Thursday, May 23, 2024

Natural Alternatives to Digoxin

Every year, there are hundreds of thousands who fall victim to heart disease and complications caused by atrial fibrillation, or a disorder in the heart’s rhythm. These conditions are very serious, and are always dangerous when left untreated.


Digoxin is a type of cardiac glycoside derived from plants called foxgloves. This medication treats heart disease, irregular rhythms, and helps make the heart stronger.

Due to the seriousness of heart disease we do not recommend anyone try to self medicate in place of a prescription like Digoxin if prescribed by their physician. However these natural supplements below may help in addition to a prescribed regimen or for people without a serious condition.  That said you need to be sure to talk with your doctor before using any natural supplements.

Do not substitute this for actual advice from a medical expert as many cases require treatment that CAN NOT be remedied with natural options.  These natural options may only be helpful in addition to treatments, again consult with a medical professional before self treating or self diagnosing. 



1. Angelica

Angelica Sinensis

Derived from the root of the Chinese Angelica sinensis in the country’s higher altitude regions, the herb is also known as Dong Quai in Eastern regions, and has been used for thousands of years to bolster heart health and blood quality, and remedy a number of problems that plague women specifically. This medicinal herb was also used by Parisian monks during the 16th century as part of a concoction called “Carmelite water” that was believed to possess medicinal and protective properties. Angelica contains 14 antiarrhythmic compounds that prevent atrial fibrillation and remedy other problems associated with circulation and heart failure by normalizing the heart’s contractions and improving blood flow. When buying angelica in liquid or pill forms, always choose those with a ligustilide of 0.8 to 1.1 percent. Other forms of the herb include dried leaves and roots that can be steeped into tea, and tinctures.

2. Arjuna


The herb was included in the Indian medicinal system Ayurveda by Vagbhata, one of its most influential contributors, for its ability to remedy and minimize the risk of heart disease, along with other health benefits. Its name was derived from the hero of the Indian sacred epic Mahabharata because of its protective capabilities for the heart. Arjuna is found to have arjunic, gallic, and tannic acids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, calcium, copper, magnesium, and zinc, all of which are good in maintaining good overall health by reducing inflammation, improving physical and cognitive functions, enhancing blood flow and heart rate, and preventing cancer. Phytosterols, or compounds with immense cardiovascular benefits, are also present in arjuna and in rich quantities. These vast number of components make arjuna one of the greatest natural herbs for heart health. Studies revealed that a consistent dose of the herb promoted optimal arterial function of smokers whose arteries were clogged. Arjuna is available in capsule, dried bark, natural extract, and powdered forms. The dried bark can be left in water overnight to be drank the next day, or grounded to extract the juice within and mix it with other beverages.

3. Basil

Two kinds of basil play a role in ensuring your heart is protected and beats on a regular rhythm. The first is Ocimum basilicum, or better known as just basil, and the second is Ocimum tenuiflorum, or holy basil. They both contain flavonoids that shield the body from harmful free radicals, preventing many negative health conditions such as heart failure that are triggered by those. Basil also has beta-carotene that is converted into vitamins A and K for stronger bones, eugenol for lower levels of cholesterol, potassium for blood pressure maintenance, magnesium for relaxation of muscle walls, and manganese for the production of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Steeping fresh basil in a cup of boiling water for ten minutes is one way to prepare it for consumption, and some dishes make use of the herb in their ingredients. Chewing fresh leaves on a daily basis is also recommended to derive its numerous benefits, and there are supplements in capsule form and extracts in liquid form available in many health stores.

4. Garlic

Used for millennia as a flavor enhancer, medicine, and even as a ward against supernatural beings. Garlic’s well-known health benefits stem from its allicin content, and it is also responsible for the herb’s one of a kind flavor and scent. Aside from allicin, the sulfoxides and dithiins present in garlic also contribute to its medicinal properties. For the heart, garlic works many wonders by controlling levels of blood pressure, protecting against cardiovascular diseases, and reducing the body’s LDL cholesterol, or better known as the “bad” type of cholesterol. The best way to prepare garlic for consumption is waiting for a period of time after chopping or crushing it. This allows the enzymes of alliinase to be more effective for your health. Studies have shown that immediately changing garlic’s temperature through boiling, cooking, or microwaving will strip most of the medicinal properties of allicin. Also, the allicin found in garlic extracts last only less than 24 hours while those in fresh garlic last up to more than two days. Despite conflicting opinions regarding which form of garlic is better, there is still no final say if eating it raw is better than taking supplements, vice versa. So don’t worry about which is which and give your heart some love by regularly taking garlic.

