• CHF
  • Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure (CHF) means the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. It worsens over time. CHF causes breathing problems, swelling in the legs, and lack of strength. There are different possible causes. The most common is a problem with blood flow to the heart.

CHF is treated with habit changes and drugs. Surgery may be needed to help the heart work better and control fluid buildup. Some people may need a new heart from a donor.

Natural Therapies

CHF should not be self-treated. Work closely with your care team. Some natural therapies may be a part of your treatment plan to ease symptoms.

Possibly Effective

Herbs and supplements:

  • Chinese Herbal Medicine —when used with standard care, may lower heart events and improve physical ability. A6-A8
  • Coenzyme Q 10 (CoQ 10 ) plays a role in cell power and is an antioxidant. Some people with CHF have lower levels of CoQ10. Pills may help to ease breathing and increase ability to be active. B8, B9, B11 (Note: CoQ10 may cause problems with blood thinning drugs.)
  • Hawthorn —may help you breathe and be more active. It may also help energy levels when added to standard care.A1-A5
  • Omega-3 fatty acids —Some omega-3s are found in fatty fish. It may lower all-cause death rates.B3, B7

Therapies:

  • Tai Chi —gentle flow exercise. It may help your daily life and ability to be active.C1-C3

May or May Not Be Effective

  • Creatine is found in the body in foods like meat and fish.B5, B6 (Note: Creatine may cause fluid loss. It may also worsen kidney disease and diabetes.)
  • Carnitine —substance the body uses to turn fat into energy. Pills are known as L-carnitine or propionyl-L-carnitine.B1, B2

Unlikely to Be Effective

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about all herbs or pills you are taking. Some may get in the way of your treatment or health problems, such as:

  • CoQ10 may cause problems with blood thinning drugs.
  • Creatine causes muscles to pull water from the rest of the body. This may cause fluid loss. Drink plenty of water and do not workout in hot weather. Creatine may also worsen kidney disease and diabetes.
  • Omega-3 pills may cause problems with blood thinning drugs.

Revision Information