Homeopathy Papers

Heart Therapeutics

Written by Thomas C. Duncan

Dr. Thomas C. Duncan (1840-1902) presents clear keynotes for over 90 remedies used in heart conditions.


  1. Medicines affecting the heart may for convenience be divided, as the diseases have been, into groups: e. g., inflammatory, structural and functional. They could also be divided into acute and chronic remedies.
  2. The inflammatory remedies make a very small list and strictly speaking include Aconite, Bryonia and Veratrum vir. To these three might be added Arnica, Spigelia and Digitalis.  With these many sub-acute remedies might be included and grouped under the different diseases, their various stages and complications as follows:

Pericarditis: Aconite, Bryonia, Veratrum viride, Spigelia, Arsenicum, Digitalis, Cactus, Kali Carl., Belladonna, Colchicum, Kali hyd., Kalmia and Squilla.

Hydropericardium: Apis, Apocynum, Arsenicum, Helle- bore, Mercurius, Lycopodium, Sulphur.

Myocarditis (Homeopathy for Myocarditis): Arnica, Rhus, Aconite, Bryonia.

Endocarditis: In addition to the chief acute remedies for Pericarditis and

Myocarditis we have added Aurum, Iodine, Kali Carl., Naja, Sulphur.

Valvular Remedies: Bryonia, Arsenicum, Digitalis, Kali Carb Kalmia, Lachesis, Naja, Natrum mur., Sepia, Spigelia, Spongia, Sulphur, Cactus, Rhus, Arnica, China, Aurum, Plumlum.

  1. The remedies for the diseases of the heart walls are few and may be classified as follows:

Hypertrophy and Dilatation: Arnica, Kalmia, Plumbum, Spigelia, Digitalis, Arsenicum, Lycopodium, Naja, Aurum, Lachesis.

Atrophy: Arnica, Kali, Kola, China, Arsenicum, Phosphorus, Ferrum, Nux


Fatty Heart: Phosphorus, Kali, Nux vomica, China, Hydrastis, Arsenicum,

Crataegus, Belladonna, Spigelia, Cuprum, Aurum.

  1. The functional remedies are most numerous as the heart is disturbed by diseases and disorders in other parts of the body.

Palpitation may call for Aconite, Belladonna, Ignatia, Moschus, Lachesis, Phosphorus, Arsenicum, Coffea or Tabacum.

Angina Pectoris: Cactus, Spigelia, Gelsemium, Arsenicum, Veratrum Album, Belladonna, Spongia, Glonoine, Aurum, Lycopus.

Weak Heart. The chief remedies are Arnica, Ignatia, Digitalis, Nux Vomica, Bryonia, Arsenicum. Other remedies may be indicated.

Goitre Heart: Arsenicum, Spongia, Iodine, Bromine, Belladonna, Lachesis, Lycopus, Cimicifuga.

  1. The painful remedies may be divided into three classes, those with sharp pain, those with dull pain, and those with stitches of pain.

(1) The Sharp Pain remedies are: Bryonia, Spigelia, Kali carb., Cactus, Kalmia, Spongia, Arnica, Apis, Cimicifuga, Bromine, Colchicum, Graphites, Dioscorea, Phytolacca, Zincum.

(2) The Dull Pain remedies are: Veratrum viride, Aconite, Colchicum, Cimicifuga, Crataegus, Gelsemium, Lilium, Veratrum Album, Glonoine, Eupatorium, Belladonna, Cuprum.

(3) Those with Stitches or Pain are: Spigelia, Kali carb., Lycopus, Causticum, Graphites, Carbolic acid, Anacardium, Lachnanthes.


 6. Aconite. Frightened feeling at heart. Feverish, restless apprehension. Effects of cold and wet. Palpitation from wine.

