School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion

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Cardiac-tonic (Hrdaya, hrudya, Tonify Heart Qi) - Foods & Herbs ListCLASSIFICATION OF FOOD, HERBS, & LIFESTYLE

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Reported by John Immel, Asheville, NC
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Strengthens and tones the heart (heart-tonic). Cardiac tonics are used to treat a wide range of heart issues from arrhythmia, to cardiac insufficiency.

Symptoms of a weak heart include shortness of breath that is worse with exertion, palpitations & arrhythmia, mental confusion and depression, and cardiac insufficiency.

  • Tongue: Pale, soft
  • Pulse: Tin, weak, empty
Cardiac tonics work by strengthening and stimulating the heart muscle. Because of the close relationship between the heart and the nervous system, these remedies tend to be stimulate the nervous system and lift the mind as well.

Many remedies in this class are mildly sweet flowers, such as Hawthorne. Many are positive inotropic - meaning they help heart contractibility and electrical conductance without requiring additional oxygen (acting as the opposite of a calcium channel blocker, or beta blocker). Some contain powerful cardiac glycosides that should be used with caution.

Heart weakness tends to create blood stagnation leading to symptoms associated with heart attack - chest pains, shooting pains down the left arm, shortness or breath, palpitations, and cyanosis (bluish face, tongue, lips, nails), and panic. As such, the ideal cardiac tonic would also address circulatory issues & move blood.

In heart conditions, smaller doses taken frequently are usually more effective than large doses taken infrequently.

Herb Drug Interaction Risk

Caution when taking alongside cardiac pharmaceuticals. Inotropic herbs (that affect heart contractile strength) may interact with digoxin.


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About John Joseph Immel

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.

John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 7 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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