5. Hawthorn

In Celtic lore, hawthorn is believed to heal broken hearts. It actually does, but not quite literally. The berries of hawthorn are widely used in Europe for the treatment of heart disease in its early stages, high blood pressure, digestive problems, and irregular heartbeats. Packed with flavonoids ranging from catechin, epicatechin, hyperoside, quercetin, rutin, and vitexin, with the crataegus oxyacantha variety of hawthorn being the most heart-friendly due to its higher vitexin content. Dozens of studies have unveiled the fruit’s ability in improving heart function and its recovery after heart failure, minimizing symptoms associated with cardiac problems, and being a lot more effective and safe than popular heart medications. The ways on how hawthorn works for the heart are by:

Relaxes the arteries and enhances blood flow without negatively affecting heart rate, believed to be done by the proanthocyanidin content of the fruit. This also lowers blood pressure.

Helps the heart muscles contract for better heartbeats, and this was proven to be more efficient than how drugs with the same function do it.

Controls the production of human neutrophil elastase enzymes. These said enzymes are released by immune cells in the event of circulatory stress. The enzyme by itself is not actually harmful, but they can damage the heart when excessive amounts are present.

Prevents free radicals from oxidizing LDL cholesterol. If free radicals are left unchecked, this oxidation leads to the buildup of arterial plaque.

Hawthorn berries are often sold as extracts, supplements, and tinctures. Dried berries and leaves are also available for tea.

6. L-Arginine

Arginine supplement

Arginine is an amino acid that is used by the body to build proteins. It also has some benefits for the heart. The amino acid becomes nitric oxide in the body, and this conversion allows it to help boost circulation and relax the blood vessels. Blood flow is enhanced, leading to an improvement in the symptoms of problems that target the arteries. Good sources of arginine include eggs, nuts, salmon, tofu, and tuna. However, large amounts of these foods are needed to meet the required grams for the benefits, that’s why you will have to take supplements to complete the needed number. Six to nine grams every day is the recommended intake amount.

7. Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids are known worldwide for its incredible effects on the cardiovascular system. Since it is essential, the body can only obtain it from outside sources and cannot make omega-3 internally. Omega-3 maintains a healthy heart by preventing spikes of blood pressure, reducing instances of arrhythmia, minimizes inflammation, and shields against the threat of heart disease. Foods rich in omega-3 are not hard to come by, and to name a few: Black walnut, cod liver oil, flaxseed and its oil, hickory, mackerel, pine nuts, sardine meat and oil, sesame seeds, and salmon meat, oil, and roe.

8. Lifestyle Changes

The most natural alternative to digoxin is by performing certain changes in your life to prevent heart failure or to facilitate recovery from it:

Commit to regular exercise on a daily basis to improve circulation and prevent the body from being too stagnant. Start by doing walks for a set time, increasing its duration and intensity at least every week. Not only this will get your heart pumping, exercise will also help you lose weight. Being overweight increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases, hence the importance of staying fit and healthy.

Drink minimal amounts of alcohol. Don’t go overboard or you risk triggering heart disease. Moderation in small amounts actually helps protect the heart.

Stop smoking. Aside from increased lung cancer risk, it also clogs your arteries, eventually leading to heart attacks. Chew basil leaves as a substitute to tobacco whenever your cravings kick in.

Maintain a low carb, low sugar, and low (or better none at all) salt diet. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, stay away from processed food and drink, and always choose organic options if possible.

9. Vitamins and Minerals

We all know the importance of vitamins and minerals if we wish
to stay healthy. The same holds true if we want to keep our hearts in peak condition.

Vitamins C is a natural antioxidant that blocks oxidative stress, or known triggers of unhealthy heart conditions. The vitamin is easily derived from citrus fruits and green vegetables.

Vitamin D prevents premature contraction of ventricles in your heart, enhances heart function and repairs existing damages on it, and alleviates palpitations. Nuts, vegetable oils, liver, salmon, and tuna are a few good sources of vitamin D.

Magnesium maintains heart stability. A deficiency leads to arrhythmia, while too much of it increases the risk of bradycardia and visual and respiratory complications. Whole grains, green vegetables, and nuts are some sources and can be coupled with supplements to maintain a steady balance of the mineral.

The heart depends on potassium to maintain its electrical balance, proper blood pressure levels, and is also needed in other bodily functions. Too little potassium can disturb the heart’s rhythm, while an excess can screw the heartbeat and even lead to fatal consequences. Potassium supplements, along with constant coordination with your doctor, are the best way to maintain a safe level of the mineral.

Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers is an independent freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Bridget's work can be found on a variety of sources in both online and print media.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here