How I Stopped My Skipping Heartbeats with a Special Tea
My First Episode of Atrial Fibrillation
In few days I will be turning 74, and exactly 14 years ago I experienced my first, not to be the last, episode of atrial fibrillation. It was followed by temporarily skipping heartbeats even after the rate went down to almost normal.
I am going to spare you from a lengthy description of that nasty experience, with a wild guess that you wouldn't have been attracted to the title of this post without already knowing what it feels like.
Mine was diagnosed as "lone", or "idiopathic", meaning that there was nothing structurally wrong detectable in my pump---just functional. I could easily eliminate stress as the factor, having been a regular meditator for some half of the century, and pretty much into the maintenance of a solid stress management.
So, the only other possibility that I could think of had something to do with my eating habits. Sugar came pretty fast to my mind as the culprit. Namely, prior to that episode I was consuming some crazy daily amounts of Coca-Cola. With a long held suspicion about my particular tendency of not metabolizing sugar well, I could easily see my a-fib as the result of my body going into a sudden hypoglycemic mode.
So I quit sugar, and those heartbeat skips eventually stopped being a bother.
Deciding to Be My Own Doctor
Needless to say, just like the rest of the sufferers, I got busy searching online for every possible way of future preventing of another episode. And just like the rest of them I turned out a naïve hopeful placing a lot of faith in supplements like magnesium, potassium, taurine, carnitine, arginine, and alike---while making sure I was always hydrated.
By that time I was also free from coffee, alcohol, and tobacco, and I felt proud mentioning that to my doctor---only to get hit in the face with his calm and almost casual remark: "You know, many people fibrillate who never smoked, drank alcohol or coffee."
Crap! As I was seeing him weekly after giving blood to determine the next necessary dosage of the blood thinner warfarin, at one point I asked him how much longer I was going to do that routine. Then he hit me with another verdict, and just for a moment I was under an impression that he enjoyed doing it: "Well" - he said - "many people do it for the rest of their life".
Somehow I knew the answer to my next question, but I still had courage to ask: "Was there anybody in your experience who got rid of this condition?"
O.K., I'll let you guess what he said, but not without mentioning what I said---and meaning it: "Then I am going to be the first one."
He gave me a sympathetic look, and diplomatically said: "Well, maybe you will, I have been wrong before."
No More Rat Poison for My Species
I don't think I am assuming too much when I say that many of you a-fibbers got out of that first hospital stay with a crushed spirit of some cardiac cripples, suddenly scared to lift something, climb a flight of stairs, take a walk on a slightly elevated sidewalk.
They did a good job of scaring the crap out of me with those medical speculations of a possible stroke as the result of any next episode. And yes, there was no doubt in their mind that there would be those "next" ones. Many of them. One smiling nurse was even more specific, saying: "See you back in a couple weeks."
Well, that was the point at which I promised to myself to take things in my own hands. In my case that meant my first step of stopping that nonsense of weekly blood works. I even found out that my blood thinner---warfarin---was being sold by pounds as rat poison to the farmers.
Reluctantly, but I did that stress test and echo-cardiogram, which showed nothing organically wrong with my heart.
Months passed which turned into years without my a-fib returning. No wonder that devil in me started defying the medical predictions with a challenge consisting of some considerable amounts of sugar in my diet.
Bad, bad devil, and a bad, bad challenge!
Because I got myself another little episode. Not as bad as the first one, but bad enough to seriously spoil my otherwise rosy disposition. Miraculously though, I quickly got rid of it with 4 capsules of lemon balm at bedtime, which was the most recent item on my list of preventive measures. I woke up the next morning feeling victorious, with a strong resolve not to take any future vacation trip without a good supply of my lemon balm magic in the bottle.
And so I did with the next few of such trips, including the one in Las Vegas, when all in a gambling spirit I decided to pull the devil by the tail with a huge dinner and a huge serving of ice cream.
Bad, bad devil, and bad, bad gambling spirit!
Viva Las Vegas! Viva My Fighting Spirit!
It was two days before our returning home, and I felt sorry for my wife who pretty much started seeing me in a coffin, according to her worried face. As for me, I surprised myself with an incredible calm. That "higher self" in me kicked in, and I even decided not to admit myself to the hospital upon returning home, not to see any doctors, not to take any supplements.
