September 19, 2011

Re-Thinking about Herbal High Blood Pressure Treatment

One of the alternative treatments for high blood pressure treatment that often overlooked is herbal remedies and that will be briefly discussed here.

High blood pressure is a common name for hypertension.  It increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, nearly one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure. We can have high blood pressure for years without experiencing symptoms or knowing we have it unless it happens very suddenly.

A new trend of herbal remedies for high blood pressure or hypertension has been mentioned as more and more people are looking for alternative ways to restore health or keep healthy and integrative herbalism is one of those ways.  It is surprising that western medicine didn’t fully realize its benefit until the end of the 20th century.  That will not be too early to back to the future and find out what herbal medicines were used for blood pressure hundreds of years.

Rauwolfia Serpentina  or sarpagandha in Ayuravedic herbalism. It was the first proven allopathic medicine for high blood pressure extracted from this herb. 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.  

Garlic is one of the best home remedies and widely considered to be the best remedy for high blood pressure. Garlic is an antispasmodic agent that reduces the pressure in the arteries caused due to the pumping action of the heart during blood circulation.  It also eases other high blood pressure problems such as dizziness, shortness of breath and indigestion. 

Alfalfa (Medicago satina) 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. Alfalfa also contains a significant amount of Vitamin K.  It has been found effective in preventing and curing high blood pressure in test animals, and may turn out to be important for the same use in humans. Another benefit of alfalfa sprouts is that they are nearly sodium-free, with only 2 mg sodium per cup. So, this is countable as DASH Diet-The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  However, If you are pregnant, harmful bacteria from raw alfalfa sprouts can lead to complications during pregnancy.  

Hawthorn is suggested to be good for the heart and blood vessels. It strengthens the contractions of the heart muscle and improves coronary artery blood flow.  Anyhow, it is likely to work for mildly lower blood pressure in some people with high blood pressure.

Oleuropein in olive leaves can reduce systolic and diastolic pressure as well as dilate the coronary arteries around the heart in animals.  Oleuropein is an anti-oxidant which has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic effect. But we don’t know yet what effects it will have on humans. It is claimed to be useful in the management of metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, characterized by high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight gain.  

There are no magical herbs or medicines that can cure disease. The result is also individual and many doctors do not recommend using it as substitute of conventional medicines as long as there are not enough scientific supports, even though many kinds of Ayurvedic and western herbalism have proved themselves for hundreds of years, not only for hypertension, but depression and menopause that will be discussed soon.

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