  1. Veratrum Viride. High fever, stupor, Dull ache at heart. Rapid heart.
  1. Bryonia. Sharp pain in and about heart. Worse on motion. Rheumatic complication. Weak heart.
  1. Spigelia. Stitchlike pain in cardiac region. Suffocative attacks. Great dyspnoea at every change of position.
  1. Belladonna. Nervous palpitation with cerebral congestion. Attacks come and go suddenly. Pressure in the cardiac region which arrests the breathing causing anxiety.
  1. Digitalis. Very feeble, irregular action of the heart with feeble, small intermittent pulse. Sensation as if heart would stop, on motion.
  1. Kali carb. Stitchlike pains simulating Pleurisy. Gets out of breath on ascending stairs. Puffiness over eyes. Fatty heart — dropsical.
  1. Colchicum. Pressure and anxiety in precordial region worse at night, cannot lie on the left side.
  1. Arsenicum. Restlessness and anxiety with thirst for small quantities of water often. Worse at night— must sit up in bed.
  1. Cimicifuga. Heart’s action ceases suddenly — impending- suffocation. Pains

from heart all over chest and down left arm.

  1. Kalmia. Stitch pain in lower part of chest. Palpitation, dyspnoea.
  1. Squilla. Palpitation of heart. Precordial stitches (from pleurisy). Pulse small and slow slightly hard.
  1. Aesculus. Heart’s action full, heavy — feels the pulsation all over body. Darting pains in region of heart.
  1. Cactus. Sudden attacks of constriction of the heart as if an iron hand prevented it beating. With fright. Numbness of left arm.
  1. Apis. Sudden attacks of acute pain just below the heart extending diagonally towards the left chest. Puffiness above and below eyes especially in the morning.
  1. Apocynum. Pulse weak, intermittent. Inability to speak — catching breath.
  1. Hellebore. Palpitation (from effusion.) Pulse slower than beating of heart.
  1. Lycopodium. Sensation as if circulation stood still, from gas, — worse after 4 p. m. Red sand in urine.
  1. Mercurius. Weakness of heart. Pulse weak and trembling. Palpitation with fear. Worse at night. Tongue shows prints of teeth.
  1. Sulphur. Palpitation of heart. Worse going up hill and at night.
  1. Arnica. Weak, aching heart from exhaustion. Palpitation after almost any exertion goes off by rest. Sudden pain, as if heart were squeezed or as if it had got a shock.
  1. Plumbum. Palpitation. Rush of blood to heart from rapid walk. Inspiration produces stitchlike pain in heart.
  1. Naja. Violent sudden throbbing. Tumultuous action of heart. Hypertrophy.
  1. Lachesis. Suffocative palpitation worse after sleeping. Neck clothing must be loose. Climacteric.
  1. China. Weak heart from great loss of fluids or from exhaustion. No thirst, no appetite.
  1. Phosphorus. Palpitation. Rush of blood to chest. Tall, spare growing persons.
  1. Ferrum. Palpitations with nervous restlessness, better from moving about slowly. Congestion to head, spitting blood.
  1. Nux vomica. Food lies like a stone causing palpitation. Frontal headache, constipation, sleepy in the morning.
  1. Ipecac. Palpitation, almost without anxiety. Quick pulse.
  1. Hydrastis. Palpitation with faint gone feeling in precordial region.
  1. Ignatia. Palpitation of the heart at night and in the morning in bed. Headache in left frontal eminence. Sighing respiration.
  1. Crataegus. Dyspncea, gasping for breath. Pain in the heart. Pulse almost imperceptible.
  1. Moschus. Palpitation from mental excitement, anxiety or sexual excesses. Hysterical subjects.
  1. Gelsemium. Weak heart aggravated by fright. Chest ache with spasmodic action of heart, “must move for fear heart will stop.”
  1. Bromine. Hypertrophy in young, growing persons. Cutting pain extending upward from heart. Violent palpitations when walking and at night so cannot lie on left side.
  1. Spongia. Pain in heart. Dyspnoea. Starting from sleep with fear of suffocation.
  1. Iodine. Violent palpitation from the least exertion, better when lying perfectly quiet on the back. Constant, heavy, oppressive pain in cardiac region.
  1. Lycopus. Violent action of heart intermittent. Cardiac distress most marked at apex on waking, after slight exertion. Mitral regurgitation.
