Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Can You Lower Blood Pressure with Herbs?

Lower Blood Pressure with Herbs?

What we know as high blood pressure is termed as ‘hypertension’ by the medical fraternity. Stress is perhaps one of the most commonly known causes of hypertension, but it is not the only cause. Primary hypertension is the most common type of hypertension. It has unknown causes and is manageable/treatable by making basic lifestyles modifications and sometimes even without high blood pressure medication. Secondary hypertension is normally caused by an underlying clinical disorder. Pregnancy and certain medications like oral contraceptives can also result in an increase in blood pressure.

Obese people are more prone to primary hypertension and so are those who smoke, indulge in alcohol abuse or are generally stressed. An impairment of the kidneys, hormonal disorders, disorders of the thyroid and the adrenal glands is usually the underlying cause behind secondary hypertension.

According to the American Heart Association nearly 33% of adults have high blood pressure. It is a silent disease, and most people who suffer from hypertension do not even realize that they have a condition that needs monitoring.

Natural remedies for high blood pressure like herbal and homeopathic medicines can lower blood pressure in hypertension patients to a great degree. Herbs can provide multiple benefits as they contain complex compounds, which have long lasting effects.

Forskohlin, produced by the Indian plant Coleus (Plectranthus barbatus), is commonly used as a vasodilator. Vasodilators relax the smooth muscles in vessels causing them to dilate. Dilation of arterial vessels ultimately reduces blood pressure.
Mistletoe (Viscum album) is a parasitic plant that survives on branches of trees or shrubs. This too dilates blood vessels to reduce blood pressure. Mistletoe is also used as an anti-cancer herb.
Studies have shown that garlic and garlic supplements significantly lower the systolic pressure as well as diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the upper or the first number in the blood pressure reading and diastolic is the lower reading. Garlic also has numerous other health benefits and is specifically recommended for those who are at an increased risk of heart disease.
Arjuna Bark (Terminalia Arjuna) is from a tree that grows in abundance in India. Its bark has been the mainstay of Ayurvedic treatment of hypertension as well as congestive heart failure and coronary heart disease.
The essential oil of Black Cumin Seeds (Nigella Sativa) has traditionally been used in Asia, the Middle East and Africa for treating a variety of diseases and general wellbeing. Its usefulness in circulatory and respiratory conditions including high blood pressure needs specific mention.
Indian Snakeroot (Rauwolfia Serpentina) contains reserpine, an antihypertensive, and was one of the first commercially available herbal medicines for blood pressure.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a general tonic that improves overall health, maintain blood pressure and improve vitality.
Unlike conventional medicines, herbal medicines seldom have any side effects when taken in accordance with recommended doses. Some herbs are not recommended in certain cases as they may have an adverse affect on other conditions that a hypertensive patient may be struggling with. For example, Rauwolfia Serpentina should not be taken by patients suffering from depression, stomach ulcers or ulcerative colitis. Garlic, on the other hand, can result in thinning of the blood, as can aspirin, and cause problems with blood clotting if taken in excess.



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