Herbal medicine for the treatment of cardiovascular disease: clinical considerations

Arch Intern Med. 1998 Nov 9;158(20):2225-34. doi: 10.1001/archinte.158.20.2225.


Herbs have been used as medical treatments since the beginning of civilization and some derivatives (eg, aspirin, reserpine, and digitalis) have become mainstays of human pharmacotherapy. For cardiovascular diseases, herbal treatments have been used in patients with congestive heart failure, systolic hypertension, angina pectoris, atherosclerosis, cerebral insufficiency, venous insufficiency, and arrhythmia. However, many herbal remedies used today have not undergone careful scientific assessment, and some have the potential to cause serious toxic effects and major drug-to-drug interactions. With the high prevalence of herbal use in the United States today, clinicians must inquire about such health practices for cardiac disease and be informed about the potential for benefit and harm. Continuing research is necessary to elucidate the pharmacological activities of the many herbal remedies now being used to treat cardiovascular diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angina Pectoris / drug therapy
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy
  • Arteriosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / drug therapy
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • United States
  • Venous Insufficiency / drug therapy


  • Plant Extracts