  1. Veratrum album. Periodical attacks of crampy pain in left chest, or to left shoulder. General prostration, cold clammy skin.
  1. Aurum. Violent palpitation with anxiety and tremulous fearfulness. Cardiac asthma.
  1. Rumex. Heart feels as if it suddenly stopped beating (Gelsemium) followed by a heavy throbbing through chest. Burning in region of heart.
  1. Tartar emetic. Palpitation of heart in old people. Pulse rapid, weak and trembling.
  1. Lilium. Dull, pressing and heavy pains as if heart were grasped and released alternately (Cactus). Trembling feeling at apex, worse on talking.
  1. Lithium carb. Pains in heart before and at time of urinating, also before and at time of menses. Sudden shocks in cardiac region. Nervous palpitation.
  1. Tabacum. Sudden precordial anguish, oppression of heart. Palpitation when lying on left side.
  1. Calcarea carb. Nervous palpitation after suppressed eruptions — pimples on the face from onanism. Tremulous palpitation with anguish, worse at night and after meals.
  1. Cuprum. Palpitation. Boring pain in region of heart. Stitches below heart.
  1. Phytolacca. Shocks of pain in cardiac region. Angina pectoris, pain goes into right arm.
  1. Baptisia. Compass and frequency of heart’s pulsations seem increased and to fill the chest, with slow and faint pulse.
  1. Amyl nitrite. Cardiac oppression and tumultuous heart action. Pain and constriction of heart (Cactus). Pulse irregular.
  2. Camphor. Precordial distress and nervous palpitation attended by coldness of the skin, cold extremities, pale face.
  1. Agaricus. Burning, shooting pain in region of heart extending to left shoulder blade, caused by deep inspiration, coughing, sneezing, hiccough. Anxious sensation of pressure in heart, oppression on bending the body. Feeble filiform pulse, becoming slow and irregular.
  1. Pulsatilla. Violent fits of palpitation often with anguish and obscuration of sight — better for a time from pressure of hand. Burning in cardiac region.
  1. Sepia. Palpitations, with anxiety about things which happened years ago. An occasional hard thump of the heart. Palpitation after mental emotion.
  1. Cocculus. Tremulous palpitation from quick motion and mental excitement, with dizziness and faintness. Pulse small, spasmodic, often imperceptible.
  1. Badiaga. Palpitation from any elating thought, with a fluttering and vibrating upon the slightest emotion of the mind. The heart is both heard and felt to pulsate at night, from chest up to neck.
  1. Laurocerasus. Violent palpitation of heart, with every beat. The heart’s action is feeble. Beating— fluttering sensation in cardiac region, gasps for breath, cold, moist skin. Pulse scarcely perceptible.
  1. Rhus. Hypertrophy, from violent exercise, with sticking pain and soreness. Numbness and lameness of left arm. Restlessness, must change position— always worse when keeping quiet.
  1. Natrum mur. Heart’s pulsations shake the body. Fluttering, weak, faint feeling, worse on lying down. Hypertrophy. Anxious palpitation, with morning headache. Pulse intermits with every third beat.
  1. Baryta. Feels the heart beat. Palpitation when lying on the left side, with soreness in the region of the heart, with great anxiety — renewed by thinking about it.
  1. Dioscorea. Sharp pain in region of heart, had to stop when walking on street. Cardiac distress. Sharp pricking pain in region of heart.
  1. Tarantula. Murmurs and beating of heart with alternate acceleration and suspension of beat. Trembling and thumping of heart, as from fright. Heart suddenly ceases to beat and patient fears to die. Pain in the heart as if squeezed or compressed (Cactus, Lilium).
  1. Carbo vegetabilis. Impending paralysis of heart, complete stupor, cyanosis, blood stagnates in capillaries, cold face and limbs, cold sweat, filiform, intermittent pulse.
  1. Causticum. Stitches about heart. Palpitation of heart. Oppression at the heart, with low spirits.
  1. Graphites. Sensation like an electric shock from the heart towards the front of neck. Constriction, pressure or stitches in cardiac region. Strong pulsation of blood in the whole body, but especially about heart, increased with every motion.
