A range of natural and home remedies can help manage atrial fibrillation, such as yoga, exercise, and dietary choices.

When a person has atrial fibrillation (A-fib), their heart’s upper chambers can quiver, leading to an irregular heart rhythm. It can be acute, happening from time to time, but some people have chronic or persistent A-fib.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, weakness, heart palpitations, and sometimes a heart murmur. Blood clots can sometimes develop in the upper chambers, increasing the risk of stroke.

A-fib treatments will depend on individual symptoms and other factors. It is important for people to follow a doctor’s advice related to A-fib treatments, but some might also choose to supplement medical treatments with natural ones.

This article discusses some ways to help treat A-fib naturally.

There is limited research to support the use of natural treatments for A-fib, but some options may help reduce its symptoms and effects.

They include:

Some triggers for A-fib include:

  • fatigue
  • air pollution
  • caffeine
  • some over-the-counter and prescription medications
  • recreational drugs

Acupuncture

Acupuncture sessions of up to 20 minutes may help treat A-fib, according to a 2022 review. The research looked at the use of acupuncture and medication for A-fib compared with medication use only.

Acupuncture involves applying small needles to specific points on the body to promote energy flow.

It works by:

  • increasing blood circulation
  • reducing inflammation
  • calming the nervous system

The acupuncture point has a link with managing heart rhythm issues. More research is still needed.

Yoga

Yoga involves deep breathing, meditation, and body postures. According to one study, regular yoga practice for 1 hour, 3 days a week, may reduce the number of A-fib episodes.

It is unclear exactly how yoga reduces the incidence of A-fib, but researchers suggest it could reduce stress and inflammation that damages the heart as well as lowering a person’s resting heart rate.

What are some research-backed health benefits of yoga?

One natural herb formula reported to reduce A-fib and its symptoms is the Chinese herb extract Wenxin Keli (WXKL), which consists of five ingredients.

A 2015 review of WXKL’s effects suggested that taking this herbal formula could:

  • reduce changes to the heart that can occur as a result of A-fib
  • improve the maintenance of regular rhythm
  • have similar benefits as the beta-blocker sotalol in maintaining regular heart rhythms
  • reduce symptoms associated with A-fib, such as chest tightness, palpitations, and difficulty sleeping

However, there is not enough evidence to make dosage recommendations for WXKL.

Other research studied the effects of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbs compared with prescription medications in treating A-fib.

The researchers concluded that:

  • TCM users had a reduced risk for stroke (1.93%) compared with non-TCM users (12.59%).
  • TCM users who were female or under 65 experienced the greatest stroke reduction benefits.
  • Those older than age 65 did not experience a significantly reduced stroke risk.

However, the study also did not track other factors that could have affected the risk of A-fib, including lifestyle habits and the use of other herbal medications.

TCM uses many herbs, and some may not be safe to use with pharmaceutical medications. For example, a useful herb such as Dan Shen can interact harmfully with warfarin, a blood thinner that doctors often prescribe for people with A-fib.

A person should consult with both a physician and a qualified Chinese herbal medicine specialist — such as an acupuncturist — before using Chinese herbal medicine. People can find a TCM specialist through the website of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Here are some other herbs and supplements that may help treat A-fib, according to some 2015 research:

Can supplements help with arrthymia?

Lifestyle habits and dietary factors can potentially trigger episodes of A-fib.

Examples include:

  • Smoking and tobacco use: The risk appears to be higher for current smokers than those who have quit.
  • High alcohol intake: Consuming alcohol, even 7–14 drinks per week, appears to contribute to A-fib, but eliminating alcohol can reduce the incidence and severity of A-fib in those with this condition.
  • A high caffeine intake: A 2019 study found that consuming 1–3 cups of coffee a day might be more helpful at managing A-fib than no coffee or four or more cups.
  • Cough and cold medications that contain stimulants: Ingredients such as dextromethorphan or promethazine-codeine may increase the risk.

Some people are more sensitive to medications and additives than others. If a person notices that eating a certain food or drink increases the incidence of irregular heart rhythms, they should talk with their doctor.

Which foods should people eat or avoid with A-fib?

Healthy lifestyle choices can promote heart health overall and may help reduce the incidence of A-fib or lessen the risk of worsening symptoms.

Examples of healthful habits to follow include:

  • eating a healthy, balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • exercising regularly
  • managing high blood pressure through both medications and natural treatments, if desired
  • avoiding excess intakes of alcohol and caffeine
  • managing long-term conditions that could contribute to or worsen A-fib

Long-term conditions that could contribute to A-fib include high blood pressure, sleep apnea, thyroid disease, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

According to the American Heart Association, a person with A-fib is five times more likely to have a stroke than someone who does not have a history of heart disease. By working to prevent cardiac complications, a person can live a healthier life with A-fib.

What are some tips for stopping an A-fib episode?

Some 21–74% of people with A-fib have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and treating OSA may help manage A-fib, experts say.

People with OSA stop breathing for brief periods while they are asleep. This can weaken the heart as it has to start working harder to make up for the lost oxygen when a person stops breathing.

Symptoms that suggest a person could be experiencing sleep apnea include:

  • being told they snore
  • waking themselves up at night with snoring or irregular breathing
  • having excessive daytime sleepiness

Anyone with these symptoms should consult a doctor. A cardiologist and sleep specialist can work together to help manage OSA and A-fib.

Here are some questions people often ask about A-fib.

How can you get rid of A-fib naturally?

It is essential to seek medical advice for A-fib or other changes in heart rhythm, but some natural remedies can support medical treatment. They include:

  • avoiding or limiting the intake of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine
  • getting enough exercise
  • following a varied and nutritious diet
  • trying acupuncture, yoga, or both
  • asking a doctor about supplements and herbal remedies

Is it possible to reverse A-fib naturally?

Natural remedies can help manage A-fib, but chronic A-fib is a serious heart condition that needs medical attention to prevent severe complications. While it is possible to have only one episode, it is usually recurrent, although people may not always notice the symptoms.

A-fib is a serious heart condition that involves unusual heart rhythms. Various lifestyle, home, and natural remedies can help manage it.

However, a person with A-fib or other heart issues should always follow a doctor’s advice and check with a doctor before using any new remedy.

Anyone using herbal or alternative therapies should ensure work with a qualified practitioner and also inform a doctor.

Serious complications can arise if a person does not seek treatment for A-fib, such as a stroke, blood clot, or heart failure.