natural and alternative treatments and home remedies for high blood pressure

Blood pressure refers to the amount of pressure put on the walls of your blood vessels by your circulating blood.

Image of a blood pressure cuff

There are two measurements: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. The systolic measures the force exerted while your heart muscle contracts. The diastolic pressure measures the pressure while your heart muscle is relaxed between heartbeats.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Prevailing medical opinion is that normal resting blood pressure should be about 120/80 mmHg (systolic/diastolic). Upwards from that puts you in prehypertension or stages of hypertension. It is considered a medical emergency/crisis if your systolic pressure exceeds 180 or your diastolic pressure exceeds 120. This kind of pressure can damage your blood vessels. You might not be suffering any immediate damage at this level but you must seek medical help before you do.  There are no early symptoms unless you read the numbers.

PREVALENCE

The CDC estimates that 75 million Americans have high blood pressure.

RISK FACTORS

While you cannot do anything about age, heredity and gender, the other items on the following list are controllable. If you take care of yourself properly, then your age, gender and heredity will have less impact on your blood pressure.

    • Age
    • Diabetes
    • Excess weight
    • Gender
    • Heredity
    • High cholesterol
    • Inactivity
    • Sleep Apnea
    • Smoking

COMPLICATIONS

If you still won’t do something about your lifestyle habits, here are some of the complications that can arise from prolonged hypertension…

    • Angina
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Fluid in the lungs
    • Heart attack
    • Kidney disease
    • Memory loss
    • Peripheral artery disease
    • Stroke
    • Vision loss

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

By Stage 2 Hypertension, your doctor will likely prescribe medications designed to bring your pressure down. If you choose this route, there may be side effects to medications. Keep track of the changes and consult your doctor. Your doctor also will make recommendations for lifestyle changes, all of which may appear below.

If you do not manage high blood pressure, you will be risking damage to the heart and coronary arteries (including heart attack), stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, erectile dysfunction, memory loss, fluid in the lungs, angina and peripheral artery disease. It is recommended that you call Emergency – 911 – if your systolic pressure rises above 180 or the diastolic pressure reaches 110 or more.

SELF TREATMENT

Others have made claims of efficacy for the following suggestions and treatments, but this information is provided as anecdotal information for your further research.

DIET

A healthy immune system and balanced hormones are always the first lines of defense against disease. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, and quality protein. Don’t forget healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone Diet, designed for heart health, is an excellent nutrition plan.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Berries
  • Bone Broth
  • Carrots
  • Cherries
  • Chocolate
  • Fiber-rich foods
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Leafy greens
  • Low fat milk
  • Magnesium-rich foods
  • Mangoes
  • Oatmeal (steel cut, slow cooking)
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Pistachios
  • Pomegranate
  • Potassium-rich foods
  • Salmon and other cold water fish
  • Spinach
  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Canned goods with high sodium content
  • Excessive sodium (more than 1500 mg per day)
  • Processed foods
  • Processed sugars
  • Smoking, which raises blood pressure, narrows arteries and thickens blood, et al.

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Coconut water is rich in potassium, magnesium and Vitamin C and may have beneficial effects on systolic blood pressure
  • Cranberry juice
  • Green
  • Hibiscus
  • Java
  • Nettle
  • Rooibos

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Cat’s claw
  • Celery seed
  • Cinnamon
  • Flaxseed
  • Ginger
  • Grapeseed extract
  • Hawthorn
  • Lavender
  • White hawthorn

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath.

  • Bergamot
  • Clary sage
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Marjoram
  • Rose
  • Valerian
  • Ylang Ylang

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Argenine
  • Ashwagandha
  • Ayurvedic Arjuna TA
  • Calcium supplementation can be helpful to some people with hypertenson.
  • CoQ10
  • Cucurbocitrin is a compound contained in watermelon seeds and is said to help widen the blood capillaries and improve kidney function.
  • Folate
  • Garlic
  • Garlic may help relax blood vessels by stimulating the production of nitric oxide and hydrogen sulfide.
  • Iron (if needed; not everyone needs iron)
  • Magnesium
  • Nattokinase
  • Potassium
  • Quercetin
  • Red Rice Yeast for high cholesterol
  • Vitamin E

HYDRATION

Increasing your water intake may lower blood pressure. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

That exercise is beneficial is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health and can raise your blood pressure. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.  Some suggestions to help you relax:

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • An EU-based project study called FLAVIOLA found that cocoa flavanols had a positive effect on vascular aging and blood pressure.  They were found to lower blood pressure as effectively as exercise.
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • If you are inactive, exercise more: walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing, strength training (caution: weight lifting can temporarily raise blood pressure).
  • If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar levels (see The Zone Diet).
  • Monitor your blood pressure at home; it might be more accurate than what is taken at the doctor’s office.
  • Pet Therapy
  • Slim down if you are overweight.
  • Talking makes blood pressure rise in hypertensive people.  Talking fast or talking about stressful situations make it go up more.  When you listen, pressure drops below normal.  Listening is good for your health.
  • Vegetarian diets may be effective for lowering blood pressure.  If you go vegetarian, you must be careful to get enough protein to maintain LBM, as well as getting all the amino acids.  A strict vegetarian diet can lead to a deficiency in B12 which increases the risk of heart disease.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

  • Sleep Apnea is a risk factor.

PREVENTION

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Stay hydrated,
  • Get quality sleep.
  • Drink very little alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke at all.

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