Alternative Approaches: A Natural Way to Help Control High Blood Pressure
A Natural Way to Help Control High Blood Pressure
by Jennifer LB Leese
Last month I spoke about natural remedies to help control low blood pressure. This week it's high blood pressure. Many of us have heard people fuss about high blood pressure.
"Blood pressure shows the contractile powers of the heart and resistance of the blood vessels. The blood pressure increases every two years about one degree. The normal blood pressure is approximately 125 and at sixty it is 140. Persons who are weak physically have a slightly lower pressure. Those who exercise have higher blood pressure."
"Here is a range of blood pressures and how they rate:
* Normal 120/80
* Border 120/90 to 160/94
* Mild 140/95 to 160/104
* Moderate 140/105 to 180/114
* Severe 160 plus/115 plus" (HealthGuidance.org)
According to the American Heart Association "nearly one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, but because there are no symptoms, nearly one-third of these people don't know they have it. In fact, many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure. This is why high blood pressure is often called the "silent killer." The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked."
The cause for 90 to 95 percent of high blood pressure cases is unknown. In such the case, you have what's called essential or primary hypertension. Factors that may lead to high blood pressure in the remaining 5-10 percent of cases, which are known as secondary hypertension, include: kidney abnormality, a structural abnormality of the aorta (large blood vessel leaving the heart) existing since birth, and narrowing of certain arteries*.
Blood pressure is determined by 3 main factors - cardiac output (the rate at which blood is pumped from the heart), the volume of blood in the blood vessels, and the capacity of the blood vessels (as determined by their internal diameter).
There are several causes for high blood pressure. Here are a few tips to help get you started in the right direction...
Naturally treating high blood pressure includes making lifestyle changes. Controlling risk factors associated with high blood pressure can reduce your risks for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, so be sure to consult your healthcare professional's recommendations carefully. But sometimes, when lifestyle changes aren't enough, your doctor can also prescribe medication.
Lose weight if you're overweight. Many people with high blood pressure are also overweight. Losing extra pounds will reduce the strain on your heart, therefore, helping to drop your blood pressure to a manageable rate. If you're given a diet, follow it closely.
Get regular physical activity. Lack of physical activity leads to added pounds. The American Heart Association defines regular physical activity as moderate to vigorous exercise 30-60 minutes a day on most or all days of the week. "Physical activity should definitely be a part of your life."
Avoid too much alcohol. We've all heard reference to the "beer" belly - some studies say that drinking more than 3 to 4 ounces of 80-proof alcohol per day will raise blood pressure.
Stop smoking. Smoking is another major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Controlling your stress. Relaxing for short periods during your workday, at night and on weekends can also help lower your blood pressure. Stress may lead to smoking, alcohol consumption, and overeating...all risks for high blood pressure.
Manage your salt intake. Salt has become a regular sprinkle to most Americans lives. We spread way too much. Start reading the package, listen to your doctor, and try cooking without it knowing that you will just add it later - all of this will help with your blood pressure.
Eat healthy. "The American Heart Association Nutrition Committee recommends that you avoid a high intake of salt and eat enough fruits, vegetables, fat-free and low-fat dairy products. Such diets are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium and protein, and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol."
Discuss your medications with your doctor. Some medications can raise blood pressure and/or interfere with the effectiveness of drugs used against high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure should tell their doctor all of the prescribed and over-the-counter medicines they're taking.
Kelp...works as an arterial cleansing agent and gives tone to the walls of the blood vessels. It is helpful in some cases of arterial tension (high blood pressure).
Shepherd's Purse: Acts to constrict the blood vessels and thus can raise blood pressure but it has also been said to regularize blood pressure and heart action whether the pressure is too high or too low.
Garlic is a good oxygen carrier. One of the greatest aids for low or high blood pressure because of oxygen starvation is deep breathing, which serves as a catalyst and helps the herbs react more rapidly. An immediate increase in circulation may be obtained by the use of cayenne and non mucus-forming foods. Grape juice as well as beet and pomegranate juice rebuild and give endurance to the system.
Valerian: The herb has a beneficial effect on the heart and on blood pressure.
Hawthorn Berries: A celebrated cardiac tonic for many centuries. Under conditions of stress, the heart often "works overtime." Hawthorn berries can help in treatment of high or low blood pressure, tachycardia, and arrhythmia. It is also anti-spasmodic, sedative, and soothing to nerves, especially in nervous insomnia.
Vegetables: The green bell-shaped pepper is especially good for high blood pressure; peaches are also considered valuable as are pineapples, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Fish oil: Although fish oil supplements often contain both DHA (docohexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoice acid), there is some evidence that DHA is the ingredient that lowers high blood pressure.
Here are few useful high blood pressure cure home recipes:
High Blood Pressure Tea
1 quart boiling water
1 teaspoon each hawthorn berries and flowers, ginger rhizome, valerian root and motherwort leaves
Pour boiling water over the combined herbs and steep for 20 minutes. Strain herbs. Drink at least 2 cups a day. You can also make these herbs into a tincture using the same proportions, or you can look for commercial tinctures with similar herbs in them. (MotherNature.com)
Lowering Massage Oil
12 drops each orange and geranium essential oils
2 drops cinnamon essential oil
4 ounces vegetable oil
Combine ingredients. Use as massage oil or add a teaspoon to your bath, and stir well to disperse it before getting in the tub. (MotherNature.com)
Stress Relief Bath Tea
1.5 cup Epsom salt
1 cup sea salt
1 cup lavender
1 cup chamomile
30 drops lavender essential oil
Mix the above herbs in a large bowl. (Makes about 14 1/4cup baths). Place the ingredients in a small muslin bag. Add to your bath water.
Consumerlab.com is building a database of natural remedy brands that it tests and rates. Not all are yet available.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has a program called MEDWATCH for people to report adverse reactions to untested substances, such as herbal remedies and vitamins (800-332-1088).
A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.
Source: *American Heart Association, Health.nineMSN, Herbs2000, MotherNature.com, HerbalMusings, Herbal Medicine in Holisticonline.com, and The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffmann