Herbs For Diseases Of The Cardiovascular System

Herbs considered important for the cardiovascular system are classified according to traditional actions of cardioactive, cardioprotective, cardiotonic, and circulatory stimulants. Anticoagulants are a more modern application of herbs to cardiovascular disease and nervines and diuretic herbs are traditionally included in formulas. The diseases that are indicated for these herbs include cardiomyopathy (dilatative and hypertrophic), congestive heart failure / valvular disease, heartworm disease, and hypertension. Cardioactive herbs Cardioactive herbs are some of the most potentially toxic herbs. Many of these contain cardioactive glycosides such as Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), which are ionotropic and lead to a more efficient and coordinated cardiac contraction. Perhaps the most useful from a veterinary perspective is Bugleweed (Lycopus europaeus, L. virginicus). It does not contain cardiac glycosides but is still cardioactive. L. virginicus was recognized by the early Eclectics as an excellent sedative with properties similar to digitalis but without adverse side effects. L. europaeus may have applications in feline hyperthyroidism as well as cardiovascular disease. L. Read more […]


ANTISYMPATHETIC AGENTS is a grouping of convenience intended to encompass all agents acting by one of the many mechanisms that lead to a reduction in the actions of the sympathetic nervous system, including those of poorly defined mechanism that are known to have this overall action. Antisympathetics are of particular importance in reducing vasomotor tone, and thence blood pressure. There are many of them and they will be grouped by site and mechanism of action. See also ANTIHYPERTENSIVE AGENTS. Central mechanisms. Some agents may act within the CNS to modify autonomic control of sympathetic tone and blood pressure. Clonidine inhibits release of noradrenaline by an agonist action at the autoinhibitory alpha2-adrenoceptors on sympathetic nerve endings. Methyldopa is thought to work, at least in part, centrally, acting both as an inhibitory false substrate in the biosynthetic pathway, also producing an active metabolite with actions at α2-adrenoceptors. Rauwolfia alkaloids, especially reserpine, which inhibit the monoamine transporters, were at one time used to treat hypertension, but the side-effects are marked. Biosynthetic pathway inhibitors. In both the central and periphery nervous systems, the biosynthetic Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Lycium

Lycium barbarum L. (Solanaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Chinese wolfberry, Goji berries, Matrimony vine, Wolfberry. Lycium chinense. Constituents Lycium fruit contains carotenoids such as betacarotene and zeaxanthin, beta-sitosterol, linoleic acid, betaine and various polysaccharides, vitamins and amino acids. The root bark contains beta-sitosterol and betaine among other constituents. Use and indications Lycium (dried berries or root bark) has been used to treat diabetes, ophthalmic disorders, hypertension and erectile dysfunction, and is thought to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties. The dried berries are also used as a foodstuff. Pharmacokinetics In vitro studies suggest that lycium may be a weak inhibitor of the cytochrome P450 isoenzyme CYP2C9, although this is considered insufficient to cause a drug interaction, see warfarin8. Interactions overview Lycium has antidiabetic effects, which may be additive to conventional antidiabetics, although evidence for this is largely experimental. A case report suggests that lycium may enhance the effects of warfarin, but this does not appear to be as a result of inhibiting CYP2C9, as has been suggested by some sources. Lycium Read more […]


β-ADRENOCEPTOR ANTAGONISTS (also known as β-adrenergic receptor blocking drugs, β-adrenoceptor blocking drugs or beta-blockers) are drugs that inhibit certain actions of the sympathetic nervous system by blocking the action of adrenaline and noradrenaline (catecholamine mediators acting predominantly as hormone or neurotransmitter respectively). Among other actions, β-adrenoceptors have cardiac stimulant actions, they dilate certain blood vessels, suppress motility within the gastrointestinal tract, stimulate certain aspects of metabolism causing an increase in glucose and free fatty acids in the blood. These actions, in concert with those of the α-adrenoceptors, help prepare the body for emergency action. However, in disease, some of these effects may be inappropriate, exaggerated and detrimental to health, so β-blockers may be used to restore the balance. Thus β-blockers are used to lower blood pressure when it is abnormally raised in cardiovascular disease (see ANTIHYPERTENSIVE AGENTS): to correct certain heartbeat irregularities and tachycardias (see ANTIARRHYTHMICS); to prevent the pain of angina pectoris during exercise by limiting cardiac stimulation (see ANTIANGINALS)’, to treat myocardial infarction, Read more […]


ANTIANGINAL AGENTS are used to relieve angina pectoris, an intense pain due to cardiac ischaemia, which is especially pronounced in exercise angina. The disease state often results from atheroma; a degeneration of the lining of the arteries of the heart due to build-up of fatty deposits. The objective is to relieve the heart of work, and to prevent spasm or to dilate coronary arteries. Unloading can be achieved by stopping exercise, preventing the speeding of the heart and by dilating the coronary arteries. Beta-blockers, by inhibiting the effect of adrenaline and noradrenaline on the heart, prevent the normal increase in heart rate, and are very effective in preventing exercise angina. Examples of beta-blockers used for this purpose include acebutolol, atenolol, metoprolol, nadolol, oxprenolol, pindolol, propranolol, sotalol and timolol. See β-ADRENOCEPTOR ANTAGONISTS. Many VASODILATORS act directly to relax vascular smooth muscle, so dilating blood vessels and thereby increasing blood flow (see SMOOTH MUSCLE RELAXANTS). For the acute treatment of anginal pain (and to a lesser extent in preventing angina attacks) the nitrates are widely used, e.g. glyceryl trinitrate, isosorbide dinitrate, isosorbide mononitrate Read more […]