High blood pressure (HBP), or hypertension, is a serious health condition that occurs when your blood pressure reading is persistently over 140/90 mm/Hg (milligrams of mercury). While medications are available to lower blood pressure, many natural supplements are often effective and may convey a much lower risk of side effects.
Blood pressure measures how forcefully blood flows against blood vessel walls. Generally speaking, 120/80 mm/Hg is considered to be a normal, healthy blood pressure. Hypertension, however, can insidiously undermine your health because an overly powerful push of blood to important organs—including the brain, heart, and kidneys—impacts these parts of the body at a stressful level. Left untreated, the excessive power of hypertension can lead to strokes, heart attacks, arterial aneurysms, hardening of the arteries and kidney failure. All of these conditions are potentially life threatening.
The best approach to reversing and preventing hypertension is steeped in self-regulation, moderation and restraint. Consistent exercise, weight control and reduced salt intake can all help. Natural supplements should be part of your program.
While there are supplements intended to help with just about every health condition, it is always best to get your nutrients in their natural whole state in the form of food. For example, potassium, magnesium and garlic are clinically shown to reduce blood pressure and come in supplement form. They are not included here because they work best when consumed in food.
Two dietary supplements that are good to take as well as consume in food for hypertension are:
Cod Liver Oil—Contains vitamins A, D, E and omega-3 fatty acids. It plays a vital role in human health and assists in lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, enhancing memory, improving thyroid function, reducing asthma, improving glucose response and increasing cardiovascular health while benefiting intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and colitis.
Cod liver oil has also been shown to help with hypertension. Its vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium and magnesium, vital contributors to normalized blood pressure. Cod liver oil’s omega-3 fatty acids also help control cholesterol.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids—Fats, as a nutrient group, have been unfairly demonized. Omega-3s are the good-for-you unsaturated fatty acids comprised of the polyunsaturated trio of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA and EPA have both been awarded “qualified health claim” status by the FDA.
In the 1970s, researchers studying the diets of the Eskimos of Greenland discovered that two of the three omegas (DHA and EPA) were essential to heart health. Copious amounts of these fatty acids were naturally consumed in the Eskimos’ seafood-rich diet. Moreover, the natives of this area suffered almost no cardiovascular disease, protected by the fact that these omega-3 fatty acids naturally reduce triglycerides (blood fats) and arterial plaque while slowing heart rate and supporting healthy blood pressure.
Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include ocean-raised salmon, herring and mackerel as well as cod liver oil, olive oil, borage oil and flaxseed oil. Try incorporating these into every meal and see how their benefits assist your natural blood pressure lowering program.
Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines
Chinese herbs, the main components of traditional Chinese medicine, are available in many forms, including raw and cooked, as powders, in liquids and pills. Perhaps the most common way of taking Chinese herbs in the West is in what are called Patent Herbal Formulas. These are prepackaged formulas that have been found effective for specific syndromes. They are sold in bottles of small, BB-like pills that are coated in licorice and taken 3three per day, on average.
The patent formulas most often used in the treatment of hypertension include:
Yang Yin Jiang Ya Wan—Conveys antihypertensive, sedative and calmative benefits. Designed specifically for hypertension, this formula contains several herbs with well-documented antihypertensive actions. The formula is best for treating high blood pressure in those who also experience headache, dizziness, tinnitus, transient ischemic attacks, anger outbursts and sore eyes.
Yang Yin Jiang Ya Wan formula consists of: Polygonatum multiflorum (he shou wu), Cassia tora (jue ming zi, cassia seed), Paeonia lactiflora (bai shao, white peony), Poria cocos (fu ling, hoelen), Eucommia ulmoides (du zhong, eucommia), Alimsa orientale (ze xia, alisma), Achyranthes bidentata (niu xi, achyranthes), Dendobium nobile (shi hu, dendrobium), Uncaria rhyncophylla (gout eng, ganbir) and extracts equivalent to dry: Zea mays (yu mi xu, corn silk), Polygonatum sibirica (yuan zhi, polygala), Chrysanthemum sinesis (ju hua, chrysanthemum flower).