My mind got totally possessed by the resolve to let my body take care of itself. Somewhere online I once read that those episodes would quiet down on their own in a matter of a week, without our doing anything at all.
And so I didn't do anything, and my episode stopped after about a week as abruptly as it came to spoil my, and especially my wife's last days of Las Vegas adventure. But I didn't want to rely on that "spontaneous remission", although I honestly didn't know what else was there left for me to try, after even my trusted lemon balm gave up on me.
I kept searching, although this time without any of that initial frantic motivation to find the cure, or at least something to stop those irregular heartbeats. At the back of my mind I considered a plan-B solution---if everything fails to just learn living with it, like some folks learn to live with frequent migraines, or arthritic pain.
After all, I had no symptoms like shortness of breath, or lightheadedness, or pain in the chest. If it was not for that bloated stomach and that distinct tiny nervous snap at each skipped heartbeat in my stomach pit---I probably wouldn't even know that my heart was having those "hiccups"---as one cardiologist named those skips.
May It Work for You As Well!
And finally, here comes that part some of you have hoped for---to reveal a "secret magic formula" for stopping irregular heartbeats. It does exist, magic or not, but you must understand that I can't claim its medical value---for those well familiar legal considerations.
As a matter of fact, I am urging you, an a-fibber, to check with your doctor if it's suitable for you. ESPECIALLY, if you are on blood thinners and/or other prescription stuff.
Understand that every illness and condition are an individual experience, and what may have worked for me---as it definitely has---may not work for you, or may even cause trouble.
I fully empathize with each of you who have gone through possibly some decades of futile search---and I know how eager you may be to "try anything", because I did. Just be smart, O.K.--- especially if your a-fib is not diagnosed as "lone", but with some underlying heart damage.
O.K., I think I have said enough to warn you.
Now, how did I come across this tea composed of 4 ingredients. Some time ago I had my longest, although on and off, episode of heart skips---for over a month. Skilled in the art of managing my emotions, by that time I almost created a sort of a "friendly bond" with those cardiac hiccups. "Hey, here you are again! Go ahead, do your thing!" - I would be welcoming them while going about my life as if they didn't exist.
More out of curiosity than a concern, I searched online scrolling casually over "miraculous" health solutions, and my attention got stuck at this allegedly 125 years old Lebanese dude, who credited his longevity mainly to his regular tea consisting of quinoa, star anise, carob, and thyme.
I checked each of the ingredients out separately, and all of them were good for heart. Intuitively, more than out of any particular knowledge in that matter, I slightly changed the formula, kicking quinoa out, and replacing it with Ceylon cinnamon and one opened capsule of lemon balm. Ceylon cinnamon is allegedly good for stabilizing blood sugar, and lemon balm is good for stomach gas and "possibly" for vagal nerve, "possibly" causing those heartbeat skips.
Quantity wise, I used each of the ingredients in amount of about half of the dessert (smallest) spoon, with exception of carob, of which I used about five to six chips. (They come in form similar to chocolate chips). I ground up star anise in coffee grinder, and I sweetened the tea with a tea-size bag of stevia.
That mentioned month---prior to my first sipping on that cup of tea---I had that stubborn episode of heartbeat skips, which would subside during sleep, but came back right after I had my breakfast, to persist during the day.
Well, what can I say---by the time I finished that cup of tea, my skips were gone. For the rest of the evening, the next day, next week, month, and still. As if my heart was just waiting for that specific tea to settle down.
Ever since I kept drinking it every night. I like the taste, and if I am not mistaken, it's further calming my already calm mind.
I even tested it by having cakes, large meals, spicy stuff, eating late at night---and even when that food made me bloated and burp a lot, that extra gas did not produce irregular heartbeats.
Before I leave you, I must insist again that you check with your doctor before trying this tea. It is not made of any exotic stuff, as you know, all those ingredients---except for lemon balm---are regular kitchen spices, but they may still interact with medicine just the same.
If your doctor okays the use of that tea, try it. It doesn't guarantee to let you live 125 years like that Lebanon dude, but somehow I'm quite sure you'll gladly settle for losing those nasty heartbeat skips. --- Be well, all of you.
© 2018 Vladimir Karas