  1. Ambra. Anxiety at heart, causing oppression of breathing, with flushes of heat. Palpitation of heart when walking in open air, with paleness of face. Violent palpitation with pressure in chest as if a lump laid there or as if chest was stuffed up.
  1. Ammonia carb. Audible palpitation with attacks of great anxiety, as if dying. Pulse hard, tense, frequent.
  1. Anacardium. Stitch in region of heart, during inspiration, at night, stitches piercing through and through at the heart each time too quickly succeeding each other. Rheumatic attacks.
  2. Argentum nitr. Heart’s action irregular, intermittent, with an unpleasant sensation of fullness. Exertion causes strong beating, worse when noticing it. Constant anxious, burning feeling in region of heart.
  1. Asafoetida. Pressure in cardiac region, as if heart were too full and expanded. Nervous palpitations, with small pulse, breathing not oppressed, in women after suppressed discharges or bodily exertions.
  1. Benzoic acid. Pains change place incessantly; not constant around heart. Awakes after midnight with violent palpitations of heart and temporal arteries.
  1. Physostigma. Spasmodic trembling and twitching of the muscular fibres of heart. Each heart beat distinctly felt in chest and temples. Heart’s action irregular, feeble or tumultuous.
  1. Cannabis sat. Sensation as if cold water were dropping over the heart. Palpitation, gradual loss of flesh and strength, from imperfect oxidation of blood. Palpitation on moving body and on stooping, with warm sensation about heart.
  1. Carbolic acid. Stitches in cardiac region. Fearful beating of heart, especially at night with great dyspncea. Bellows murmur, mitral.
  1. Glonoine. Laborious action and pressure as if heart was being contracted. Violent palpitation, throbbing carotids, pulsating headache, worse stooping.
  1. Cicuta. Palpitation, feels as if heart stopped beating, with sensation of faintness.
  1. Clematis. Sharp stitches in region of heart, from within outward. Tearing pain in the forepart of chest above heart.
  1. Eupatorium. Pain, soreness and heaviness behind the sternum and in cardiac region, worse by the least motion, (Bryonia) or by turning the body around.
  1. Lachnanthes. Stitches in heart with great anxiety. While lying feels beating of heart to head. Trembling of heart with great debility. Sensation as if lump of ice in cardiac region, relieved somewhat by pressing chest together.
  1. Lobelia. Sensation as if heart would stand still. Deep pain above heart. Sensation of weakness and pressure in epigastrium, rising to heart.
  1. Nux Moschata. Nun’s murmur in carotids. Violent action of heart. Palpitation aud fainting followed by sleep. Heart beat irregular, pulse beat intermits so long as to excite fear of death.
  1. Petroleum. Cold feeling about heart (Lilium, Kali b.) Faintness, with ebullitions of heat, pressing on heart and palpitations.
  1. Podophyllum. Nervous palpitation from hepatic disturbance. Palpitation, with a clucking sensation rising to throat obstructing respiration. Palpitation from mental emotion or exertion with rumbling in ascending colon.
  1. Silica. Violent palpitation after quick or violent motion. Palpitation while sitting had to hold on to something.
  1. Psorinum. Dyspnoea with pain in cardiac region. Bellows murmur with first sound. Inability to lie down. (Arsenicum)
  1. Scutellaria. Nervous disorders of heart, as palpitation, tremor and strange sensations from emotional excitement. Irregular action of heart. Sensation of throbbing about heart, with flushed face.
  1. Secale. Palpitation, oftener at night, with contraction and frequently intermittent pulse.
  1. Stramonium. Beating of heart, so increased by motion he cannot speak for hours. Trembling, twitching murmurs, instead of regular sounds, consequent on fright.
  2. Sumbul. Action of heart full and sharp, irregular, rapid eight or ten times then slow [Arnica, Spigelia.) Left arm numb, with sharp shooting pain in fingers.
  1. Zincum met. Severe pain in cardiac region, some swelling and great tenderness— feels as if a cap were over heart. Irregular spasmodic action of heart, occasionally one violent thump.

