Hypertension or high blood pressure – a disease of the modern age, is regarded as a silent killer. Fast life style, work pressures, mental tensions by the metropolitan environment has its set of bad effects on an individual’s health, as the adrenaline levels in the human body are raised thereby rising the blood pressure .
Hypertension is of great concern as it is one of the significant risk factors of coronary heart diseases. Blood pressure tends to rise with age. The blood which circulates through arteries within the body supplies every cell with nourishment and oxygen. The force exerted by the heart as it pumps the blood into the large arteries, creates a pressure within them and this is called as blood pressure. A certain level of blood pressure is thus essential, but when it rises above its limits, we term it as hypertension, which can be either at borderline, moderate or severe hypertension.
This blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury. The systolic pressure gives the pressure of the contraction of heart as it pushes the blood on its journey through the body and indicates the activity of the heart. The diastolic blood pressure represents the pressure present in the artery when the heart is relaxed and shows the condition of the blood vessels.
The blood pressure of 120/70 plus / minus 20 is acceptable blood pressure, to say it is normal blood pressure.
Mild hypertension does not produce any symptoms. Moderate to severe hypertension produces symptoms like:
03) Neck ache, i.e., more at the back side of the neck
04) Pain in the arms
05) Pain in the shoulders
06) Chest pain
07) Palpitations (increased heart rate bringing awareness of heart beats)
08) Increased frequency of urination
09) Emotional upsets
10) Redness of eyes
12) Difficulty in breathing in extremely tired and old age hypertensives
The most common cause of hypertension is stress and a faulty life style. If the stress continues for a long period of time then hypertension sets in and does not come down even on withdrawal of the stress factor.
Another common cause is tobacco us , either in the form of smoking or chewing.
Excessive intake of tea and coffee, fat foods, salts, sedentary life style, obesity, anger, pain killers, low fiber diet are other causative factors.
Naturopathic treatment of hypertension
The natural way of dealing with hypertension is to eliminate the poisons from the system which causes it. The patient should always follow a routine of well balanced diet, exercise and rest. The patient should start the process of healing by living on an exclusively fruit diet for at least 5 days and take fresh juicy fruits at an interval of every 4-5 hrs. Oranges, apples, pears, mangoes, papaya and watermelon are the best fruits for such cases. Remember to not add extra salt or sugar in juice or any fruits. Cereals can be added in this first 5 days diet.
Vegetarians have strikingly lower blood pressure as compared to non vegetarians. Vegetables should be preferably taken raw. Cucumber, carrot, tomato, onion, radish, cabbage, and spinach are the best when taken in raw form. Salt is restricted but if in case one requires it then only four grams of salt i.e., half tea spoon in every 24 hours time can be consumed. Baking powders containing sodium carbonate should be avoided.
Garlic reduces tension and pressure, and helps to ease the spasm of blood vessels thereby relieving blood pressure. It not only slows down the heart rate but also modifies cardiac rhythm, thereby relieving from symptoms life giddiness, numbness, shortness of breath. It is one of the best sooth muscle relaxants.
Celery (ajwain-ka-patta) contains a chemical called 3-n-butyl-phthalide which helps in reducing blood pressure and also gives aroma to the celery. This active ingredient is in very high concentrations in celery which reduces stress hormones concentration in the blood which constricts blood vessels and raises the blood pressure. Patients can take 2 stalks of celery everyday with its beneficial results.
Another remedy is Indian gooseberry known as amla when mixed with teaspoon of honey and consumed early morning at an empty stomach. This helps in reducing blood pressure significantly. The Vitamin C present in it is helpful to prevent capillary fragility.
Roasted seeds of watermelon should be consumed twice a day. It acts as diuretic and thereby reduces the water retention of the body because of high salt intake. As the water content comes down, the blood pressure goes low on its own. Similarly boiled potatoes with their skin are a high source of potassium and magnesium which is again helpful in lowering blood pressure.
People who take potassium and calcium rich diets have lower incidence of getting hypertension as it throws off sodium from the body, thereby reducing water retention in the body.
Patients of hypertension should follow well planned diet. It should be as follows:
Carbohydrates 20%, protein 10-15 %, fats 5%, fruits and raw vegetables 60-65 %. In this plan one main meal should be on raw foods and second main meal should be of cooked foods. Meal should be taken very slowly and in a quiet atmosphere, in a relaxed way. Each bite of the food should be masticated atleast 25 times before one swallows the food. This can reduce anxiety, stress and anger significantly.
Concentration on inhalation and exhalation of breathing before sleeping is the best exercise to cut all sorts of hypertension without any medications. This is known as yog-nidra. What one has to do is, to take a relaxing position, whether it is in a chair, bed or any thing, but not lying down (or else one will fall a sleep before completing the exercise). After taking a relaxing position, close your eyes and only watch the inhalation and exhalation of your breath.
Remember it’s only watching and there should be no attempt from patient’s side for inhalation or exhalation. When one inhales, count 1 and while exhaling count 2, then 3 and 4, then 5 and 6, and so on till one reaches minimum of 300 counts. I can guarantee you that if a person does this exercise regularly then his blood pressure and tension level will reduce significantly without any restrictions of diets and drug intake. To note that one should not forget their count in between while observing his/her breathing. If it happens, then start from 1 and finish till 300 minimum.
Anulom vilom pranayam and shavasana, relaxing meditations also help in reducing hypertension.
By- Dr. Hiren Parekh