Tian Ma Gou Teng Wan—Has antihypertensive, sedative and calmative properties. This formula is best for treating high blood pressure in those who also suffer headaches on the sides or top of the head, neck and shoulder stiffness, dizziness, vertigo, facial flushing, irritability, insomnia and visual disturbances.
Tian Ma Gou Teng Wan formula consists of: Viscum coloratum (sang ji sheng, vaecium), calcium sulphate (substitute for conch shell, shi jue ming), Uncaria rhyncophylla (gout eng, gambir), Polygomatum multiflorum (ye jiao teng, polygonatum stem), Poria cocos (fu ling, hoelen), Achyranthes bidentata (niu xi, achyranthes), Leonurus sibirica (yi mu coa, motherwort), Gastrodia elata (tian ma, gastrodia), Gardenia florida (shan zhi zi, gardenia), Eucommia ulmoides (du zhong, eucommia).
Tian Ma Wan—Has antihypertensive, sedative and calmative properties. It’s best for treating mild cases of high blood pressure in those who also experience stiffness in the neck and shoulder.
Tian Ma Wan formula contains: Rehmannia glutinosa (sheng di, raw rehmannia), Angelica polymorpha (dang gui, Chinese angelica), Notopterygium incisum (qiang huo, notopterygium), Eucommia ulmoides (du zhong, eucommia), Gastrodia elata (tian ma, gastrodia), Achyranthes bidentata (niu xi, achyranthes), Scrophularia ningpoensis (xuan shen, scrophularia), Dioscorea hypoglauca (bei xie, fish poison yam), Angelica pubescens (du huo), Cyperus rotundus (xiang fu, cyperus).
Zhen Gan Xi Feng Wan— Has antihypertensive, sedative and calmative properties. This formula is best for treating high blood pressure in those who also experience dizziness and vertigo, temporal and vertical headache, visual disturbances, tinnitus, facial flushing, tremors and disturbances of consciousness.
Homeopathy follows the philosophy that “like treats like.” In other words, you can treat a symptom with the smallest level of a substance that would usually cause a healthy person to develop the same symptom. Yet, in a person with that very health concern, a homeopathic dose encourages the body to begin building its immunity to the problem and fight its effects.
Homeopathic remedies have been made into formulas that are generally taken in liquid form or under the tongue.
Remedies shown to help with hypertension include:
Aurum metallicum—Most suited to those with high blood pressure who are considered type-A personalities. They tend to be serious and focused on career and accomplishment. Moreover, this is effective for those who also experience worry, depression, stress, anger and a tendency toward craving sweets, alcohol and simple carbohydrates.
Calcarea carbonica—Best suited to those with high blood pressure who have low energy, lack stamina, are easily tired and gain weight easily. Such people also tend to be responsible yet feel overwhelmed when feeling under the weather. Effective for those who also experience heart palpitations, belabored breathing, chills, clammy extremities, sweaty forehead during sleep and a tendency toward craving sweets and eggs.
Nux vomica—Best for those with high blood pressure who tend to be driven and impatient and are easily offended, angered or frustrated. Suitable for those who also experience heart palpitations, tight chest, constipation, hemorrhoids and a tendency to be sensitive toward smells, noise and light.
Please Note: When taking supplements or herbal remedies of any kind, it is best to discuss them with your doctor to look into possible contraindications with prescription medications you may be taking. Moreover, it is also advisable to get a solid recommendation as to which are best for your specific condition from a qualified healthcare practitioner who is educated in their use, such as an herbalist, TCM practitioner, homeopath or naturopathic physician. More information can be found on the supplements and herbals mentioned in this article by doing a simple Internet search using their names as key words.
Best of luck on your journey to natural blood pressure health!