Heart Health is Herb Pharm’s primary heart and circulatory (cardiovascular) formula. Our Heart Tonic contains extracts of Hawthorn, Cactus Grandiflorus, Motherwort and Ginger. As the term “tonic” implies, this is a nutritive and building formula intended for long-term use. Heart Health carries the structure/function statement, “Supports Healthy Function of Heart and Circulation.”
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is a member of the Rose family common to the impenetrable hedgerows of the British and Irish countryside. A large number of native and introduced species also occur throughout all but the uppermost parts of North America. Hawthorn is usually a large shrub or small tree bearing numerous, compact, white to pink five-petaled flowers typical of the family. It also bears typically substantial thorns from which the plant derives its name. Heart Health contains our Hawthorn Blend, which combines the most therapeutic parts of Hawthorn, namely the berry, leaf and flower. In the 115 years since Hawthorn was first widely acknowledged as a cardiovascular herb, it has become without question the most popular heart remedy in Western herbalism.
Cactus Grandiflorus (Selenicereus spp.), also referred to as Night-blooming Cereus, bears incredibly large and showy creamy-white blossoms that last for only a single night. Lloyd Brothers Pharmacy, suppliers of specific medicines to Eclectic physicians, described several medicinal species of what is now the genus Selenicereus in their Cactus Grandiflorus drug pamphlet. Historically, many cacti were inappropriately substituted for Cactus Grandiflorus and even today other genera are sold in place of the genuine article. We use the fresh, succulent stem of true Selenicereus, which was considered by Eclectics to be the remedy in heart maladies marked by irritability and weakness.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is a member of the mint family characterized by nearly ominous looking palmate leaves and sharp, spiny calyx surrounding the base of each flower. We include the dried leaf and flower of Motherwort in our Heart Health. Like the herbs above, Motherwort also combines its cardiac strengthening effects with a positive influence on the nervous system. Bridging Motherwort’s actions from the physical to the metaphorical heart, Culpepper stated that it drives melancholy from the heart and makes the mind cheerful.
Ginger dried rhizome (Zingiber officinale) is an excellent warming circulatory stimulant that also warms and activates the overall energy of the formula.
Unlike some highly active cardiac herbs and pharmaceutical drugs (often derived from those herbs), the herbs in Heart Health do not contain potent cardioactive glycosides that could be cause for concern. However, there are some indications that Hawthorn may potentiate cardiac glycosides such as the Digitalis-derived heart drugs. For this reason, Heart Health and single Hawthorn extract are best avoided when taking these types of prescription heart medicine. Also, given the potentially serious nature of heart disease, heart problems should always be monitored and treated by a qualified healthcare practitioner. If you are being treated for a heart condition, discuss the use of Heart Health with your physician.
Heart Health is taken in doses of 30 to 40 drops in a little water, three times per day. It may be helpful to take one dose first thing in the morning and one just before bed. As with all tonics, our Heart Health can be taken before there is any overt cardiac issue and is ideal when heart health issues run in your family. Try it for two or three months once or twice a year as a general heart tonic. Heart Health is well suited as a general heart tonic in the aging, an adjunct to medical heart treatment and as a recuperative tonic.
Originally Published in February 2011