A very common diagnosis received at your Doctors visit is High Blood Pressure but what causes it and how can we reverse it without using drugs with all their nasty side effects?
There are lots of natural and safe alternatives to blood pressure medications that should be considered.
What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems.
“Blood pressure” is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.
About 1 in 3 adults in the United States and New Zealand has HBP. The condition itself usually has no signs or symptoms. You can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, though, HBP can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.
Knowing your blood pressure numbers is important because it can guide you towards making the right adjustments if needed.
Blood Pressure Numbers
Blood pressure is measured as systolic and diastolic pressures. “Systolic” refers to blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. “Diastolic” refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
You most often will see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80
The table below shows normal blood pressure numbers for adults. It also shows which numbers put you at greater risk for health problems.
Categories for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults (measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg)
The standard approach by allopathic doctors is to prescribe medications of three major categories:
- Blood thinners so help blood flow easier;
- Diuretics to eliminate excess fluids; and
- Beta-blockers or Vasodilators to relax and reduce heart and arterial muscle tension.
These are valid approaches, but there are natural alternatives to these standard drug approaches which should be tried first. The real solution lies in finding the underlying cause of your high blood pressure. We will discuss these causes and some natural solutions below.
What causes high blood pressure?
Blood behaves much like any other liquid. It’s largely water and contains blood cells designed to carry oxygen around the body. When your body needs more oxygen, like when you exercise, your blood has to be pumped harder and faster, so it’s normal for your blood pressure to rise when you exercise. It should return to normal pressure within a couple of minutes, once you return to rest.
The blood vessels, veins, and arteries through which the blood flows act just like water pipes. The bigger pipes are close to the heart and the smallest is the furthest from the heart in the tissues and organs where the oxygen is used. If the pipes become clogged then the pressure will go up. Drugs are sometimes given to thin the blood artificially, but we really don’t want to be taking these. The most dangerous blood thinner is called Warfarin which was traditionally used as a rat poison because it causes severe internal bleeding.
Another thing that can restrict blood flow is the viscosity (thickness) of the blood. Sugar consumption, especially fructose increases blood viscosity (3) making it harder for the heart to pump blood thus increasing blood pressure. Fructose is a common sugar added to many processed foods. One study found that Capsaicin from Chili peppers was able to clean up this thickened blood after eating too much sugar (4), so a good chili meal can help keep the blood thin.
A coronary artery spasm is a temporary, sudden narrowing of one of the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply blood to the heart). The spasm slows or stops blood flow through the artery and starves a part of the heart of oxygen-rich blood. The spasm can slow or stop blood flow through the artery. The main symptom experienced is chest pain. The spasm often occurs in coronary arteries that have NOT become hardened due to plaque buildup (atherosclerosis). However, it also can occur in arteries with plaque buildup. This points to the possibility that a simple spasm, similar to a muscle cramp is occurring. (2)
If you are under stress, worry a lot, get cramps in your legs and suffer tightness in the chest then you probably need magnesium. One of the best things you can do to get magnesium is to take Epsom salt baths regularly. This can relax the muscles throughout the entire body reducing pressure on your blood vessels and heart.
This simple treatment can change your life and reduce stress and tension significantly. An Epsom salt bath can contain 2-3 cups of Epsom salt (magnesium chloride) and you can soak for 20 minutes 3 x weekly for best results.
The results of one study showed that the impact of overweight and obesity on hypertension had increased significantly from 1980 to 2010 comparing overweight and obesity with normal weight. (1)
Hypertension is increasingly common in overweight and obese children, (6) which indicates a connection. It makes perfect sense when you consider the commonly accepted laws of liquid pressures. For example “The pressure a liquid exerts against the sides and bottom of a container depends on the density and the depth of the liquid.” The bigger your body is the more pressure there must be on the system. The more volume, mass, and weight of the body the more overall pressure there must be.
Losing weight will almost always result in a lowering of blood pressure.
Studies suggest that kidney function has a strong influence on blood pressure (5), and diuretics (kidney stimulants) are often prescribed by doctors in an attempt to lower blood pressure. One class of clinical medicines used to lower blood pressure are known as diuretics and work by increasing the excretion of urine from the body as well as the amount of sodium in the urine.
