5 Supportive Remedies for High Blood Pressure

There are several reasons why blood pressure may be consistently high, and most notably these include lifestyle factors with diet, exercise (too much, or lack of) and stress being the most common causes.

In traditional medical literature, you won’t find words like “hypertension” or “high blood pressure”. This is relatively new terminology.  In the past, traditional doctors and healers were more concerned with movement of blood and circulation in relation to a host of various imbalances. Blood circulation was rarely ever a stand alone issue, but rather a result of imbalance elsewhere in the body.

High blood pressure is not always an obvious health issue. Cardiovascular disease, which now affects some 35 million Americans, is a great example. There is very little subjective sense of anything happening internally until complications arise. Hypertension, also known as “the silent killer” can be one of two kinds: Essential hypertension which is increased blood pressure with an unknown cause, and Secondary hypertension, which is high blood pressure as a result of an underlying condition such as endocrine or kidney disease. The following 5 natural remedies for high blood pressure will relate primarily to essential hypertension.

The Basics of Blood Pressure:

Blood pressure will naturally rise and fall as a result of lifestyle shifts. When you exercise, blood pressure rises as it’s circulated more rapidly throughout body, and when you sleep and relax, blood pressure naturally falls. This maintains a healthy homeostasis and allows your body the flexibility and stamina to endure short term physical demands of your life. When blood pressure rises, pressure of the blood runs more quickly through your arteries because your arteries constrict, therefore blood pushes more fiercely against the artery walls. Think of arteries like a garden hose – the wider the hose, the slower the water moves through, and the skinnier the hose the more rapidly water will more through. When blood is pulsing through the arteries rapidly for prolonged lengths of time, this can cause peripheral vascular resistance and long term artery damage, leading to complications such as arteriosclerosis, enlarged heart, stroke and kidney damage.

There are several reasons why blood pressure may be consistently high, and most notably these include lifestyle factors with diet, exercise (too much, or lack of) and stress being the most common causes.

There is very little motivation for people to take care of themselves if they don’t “feel” that anything is wrong. High blood pressure is a similar experience. You may subtly feel when you’re blood pressure increases, but likely it is not at the forefront of your mind until you walk out of your doctor’s office with a new diagnosis, a script for a statin and a healthy dose of fear and confusion.

Here’s a personal example. The last time I went to the doctor for a routine check up, I had to sit in the waiting room for 30+ minutes. The entire time, there were 2 televisions on, both playing Divorce Court loud enough it was impossible to block out. Being a Highly Sensitive Person, this dramatically jarring noise caused me to feel and absorb stress. Once I was in with the doctor they immediately took my blood pressure and, lo and behold, I now have “high blood pressure” and they start talking to me about appropriate medications. This is missing the mark.

Although the most common course of treatment today for high blood pressure is to begin medication, there are several other options. There are plenty of preventative measures that you can easily put in place that support your body’s healthy response to optimal blood flow and naturally lower blood pressure. Especially if you consider yourself to be a highly sensitive person, knowing your triggers, environmental situations and how you respond to surrounding stress (ie – having a very deep understanding of your own body and your responses to stimuli) are extremely helpful.

Key Points to Know:

When approaching high blood pressure through holistic methods, it is always more effective to also include dietary and lifestyle changes as well. Rarely is a botanical medicine or supplement a stand alone treatment, but rather an extremely supportive measure when used in combination with improved nutrition and stress management / lifestyle adjustments.

Always take your blood pressure in a calm environment, when you feel safe and relaxed. This will give you a more consistent and reliable reading.

Each holistic approach to high blood pressure is very individual, and must take into account your health history, environment, lifestyle, emotional health and also maintain a focus on your central nervous system. It may be challenging for each person to find a successful treatment on their own, therefore working with a naturopathic doctor and/or well trained herbalist that works in tandem with your GP is helpful in finding a successful and sustainable remedy or alternate solutions.

5 Supportive Remedies for High Blood Pressure:

  1. Drink PLENTY of water. When the body is dehydrated, it will trigger thirst first, and if this is ignored, the kidneys will start to conserve water. The pituitary releases antidiuretic hormone (ADH), forcing the kidneys to hold onto more water.  In return, the kidneys respond by reducing urine flow, causing blood pressure to steadily fall. This however causes a cascade of enzyme and hormonal reactions from the kidneys and adrenal glands, which cause the kidneys to retain more sodium and chloride and therefore more water. With increased water, this increases blood pressure because there is an increase in blood volume. When you do not drink adequate water every day, this is a chronic reaction that causes blood pressure to remain steadily elevated in order to offset the effects of dehydration.
  2. Exercise (moderately) for 30 minutes daily (even a brisk walk is helpful!). With moderate exercise, the body develops a resistance and ability to more sustainably respond to the effects of other stressors that may arise. This is considered a “healthy push back” response, with gentle exercise providing just enough resistance to maintain a healthy balance of blood pressure long term.
  3. Pin-point your stressors in life and reduce them: Consistent, chronic stress is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure. Period. This is due to our ability to appraise stressful situations. We may appraise a situation as being alarming and stressful. We make a decision that the situation in front of us is not ok, and this increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration…then downstream sleep disorders, headaches, mood fluctuations all arise from this constantly alarming appraisal of daily events in our lives such as traffic, unpleasant coworkers, financial distress, family situations etc. Our tendencies to adapt to these stressors may turn out to be self-destructive long term, physiologically. The more you can reduce your stress, the healthier your physiological responses will become over time – including blood pressure.
  4. Decrease processed sugar intake and definitely stop smoking. These both dramatically strain the arterioles, damaging the endothelial (protective) layer of our arteries and decreases protection from pressure problems and atherosclerosis changes.  
  5. Consider herbal tonics that provide hypotensive support. The main role of herbal medicine is to modify endothelial health (the lining of your arteries). The endothelium both encourages and discourages clotting under varying circumstances and moderates inflammation and plaque build up. It also prevents lipids, proteins and other things from getting through the endothelial layer and into the tissues. Herbal medicines work extremely well  to protect the endothelium long term and protect blood vessels that are damaged from the secondary effects of high blood pressure. In this way, herbs and drugs work in very different ways, and it’s important to remember that herbal medicines are NOT replacements for drugs.

To find the most appropriate herbs for you that may be hypotensive, diuretic, peripheral vasodilators or cardiotonics, consider making an appointment with one of our practitioners to create a formula that’s specific to your needs.

Read More:

Dealing with High Cholesterol Using Nutrition & Herbs

How Trauma Makes an Impact on health

10 Tools for Making a Positive Change in Your Health

About the Author:

Lindsay Kluge is a Clinical Herbalist & Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and received her Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health in 2012. She has been with Richmond Natural Medicine since 2013, and specializes in therapeutic holistic nutrition, circadian rhythm balance and sleep physiology, digestion, and Ayurvedic nutrition. She offers individualized nutrition and herbal medicine consultations that include meal planning support, custom compounded herbal formulas, nutrition guidance and general wellness support.  Learn more about services that Lindsay offers at Richmond Natural Medicine by clicking HERE.

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