Congestive cardiac failure (CCF), also known as congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart’s function as a pump to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the body is inadequate to meet the body’s needs. CCF can be caused by coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, long standing alcohol abuse and disorders of the heart valves. Fatigue; swelling of the ankles and legs or abdomen; breathlessness; increased urination, especially at night; nausea; abdominal pain; and decreased appetite are common symptoms of this condition.
The Ayurvedic treatment of CCF is aimed at improving the efficiency of the heart, reducing the load on the heart and treating any potentially reversible causes of this disease. The efficiency of the heart is increased by using medicines like Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Maha-Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Makar-Dhwaj- Ras, Shrung-Bhasma, Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani and Abhrak-Bhasma. Coronary artery disease, leading to a reduced blood supply to the heart muscles, can be corrected by using medicines like Arogya-Vardhini, Triphala-Guggulu, Medohar-Guggulu and Chandraprabha-Vati. Weak heart muscles can be strengthened using medicines like Trayodashang-Guggulu, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Draksha (Vitis vinifera), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutaj (Holarrhina antidysentrica), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Naagbala (Grewia hirsuta). Disorders of the valves of the heart can be partially corrected using medicines like Laxadi-Guggulu, Sinhanaad-Guggulu, Dashmoolarishta and Arjunarishta.
It is very important to control high blood pressure, since this puts a continuous strain on the heart muscles. Medicines like Sarpagandha (Raulwofia serpentina), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Dhamasa (Fagonia cretica) and Sutshekhar-Ras can be used for this purpose. Alcohol abuse can make the heart muscles weak, and also cause destruction in the liver, thereby resulting in CCF. This can be treated using medicines like Arogya-Vardhini, Shankh-Vati, Bhunimbadi-Qadha, Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa) and Sharpunkha (Tephrosia purpurea). The load on the heart can be reduced using medicines like Punarnavadi-Qadha, Gokshuradi-Qadha, Yav-Kshar, Apamarga (Achyranthus aspera) and Ikshumool (Saceharum officinarum).
A judicious combination of Ayurvedic medicines can thus be used to control CCF and improve the overall survival of patients affected with this condition. It is important to adopt adequate lifestyle modifications for this disease. Daily salt and fluid intake needs to be restricted. Regular exercise in moderation is beneficial for CCF. A complete abstinence from alcohol and smoking is important to avoid further damage to the heart. Stress needs to be minimized by adopting suitable relaxation techniques.