General Information on High Blood Pressure
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Carmel
Posted on: November 05, 2006

This site was recommended on health web site for blood pressure; however, the type of herb was not mention. What suggestions do you have and how effective is it?

Treating high blood pressure with herbs is very much individualized. The herbs used depend on the person’s health condition, lifestyle, other symptoms and drugs taken.

Generally, hawthorn berries or flowering tops are used to strengthen the heart muscle and increase blood flow through the heart. Yarrow may be used to open up the peripheral blood vessels, improving blood circulation. Motherwort is used in high blood pressure to nourish and calm the heart and nerves, especially for stressed, excitable or nervous people. Linden flower may be used to relax the muscles in the walls of the blood vessels, improving blood circulation. Regular exercise. a diet high in fruit, vegetables and omega-3 oils, and some type of therapy to reduce stress are all essential parts of a protocol to reduce high blood pressure.

A common cause of high blood pressure is an insulin imbalance or insulin resistance. This causes a cascade of health problems including an inability to lose weight, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This is treated with a low glycemic index, low carbohydrate diet, a change in the type of oils in the diet, exercise and avoiding food allergies. These steps are outlined as follows:

Glycemic index:

Foods are considered low on the glycemic index when they release sugars slowly into the blood stream, helping to balance blood sugar, reducing cravings and fatigue. Foods high on the glycemic index release sugar into the blood stream quickly, causing blood-sugar control problems including food cravings and an inability to lose weight.

Minimize foods with a high glycemic index including cooked carrots, cooked parsnips, white rice, baked potato, bread, banana, watermelon, honey

Eat moderate amounts only of foods with a moderate glycemic index including: corn, raisins, cooked beets, oranges, brown rice, basmati rice, green peas, buckwheat, rye

Maximize foods with a low glycemic index including all vegetables except those listed above, barley, oatmeal, lentils, wheat bran, apples, pears, cherries, grapefruit, plums, legumes, unsweetened yogurt.

Low carbohydrate diet:

Refined carbohydrates, such as white flour and white sugar products, are quickly converted by the body into glucose, causing the release of insulin to move the glucose into body cells, where it is either used as energy or stored as fat (triglyceride). Over time, the body responds less efficiently to insulin and becomes unable to deal with all the glucose produced. More insulin is released to deal with this inefficiency. When insulin is dominant, it prevents the breakdown of fat and protein. Fat cells inhibit the transport of insulin into the cells, and so, a vicious cycle is created.

Eliminate refined carbohydrates from the diet, that is, all products made with refined grains or sugars, including pastas, breads, cakes, cereals, unless they are entirely whole grain. Maximize whole vegetables in the diet as a replacement for grains.

Oil Change:

Fat lowers the glycemic index of a meal by delaying stomach emptying. The "essential" fats are Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which should be balanced in the weekly diet. Good sources of omega-3 fats are oily fish (sardines, herring, mackerel, and wild salmon), freshly ground flax seeds and omega-3 enriched eggs (from hens fed on flaxseed). Nuts and seeds and most oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids.

Saturated fats, in animal products including dairy and meats (excluding fish), impede the metabolism of the "good fats", which impedes the blood-sugar mechanism.

A balanced diet is: 15% protein, principally in the form of tofu or a combination of low glycemic legumes (kidney beans, soy products, lentils, mung beans) and grains (oatmeal, barley) and fish; 50-60% carbohydrates principally unrefined vegetables and legumes, with some whole grains; 20-25% fat, principally from nuts, seeds, unrefined, cold-pressed vegetable oils (such as extra-virgin olive oil) and fish.

Resistance exercise:

Regular physical activity helps to burn fat and control blood sugar. Resistance exercise, where the muscles are stressed, helps to increase muscle and decrease fat, benefiting the blood-sugar mechanisms.

Food sensitivities:

No single diet is right for everyone - look at the foods that fulfill you and the foods that cause digestive problems. Some people have food sensitivities to dairy products (milk, cream, butter), gluten (in wheat, rye, barley and oats) or corn. These food sensitivities are common causes of indigestion, bloating and inability to lose weight.

Elimination:

Ensure that your bowels are eliminating waste regularly. Increasing fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds in the diet promotes regular elimination. Adding a tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed to each meal promotes elimination and provides omega-3 fatty acids.

It is not possible to predict how one herb or even one herbal protocol will work unless it is prescribed for an individual after a detailed medical history has been taken. Herbal medicine works by correcting imbalances in the body’s systems, to allow the natural healing powers of the body to function optimally.

For more information on herbs for high blood pressure, please see our website www.richters.com. Select "Q&A" from the main menu, then enter "high blood pressure" for the search.

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