Most of us naturally assume that stress can cause high blood pressure. Overall, there is growing empirical support for the hypothesis that exposure to chronic psychosocial stress contributes to the development of hypertension. Managing stress could therefore be part of an HBP prevention strategy.
Diet for Hypertension
The DASH diet effectively reduces blood pressure. In observational studies, the association between diets consistent with DASH and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke has also been examined with varying results. (13)
The main thing to remember is to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less meat and dairy products.
To see our recommended list of foods and recipes click here and select ‘Blood Pressure’ from the ‘Special Diet’ selector.
Herbal Circulatory Stimulants
Ginger has been used for thousands of years for the treatment of hypertension. (7) It has an effect similar to aspirin and studies show Ginger has promise in the reduction of platelet aggregation (8) which means it reduces blood coagulation, reducing the viscosity of the blood. Ginger and Cayenne can be used in place of blood thinners, and are both found in the Ultimate Herbal DETOX
Herbal Muscle Relaxants
Peppermint leaves are employed for internal oral use to relax muscles, especially intestinal spasms, but generally speaking, peppermint taken internally is very calming and relaxing, so may have merit in situations of tension and stress.
Lavender is well known to relax the muscles throughout the body. Rub the oil into tight aching muscles or add a few drops of lavender oil into your bath.
Kava is a traditional remedy for relaxing the muscles. It’s especially good if you’re having trouble sleeping. Get Kava Liquid or powder and make your own drink.
Weight Management Herbs
Herbs that help reduce weight include:
- Green Tea – Clinical studies suggest that green tea extract may boost metabolism and help burn fat.
- Garcinia – It was concluded that hydroxycitrate derived from the fruit of Garcinia might be useful for lowering cholesterol levels and enhancing overall body weight loss.
- Cayenne – Cayenne has been shown to encourage weight loss. Three main areas of potential benefit for weight management were found: increased energy expenditure increased lipid oxidation and reduced appetite.
These can all be found in the Ultimate Herbal SLIM program
Of these, the most promising, at the present time, is the species Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel). (9) One study showed Fennel increased water, sodium, and potassium excretion indicating hypotensive activity (10)
The power your mind can have over your body is well documented and the effects of energy healing are also well recognized. Applying the power of healing energy and your mind should never be underestimated when it comes to healing any health condition. (12)
Meditation for Blood Pressure
A recent meta-analysis of various stress reduction interventions including biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, stress management training, and meditation, found that only meditation was associated with significant BP reductions.
See my Recommended meditation method here.
Along with the Weight loss benefits and blood-thinning effect of these herbs, it is no wonder that people often report a reduction in blood pressure after completing this herbal Detox program. Of course, the changes towards a Detox diet which also help lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar and acid levels in the body will all be contributing factors.
Reduction of alcohol, smoking, sugar, and regular exercise all play a part in a long-term reduction in blood pressure.
A good detox and weight management program are good steps towards making such commitments to change. People who complete the Ultimate Herbal DETOX report systolic blood pressure dropping by up to 20 points.
(1) Secular trends of the impact of overweight and obesity on hypertension in Japan, 1980-2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26178153
(2) Coronary artery spasm http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000159.htm
(3) Effect of a high-fructose diet on glucose tolerance, plasma lipid and hemorheological parameters during oral contraceptive administration in female rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22679744
(4) [Effects of capsaicin on oxidative modification of blood plasma proteins and arterial blood pressure in fructose-fed rats]. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22679744
(5) Device-based approaches for renal nerve ablation for hypertension and beyond. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26217232
(6) Pathophysiology of hypertension in obese children: a systematic review. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26098701
(7) The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22593941
(8) The influence of herbal medicine on platelet function and coagulation: a narrative review. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25839871
(9) Herbal medicines as diuretics: a review of the scientific evidence. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17804183
(10) Pharmacological evidence of hypotensive activity of Marrubium vulgare and Foeniculum vulgare in a spontaneously hypertensive rat. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11349824
(11) Chronic Psychosocial Stress and Hypertension. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3694268/
(12) A Consideration of the Perspectives of Healing Practitioners on Research Into Energy Healing. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4654782/
(13) Consistency with the DASH diet and incidence of heart failure. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682222/