Ayurvedic and Dietary Treatments for High Blood Pressure
or hypertension is the condition when the blood flow in the arteries and veins is forced under a higher pressure than normal. This can happen due to the weakness of the heart or due to the buildup of cholesterol in the coronary arteries, which can reduce their lumen. Today, most people in the world are suffering from hypertension, though it is not always fatal. Proper medication and a positive lifestyle can make people with higher blood pressures lead a long and happy life. However, neglect can cause severe fatal problems like myocardial infarctions (heart attacks).
High blood pressure is known as Rakta Gata vata in Ayurveda. It can be caused due to vitiation of any of the three doshas, though the contribution of the vata dosha may be more, as it is responsible for the circulation of blood. The following are the main precipitating factors for people with different doshas:-
1. Vata type of Hypertension - This is caused by extreme emotions such as worry, anxiety and stress.
2. Pitta type of Hypertension - This is caused by negative emotions such as hatred, jealousy and feeling for revenge.
3. Kapha type of Hypertension - This is caused by problems with the digestive system.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of High Blood Pressure
1. (Medicago satina)
Alfalfa contains several elements which are needed in the softening of the hard arteries. This reduces the tension in the arteries and hence helps to treat hypertension.
2. (Achillea millefolium)
Bloodwort is a sweat-inducing herb. It makes the blood flow towards the skin for expelling the sweat. Due to this free movement of the blood, the high blood pressure is reduced. Bloodword contains an alkaloid which is effective in reducing high blood pressure.
3. (Allium sativum)
Garlic is an antispasmodic agent. Hence it reduces the pressure in the arteries caused due to the pumping action of the heart during blood circulation. Garlic creates a rhythm in the pumping of the heart, which eases the pulse. Other high blood pressure problems such as dizziness, shortness of breath and indigestion are also taken care of by garlic. Garlic is widely considered to be the best remedy for high blood pressure.
4. Jaundice Berry (Berberis vulgaris)
Jaundice berry is another very effective remedy in the treatment of high blood pressure. It eases the tension in the arteries by making them dilate. Thus the blood flow in them is facilitated.
5. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Parsley is like a monitor of the blood vessels. It regulates the flow of blood in them and maintains easy circulation. It looks after the entire arterial system. Hence it is a very beneficial herb for people with high blood pressure.
6. Rauwolfia (Rauwolfia serpentina)
The effects of rauwolfia on the arteries and veins of the human system have been investigated in detail, and immensely positive results have been obtained. Rauwolfia has a treasure-trove of alkaloids for easing the arteries, synchronizing the blood flow in them, reducing palpitation and even removing the cholesterol buildup in the arteries. Hence, practitioners of all forms of medicine acknowledge the effects of rauwolfia. In Ayurveda especially, the root of the rauwolfia is prescribed for hypertension patients. The Ayurvedic name for rauwolfia is sarpagandha.
(2) Dietary Treatments for High Blood Pressure
A strict dietary regimen is important to seek early treatment from high blood pressure. The following points must be obeyed:-
1. Salt should be reduced or totally eliminated from the diet. Hot and spicy foods should also be avoided.
2. Instead of hydrogenated fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats must be used. These include oils of sesame, olive, flaxseed, mustard and groundnut. Ghee and butter made from cow's milk are beneficial. Buffalo milk should be avoided.
3. Indigestion should be taken care of by consuming a good amount of leafy vegetables containing fiber.
4. Bitter gourd and drumsticks are advantageous vegetables for people suffering from high blood pressure. Colocasia must be avoided, but yellow pumpkin helps in reducing blood pressure.
5. Among fruits, bananas, oranges, guavas and apples are good. All kinds of dry fruits and nuts are good.
6. Sweets and chocolates must be avoided.
7. Red meats must be avoided. But white meats, especially fish are beneficial in lowering blood pressure.
(3) Ayurvedic Concepts for High Blood Pressure
Sarpagandha is the drug of choice in high blood pressure. Not only is this drug used in Ayurvedic medicine, but it is also used in allopathic medicine in the treatment of high blood pressure. In addition, the following herbal preparations are prescribed depending on the doshic cause of high blood pressure:-
a. For Vataja High Blood Pressure, jatamansi and brahmi are prescribed.
b. For Pittaja High Blood Pressure, sarsarapilla and sandalwood are prescribed.
c. For Kaphaja High Blood Pressure, calamus, arjuna, shilajit, guggulu and berberis are prescribed.
(4) Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure
a. Have a spoonful of lemon juice mixed with honey every morning.
b. Oranges are very helpful in high blood pressure. Have a juice of two or three oranges every day.
c. Prepare a powdered mixture of cumin seeds, fennel seeds and sugar. Take one spoonful of this mixture in water every morning and evening.
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