically been used to help normalize heart rate and heart function. Discuss herbal treatments for tachycardia with a knowledgeable healthcare provider before using them.
Tachycardia, sometimes called supraventricular tachycardia, is a heart condition in which your heart beats abnormally quick. If you have this condition, your heart rate may increase sharply without warning and then slow down abruptly. Bouts of tachycardia may last anywhere from seconds to hours, and they may occur on a regular basis or as infrequently as several times per year. In rare cases, your heart rate may go as high as 300 beats per minute.
Useful Herbal Treatments
There are several herbal medicines that have been used for treating heart arrhythmias, including tachycardia. Certified nutritional consultant and nutrition researcher Phyllis A. Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," notes that cordyceps, an herb commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, may help slow heart rate. Other herbs that may be beneficial for treating or regulating heart arrhythmias include oat straw, passionflower, wood betony, black cohosh, skullcap and valerian root.
A Powerful Herb
Valerian is a powerful herbal medicine for the treatment of tachycardia and other heart arrhythmias. Valerian, notes naturalist and expert herbalist Ed Smith, author of "Therapeutic Herb Manual," helps relax smooth muscle throughout the body. Valerian may help regulate or normalize heart function, slow the heart rate, treat stress, relieve anxiety, and ease nervousness. It is a relaxing sedative that may boost blood flow to the brain. Liquid extracts of this plant's fresh rhizome are used medicinally.
Although many herbs have historically been used for treating heart arrhythmias such as tachycardia, scientific research evidence examining the efficacy of some herbs is lacking. Abnormal heart rate or rhythm may be a cause for concern, as they may be associated with angina, heart attack, heart failure, stroke or sudden death. If you experience an elevated heart rate for no apparent reason, schedule an appointment with your family doctor for a thorough examination of your heart health and function.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Arrhythmias
- National Health Service: Supraventricular Tachycardia
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2010
- "Therapeutic Herb Manual"; Ed Smith; 2007
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.