In the first part of this article we took a look at the aetiology of high blood pressure and also how natural remedies can –play a role in the treatment of high blood pressure. In this second part we shall take a look at the natural remedies themselves.
This is fairly obvious. High blood pressure develops largely as a consequence of poor lifestyle changes. Lack of physical movement reduces blood flow in the body, which in turn makes the cardiovascular system less efficient, is one aspect of this. Another comes about as a consequence of sitting for long periods of time, which constricts the flow of blood through the hip area, which in turn can increase blood pressure levels or even in some cases promote blood clots (deep vein thrombosis). Finally poor diet often results in a build-up of plaque in the arteries which in turn restricts the flow of blood, thus promoting high BP.
So the first stage in a natural cure for high blood pressures is to make positive lifestyle changes. Obvious tactics includes cleaning up ones diet and exercising, or at least moving regularly. Also because of our sedentary lifestyle, we tend to sit too much and this in itself can result in a restriction of blood flow, it makes sense to make an effort to get up from our desks and move around on a regular basis. In our busy offices it can be an easy thing to sit for hours without moving, also this can happen easily when at home while we sit either sitting on the coach looking at the TV or computer or smart phone, so this can be watched out for. So make a point of not sitting in the one place for hours. Try to get conscious of the need to move around.
Ideally we should all live a physical active life but since this is difficult for most of us these days, we should at least be conscious enough to remind ourselves to get up and move maybe every half an hour or so. A couple of laps around the corner or even just walking around the house, or possible doing performing some household choirs, will go a long way towards stimulating the blood flow and thus helping to balance blood pressure levels.
While on the subject of lifestyle changes we must look at lifestyle stress, since a big contributor of high blood pressure levels is stress, that often blood pressure levels can be reduced simply by reducing life stress. Meditation can help a lot, another approach is to do some relaxation exercises or simply make a point of finding ways to relax. For example during the work day, maybe take a few minutes out to read a good book or play an interesting game on your smart phone, can help one relax a lot. This kind of simple escapism can often be more effective than one might at first realise. The reason why stress raises blood pressure levels is because of a constant current of unconscious stress upon the mind of the individual. Stress promotes a state of constant worry, which depletes and stresses the person thus rising blood pressure elves. While it is not possible to make a break from life stress, something as simple as taking a ten minute break from mental work, can make a big difference to our stress levels. When we relax via some silly past time, we reduce these mental pressure levels. Reading a book, playing a game, playing a musical instrument or even watching an entertaining TV program, can all help to reduce stress levels. So just like we have become accustomed to sitting in one place, so too we tend to put too much pressure on our minds. Take a few minutes out, several times a day, especially during our working hours, will go a long way towards rebalancing blood pressure levels!
Apart from lifestyle changes the other variations on natural remedies comes the usage of herbs which will improve blood pressure levels.
Cinnamon: In a study of diabetic patients who took cinnamon, they noted a reduction in diastolic pressure, from an average pressure of 85.2 to 80.2. 1 A dosage of around 2 to 4 grams a day of cinnamon has a pronounced effect on lowering blood pressure levels and also in improving diabetic sugar control. Cinnamon is the most powerful of all herbs for diabetes and often diabetics suffer from high blood pressure levels, so here we are hitting two birds with the one stone!
Ginger: Ginger is a great yang tonic (active energy booster) and it also works really well at helping to reporter the imbalance that is high BP. High blood pressure levels are always associated with some degree of a subtle energetic imbalance and regular intake of ginger will often promote the normalisation of blood pressure levels.
Garlic: Once again garlic is also a great tonic for overall health and wellbeing. Also in clinical trials they noted a decrease in blood pressure levels, which was in tandem to the quantity of garlic imbibed per day. In this study, they gave participants anywhere from 300mg to 1500mg a day and noted that at a dosage of 1500mg per day, that the participants average blood pressure levels dropped by approximately 9.5%2
Cardamom: In a study carried out on high blood pressure patients who took 3 grams a day of cardamom they noted a reduction in blood pressure levels of 8.7%.3
Rauvolfia serpentine: Rauvolfia serpentine (snakeroot) is the least know herb for treating high blood pressure. It also happens to be the most effective herbs at treating high blood pressure. Snakeroot is a powerful vasorelaxant and it will reduce blood pressure levels considerably. In a study of 50 hypertensive patients, they noted a reduction of 10 points in blood pressure levels, so a patient with a blood pressure level of 140/100 would see a reduction down to 130/90, which is considerable. 4 Also rauvolfia serpentine works quickly, within a few days’ blood pressure levels will normalise. In my experience, snakeroot is just as effective as any first line hypertensive medications. Snakeroot can be either bought as a powder or as a dried herb. If taken as a dried herb, simply take a few roots and keep in a small container with 50ml of water overnight, then strain and serve. Refill the container with another 50ml of water and add in the same roots again. Take this drink twice a day and change roots after a couple of days.
