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Hawthorn Berry and Heart Palpitations


In past years I've noticed that I have a pretty weak heart. Especially with my studies in TCM (I'm not an acupuncturist, just a shiatsu practitioner), I've come to suspect it's a pretty weak link for me. I sweat easily (even when I'm cold), my extremeties are always cold (although my hands do get very hot when I'm working on someone, so really it's more my feet that are always cold, even when they're sweating!) I have poor temperature tolerance for hot and for cold. But the main annoyance (well, it can be more than an annoyance and give me quite a scare!) is when I'm getting a lot of cardio, especially hiking up a big hill (or going up takes a lot of stairs to actually induce it though) after beating so hard (and my heart beats much faster than say my husbands when we are hiking) it starts to feel off-rhythm and then I get pretty fatigued and sometimes nauseous. It's pretty annoying because I'm afraid to go on hiking trips I used to be able to do. I'm only 28, but I definitely don't get as much exercise as I should, even though I may appear to be in good shape. Anyhow, I made an appointent to go to the doctor after one such scary incident when we were quickly trying to hike out of the forest as the sun was setting, and after an ultrasound and giving me a 24-hour recorder-type thing to wear they found nothing (of course, they didn't do a stress test on me and so the irregular rhythm never actually happened...I tried explaining to them it only happens upon cardio workout, but they didn't seem to think that would matter.) Anyhow, I just chalk it up to weak heart because of not enough cardio. I used to take Hawthorn about a year ago, just in pill form or in the syrup (the company that used to make it, SRC, went out of business recently.) It wasn't prescribed to me, but from what I'd read there could really be no side effects with it. Well, I used to take 1-2 caps a day every once in a while (never even a week straight), and hadn't taken it in months and just decided to last week--- But this particular Nature's Way brand said 3 pills 3x/day. Maybe this was a typo? I went about 3 days doing 3 caps 2x day, and on the 3rd night I had some CRAZY feelings in my heart, like tightness, that kept me up until about 4 am. (Not normal for me.) The next night I had heart palpitations around bedtime and only when sitting up, not as much when lying down, repeatedly on and off for about an hour. The next night was the same, and now tonight, the third night, I'm having it again. It's only at bedtime, at rest. How strange that the opposite problem has manifested! I just read that hawthorn is good for heart palpitations unless you don't really need it, in which case it can actually cause them! Oops! I almost never experience heart palpitations, and I wouldn't even call the strange arhythmia that I get when I'm exercising too hard to be that (that's just my heart beating so fast continually that I think it temporarily goes off track!) This is just an all of a sudden vibration/kicking ot the chest that lasts a good 10-20 seconds or so at a time and repeatedly through the evening. Any idea how long it takes for the effects of this herb to wear off? I haven't taken it in 3 days and only took it for 3 or 4 days straight.

Any input will be greatly appreciated! I'm not too worried about this, but it's just uncomfortable. Thank you!

Another facet to this is that I had just finished my cycle and may have actually been a little blood deficient still, as I have pretty serious menorrhagia (due to endometriosis). Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to take a Heart Qi tonifying herb when my Heart Blood may have still been on the deficient side? This theory may hold some water, especially when you consider that I'm only experiencing these palpitation bouts in the evening, which is Yin time. I'm also noticing that my Heart pulse (left cun position) feels weak, not necessarily thready, but just only really felt at the middle level, disappearing at the deep level and almost imperceptible at the surface level. That's unusual for me. The rest of the pulses feel normal to me. Yesterday my heart pulse felt as I just mentioned, right now actually it's a bit stronger at the deepest level.

***Update: I posted this last night, and tonight I've only had one mild palpitation and that's all! Looks like it just needed time to works its way out of my system. From now on, I won't take such high doses of any herb without first consulting an herbalist!


Have you tried CO Q 10?

Valve prolapse may be worth investigating, where blood flow is able to flow a bit backwards in the chambers, or even in the vessels. They can give you 30 day monitor I think too? Even then, if it picks up irregular heartbeats, it&#39s merely confirming what you can verbal report. A different Dr. sounds like a good idea, and he/she can schedule an echocardiogram which can immediately look at blood flow too/from/in the heart.


One thing to remember is that the Gall Bladder runs in opposition to the Heart. Palpitations can come from that connection as well. Your times of distress approach GB hours. It&#39s good to look at digestion, always.

If you see a Western herbalist, usually they suggest combinations of herbs in liquid form, as Hawthorn blends well with Linden and Passion Flower and other supportive herbs. Chinese herbs usually come in combination and in pill form. Powdered in pill form is the least effective way to take herbs and as you saw, dosage and perhaps quality of herb may have been in question. The NIH has a committee looking into the honesty of supplement companies; that their products contain what is listed, at what strength and when manufactured.

One remedy you might try is 1/4c. apple cider vinegar in 8 oz apple juice before meals, or when palpitations arise. Lots of anecdotal information about this combination, in moving sludge through GB and LV ducts.


Have you had it checked?


Thank you, Sheila. I have not tried Co Q 10 yet but have read that it is good for the heart. A different doctor is probably a good idea, I agree. I don&#39t think I&#39ve done the echocardiogram yet.


Thanks, Brenda. What a good observation, I didn&#39t even think about the organ clock. Interesting about the NIH. Are their brands that have their herbs certified by the NIH? Or do they instead look to see who isn&#39t being honest abou their supplements? I will try the vinegar before meals...I don&#39t like the taste, but I should be able to somach it mixed with the apple juice. Thanks again!


I&#39ve had it checked several times with several different tests in the past. Everything seems normal, although thyroid problems do run in my family.

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