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  • Dr A A Mundewadi

Congestive Cardiac Failure (CCF) – Modern (Allopathic) Versus Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Updated: Feb 12

The heart acts as a mechanical pump to supply oxygenated blood along with nutrients to all parts of the body. Congestive cardiac failure (CCF) is a medical condition in which the heart loses its normal efficiency. If left untreated, this condition worsens over time and may lead to a complete failure of the heart, thereby causing death. CCF can be caused due to coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart defects, high blood pressure, valvular diseases of the heart, as well as general medical conditions like thyroid disease, and kidney disease.

Common symptoms of CCF include breathlessness on exertion or at rest, congested lungs, fluid and water retention (causing swelling of feet and – later on - bloating of the entire body), loss of appetite, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and weakness, and rapid or irregular heartbeat. Not all symptoms may be present in all affected individuals; and some may have no symptoms at all, at least in the initial phase of the disease.

Early diagnosis and management of this medical condition is important in order to prevent permanent and irreversible damage to the heart and increased mortality. The goal of the modern (Allopathic) system of medicines is to treat the known cause, ease symptoms, improve quality of life, prevent the condition from worsening, and reduce the need for hospitalization as well as the risk of death.

Some of the medicines commonly used include ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta blockers, blood vessel dilators, digoxin, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, potassium, magnesium, and heart pump medications. Regular graded exercises, lifestyle modifications and regular, lifelong medical follow ups are important to maintain a good quality of life and achieve good heart control with medications. Lifestyle modifications include quitting smoking and alcohol consumption, changing diet, and reducing weight.

For patients with specific causes and advanced or severe disease, surgical treatment options may be offered. These include coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), heart valve surgery, implantable left ventricular assist device (LVAD), and heart transplant. Heart failure management is thus a team effort and includes the services of cardiology physicians and surgeons, nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists, social workers and counselors.

In addition to modern conservative care, institution of aggressive Ayurvedic treatment to treat both the cause and effects of CCF can result in highly gratifying results. Ayurvedic medicines are very effective in quickly controlling high blood pressure; this reduces the work load on the heart thereby reducing heart muscle fatigue and compromised pumping action. Herbal medicines work very well to reduce atherosclerosis and obstruction in narrowed coronary vessels so as to improve the blood flow to the heart muscles. Damage to heart muscles due to valvular insufficiency, heart muscle disease, or alcohol and drug abuse can be corrected using specific herbal therapy for the same. Work efficiency of the heart can be improved using appropriate herbo-mineral therapy.

With regular treatment, affected individuals notice a definite improvement in symptoms like swelling, breathlessness, fatigue and reduced appetite. Objective tests like chest x-ray and 2-d echo test reveal improvement in such parameters as reduction in the size of enlarged heart chambers, improved valvular efficiency, improved heart ejection fraction, reduced load on the lungs, and resolution of swelling in and around the pericardium.

Ayurvedic herbal treatment can thus be judiciously used to treat refractory patients having CCF. Concurrent Ayurvedic treatment can dramatically improve the overall outlook of long term treatment of CCF and significantly bring down mortality resulting from this condition.


Congestive cardiac Failure, CCF, heart failure, Ayurvedic treatment, herbal medicines

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