Snakeroot really is very effective and apparently it gets its name thanks to its ability to fight of the negative effects of snakebite. Also rauvolfia serpentine is a strong yang herb (from a TCM perspective).
Whereas ginger, garlic, cinnamon and cardamom are general health notifying herbs and should be used frequently in great dosages, I recommend a more conservative approach to rauvolfia serpentine, as it is just as powerful as any medicine and should be taken if anything conservatively. Also I would recommend cycling on and off of it from time to time. The great thing about rauvolfia serpentine is that if your high blood pressure is so severe so as to be incurable, then at least you can either cycle back and forth between allopathic medicines and snakeroot or in severe cases, where even with drugs the blood pressure levels are not going down, you can always add in rauvolfia serpentine into the mix, so as to bring things back into balance. As noted earlier, while we may all like a cure in some times this is not possible, so we just have to do our best!
Putting it All Together
I think that lifestyle changes are pretty obvious, we all kind of know what we have to do here, we have to become more active, less stressed and improve our diets, but what about herbs and their effects on blood pressure levels?
Herbs tend to be weaker than allopathic medicines, but they have few side effects and when combined together they often have a synergistic effect.
Also one reason why a lot of people don’t get a great effect, from the everyday herbs mentioned above, is that they take too little and too infrequently. Eating a couple of cloves of garlic a week, for example, won’t cut it. Rather think in terms of at least 3 cloves of garlic a day, a decent amount of ginger and the other herbs, in the range of 2 grams or more per day. Ginger and cinnamon and cardamom can be used to make a natural tea, for example. So start taking a good quantity of these herbs every day. As for rauvolfia serpentine, treat it with a little bit more respect as it is very powerful and should be cycled on and off.
Looking at the chart below us can see the relationship between herbs and blood pressure cure
Level of Cure Hypertensive Levels
Complete Mild borderline hypertensive patient
Partial Borderline/Average hypertensive patient
Maintenance Severe hypertension
So what we can see here, is that it’s not a black and white proposition, whereby a cure is guaranteed. In some cases, a complete remission of high blood pressure can take place; in these instances a partial cure can occur whereby the patient has hypertension some of the time and in severe cases whether the patient uses drugs and/or herbs, doesn’t matter so much as in they are treating the symptoms rather than curing the disease!
So first of all we must realise that hypertension is not a disease, but it is an imbalance and in many cases once the body has being habituated to raised BP levels. it becomes impossible to maintain normal BP levels all the time or certainly not without assistance. So for a borderline BP patient, herbs and lifestyle changes may well maintain blood pressure levels without resorting to hypertensive medications most, if not all of the time. But once the patient stops taking the herbs and returns to a sedentary and stressed lifestyle, the blood pressure levels will raise once again.
However, in the case of people who have really high blood pressure levels such as 170/130 for instance, it is unlikely that they can reverse their condition. However, they have to bring their blood pressure levels back into the 130/90 range, simply to avoid long term health damage. So for these individuals they are looking at maintenance rather than cure. In this case stronger herbs, such as rauvolfia serpentine can be added into the mix and cycled in with regular medication.
So while we would like a cure sometimes a cure is not possible in which case maintenance of blood pressure elves with as little allopathic medications as possible is to be recommended, because the herbs wall actually reduce seem toms whereas a dependence upon allopathic medications will create a lot of collateral damage over time!
So there you have it natural remedies for high blood pressure!
High blood pressure is the number one and two cause of death in this world and we could all do with taken better care of our health. If you suffer with high blood pressure or know anyone who does, then read and share this article with them. There is a lot which can be done to turn around high blood pressure levels (if caught early and even long term and chronic blood pressure patients can gain a good deal of respite via natural herbal remedies!)
For part one please click here:
1. Effects of Cinnamon Consumption on Glycemic Status, Lipid Profile and Body Composition in Type 2 Diabetes Patients
Vafa, Mohammad Reza; Mohammadi, Farhad; Shidfar, Farzad; Mohammadhossein Salehi Sormaghi; Heidari, Iraj; et al. International Journal of Preventive Medicine 3.8 (Aug 2012): n/a.
2. Effects of Allium sativum (Garlic) on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension
Rizwan Ashraf1, Rafeeq Alam Khan2, Imran Ashraf3 and Absar A Qureshi1 1Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia 2Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 3Department of Geriatric Medicine, Geriatric/General and Stroke medicine at Darent valley Hospital, Dartford, London, UK
3. [PDF] Blood pressure lowering, fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of cardamom(Elettaria cardamomum)
SK Verma, V Jain, SS Katewa – Indian journal of biochemistry & …, 2009 – researchgate.net
4. Mechanism of Hypotensive Action of Reserpine, an Alkaloid of Rauwolfia serpentina
E. G. MCQUEEN, A. E. DOYLE & F. H. SMIRK
Department of Medicine, Otago University Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand. July 20.