More than thirty five million Americans suffer from hypertension, with African Americans being most affected. From a scientific and Western view, the cause of hypertension, when the force that circulating blood exerts against the walls of arteries is too strong/high is, unknown. However, allow me to quote the great teacher Dr. Llaila O Afrika:
"High blood pressure, stress and hypertension are usually caused by a lack of proper nutrition. Improper nutrition weakens the internal organs, immune system, and lowers the organs' abilities to utilize nutrients, which feed the body. The body begins to starve because of the loss of proper nutrients. This starvation creates a nutritional debt. The nutritionally starved body tries to get more nutrients to pay the debt. Consequently, the body demands more food (nutrients in the blood) by drawing on poor blood."
In short, the body attempts to fix its nutrient deficiency by increasing the amount of blood; How does it do this? By increasing the blood pressure.
Understanding blood pressure
The make up of what we refer to as the blood pressure is the measure of pressure at the time of the heart pumping to send blood out(systolic) and it contracting to pump again(diastolic). Imagine you have a ball pump. When you start, the handle is fully extended and it requires the most force, or pressure, to push air out of the pump and into the ball. When you pull it back, or contract, it still requires work but much less than the initial requirement.
When consulting with a client, I always ask them if their systolic number or their diastolic number is the one that is high. If it is the systolic, Western medicine calls this isolated systolic hypertension. In Isolated systolic hypertension, the arteries have become stiff due to stress and tension and hyperactive adrenal glands. This can also be a result of diabetes, hyperthyroidsm, heat valve disease and obesity. However, for Holistic measures, note that the systolic number indicates that the Arenal glands have been in fight or flight mode, releasing excessive cortisol causing you to be tense all of the time and of course, hardening the artieries. So when I see the systolic(top number) is high, I immediately know that we need to include an herb like valerian root or St. John's wart in the client's formula because they are under intense stress and we need to calm those adrenal glands.
When I see the bottom number is high, I know that we need to dive into assisting the kidneys in filtrating properly so I think of supportive diuretic herbs without high potassium content such as Horsetail.
What it boils down to is
Without nutrient rich foods, the blood accumulates waste and the adrenal glands have begin releasing aldosterone which causes the vascular system to become inflexible and hard, rendering them incapable of decreasing the pressure. After the blood pressure has been high for extended periods of time, it leads to:
- Arteriosclerosis- The thickening, stiffening, and narrowing of the artery walls, inhibiting blood flow through the body and increasing risk of heart attack or stroke. Check your RDW in your bloodwork. If it is high, you are at risk! Work on decreasing it ASAP by following a Blood Pressure Protocol.
- Heart Attack- arteries that bring blood to the heart become blocked, preventing it from getting enough oxygen. As mentioned above, this is a result of Arteriosclerosis.
- Enlarged Heart- Due to High Blood Pressure, the heart works harder which causes it to thicken, stretch and malfunction over time. Eventually, fluid backs up into the lungs.
- Kidney Damage- Being one of the body's six elimination pathways, the kidneys act as filters to rid the body of wastes. High Blood Pressure causes narrowing and thickening of the kidney's blood vessels, resulting in a gradual decrease in the kidneys' ability to filter fluid and if left untreated, leads to failure.
- Stroke- Due to arteriosclerosis, less blood gets to the brain, weakening the blood vessels in the brain, leading to a clot and then a stroke. Again MONITOR YOUR RDW!
BE AWARE OF THE MEDICATIONS:
So you get diagnosed with Hypertension(High Blood Pressure) and are immediately given prescriptions and a pamphlet that vaguely explains your diet(which is most cases is never emphasized). However, what they don't mention is that the medications often times lead to you needing more medications and even puts you on the fast track to kidney disease, kidney failure, and dialysis. I won't go too deep down the rabbit hole with this one, just tap into the video I did explaining why Ace Inhibitors and Beta Blockers are a danger and that we should be aware of how to take them safely if necessary and/or avoid them all together.
What can we do?
We support the cardiovascular system with hypotensive herbs(herbs that decrease blood pressure). In addition to that, we support the nervous system with nervine herbs (nerve calming) and in some cases the lungs with antispasmodics (relax muscles and reduce spasms). With the proper herbal tonics, dietary changes, supplements (vitamins and minerals) and lifestyle changes, the body will be provided with the proper environment to do exactly what it was designed to do; Heal itself!
Here is a list of our favorite herbs for a general Hypertension case:
- Hawthorn: A powerhouse for hypertension because it lowers elevated blood pressure, strengthens and tones the cardiovascular system, facilitates the pattern and volume of cardiac output, reduces buildup of excess fluid in the body, and it nourishes and tones the tissues of the veins and arteries.
- Linden: Has a reputation for preventing the development of arteriosclerosis and hypertension by relaxing the muscular coat of the vessels, increasing blood flow to the tissues, and lessening resistance within veins and arteries outside of the heart.
- Yarrow: Lowers blood pressure through dilation of the veins and arteries in the arms, hands, legs, and feet; It also reduces fluid buildup in the body which helps to overcome decreased kidney blood flow.
- Cramp Bark: Helps to ease resistance to blood flow in the hands, feet, arms, and legs by relaxing the muscular coat of the vessels.
- Valerian Root: Lowers blood pressure by reducing tension in the muscles of the blood vessels and addressing the tension and anxiety associated with the stress component of High Blood Pressure.
- Garlic: Decreases blood pressure by reducing cholesterol in the blood and inhibiting platelet aggregation, helping to prevent stroke.(HIGHLY recommended if you struggle with high cholesterol as well)
In addition to these herbs, these are vitamins and minerals that play a part in keeping the blood pressure in good standings and that most Hypertensive patients are deficient in:
3. Vitamin E (Consult your doctor if taking blood thinners)
4. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
Other HIGHLY Beneficial Supplements:
6. CoEnzyme Q10
- KILL THE SALT!!! IF you still own a box of iodized salt with the lil girl holding the umbrella on it TRASH IT!! The only salt that you'll use going forward will be Pink Himalayan or regular Sea Salt. However, until you get your blood pressure under control, NO ADDED SALT! Don't worry, you can make that food taste great with herbs and spices!
- Consume at least 32 oz fresh pressed fruit and veggie juices daily.
- Consume a diet high in apples, asparagus, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, garlic, eggplant, grapefruit, green leafy veggies, melons, prunes, squash, and sweet potatoes.
- Exercise for a MINIMUM of 15 minutes each day. Brisk walks count as well! They key is to get your heart rate up & the sweat flowing!
- Practice Breathwork & meditation to relieve stress.
- Alcohol, white/processed sugars, white grains, all processed foods, caffeine, tobacco, chocolate, animal proteins(IF NOTHING ELSE NO RED MEAT), animal milk/cheese. Limit the grains you consume as they are broken down into sugars in the body.
With a diet free of animal products and processed foods, an increase in the proper vitamin and mineral supplementation, and the right supportive herbal and lifestyle protocol, the body can do its job of healing itself and you can get back to living a life unplagued by High Blood Pressure!
Happy Healing Family!
This information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any herbal protocol.