In the literature on diseases of the heart, many remedies besides the foregoing you will find mentioned, and particularly Convallaria, Strophanthus and Kola, and stimulants.

Convallaria majalis I have given with good effect in right sided hypertrophy with attacks of palpitation, angina cordis and severe headache on the right side. The cardiac attacks were precipitated by over exertion. There was also, during these attacks, increase of the spinal hyperemia. These attacks would be followed by “feeble, irregular contraction with venous stasis” especially in the extremities. This remedy first stimulates and then is followed by depressed cardiac action, to which it is homeopathic.

Strophanthus acts in an opposite manner. We found by provings, that it first depresses the action of the heart, slows the pulse, and then it stimulates. It is therefore the similar remedy for those who have a slow heart action, but who suffer with attacks of palpitation. It benefits hard drinkers, taking away even the desire for stimulants.

Kola is a muscular stimulant. It takes away the desire for food and also postpones the muscular tire, as we found in proving it, but secondarily the myalgia is severe, even of the cardiac muscle. We can therefore use it with benefit in the myalgia met in athletes, bicycle riders, etc. It is allied to Arnica. These drugs deserve more thorough provings to develop their characteristics.

Alcohol is the base of all stimulants except those containing drugs, e.g.: Beer with its Lupulus; gin with Juniper, etc.  Alcohol is a toxic agent and not a food. The action of alcohol on the heart is first that of an excitant, then follows its general anesthetic effect and if continued muscular degeneration, e. g., “hypertrophy of the left side of the heart” and “valvular insufficiency.” It is this condition that Strophanthus (seven drops of tinct.) has benefited. It is safest to give a higher potency.

Acetic Acid also antidotes alcoholic effects (as does a salt solution). Like all acids it first accelerates the cardiac pump, even to angina and haemoptysis; then we have “a weak, small pulse.” In dropsy it is therefore similar and follows Digitalis well.

It would seem that among these ninety-five drugs there should he found one for any case of cardiac disorder. The fact is that in most of the cases the first few remedies are the ones from which to select. They are therefore arranged in the order of importance rather than alphabetically.

Excerpted from: Hand Book On The Diseases Of The Heart And Their Homeopathic Treatment  – Thomas C. Duncan, M. D., Ph. D., LL. D.. Published 1898.

About the author

Thomas C. Duncan

Thomas C.Duncan, M.D., Ph.D., LL.D. Consulting Physician to the Chicago Foundlings' Home.
Editor of The United States Medical Investigator. Member of the Chicago Paedological Society. First President of the American Paedological Society Author of: Diseases of infants and children, with their homoeopathic treatment. Published 1878 and Hand book on the diseases of the heart and their homeopathic treatment. by Thomas C. Duncan, M.D. Published 1898



  • Dear Dr Gupta,

    Thank you for pointing out the important remedy Arjuna.

    Terminalia Arjuna (term-a) is a wonderful drug well known to practitioners in India. Unfortunately it is under-represented in our repertories. It is very good for both functional and organic disease of the heart.

    But its use in case of injury is often overlooked. It is excellent for fractures, falls, ecchymosis – often combining the therapeutic action of Ruta, Arnica, Hypericum and Symphytum.

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