A rise in blood pressure above the normal is referred to as high blood pressure or hypertension. But what is blood pressure?
Blood is a fluid medium-a vital tissue system with certain cellular elements which have specific functions. A certain faction carries oxygen and other essential nutrients to body cells, near and far. Another faction looks after the defence and immunity against infections. While yet another ensures that haemorrhage is controlled in time and a person does not bleed to death. To carry this blood to its destination, there are blood vessels; and the pressure exerted by the flow of blood against the vessel wall during its transit is called blood pressure. This pressure is caused by the force of contraction, which the heart muscle exerts to pump the blood out of the heart. The elasticity of the vessel wall sustains the onslaught of the pressure.
Blood pressure is determined by the force of the contraction of the heart muscle, the resistance or elasticity of the vessel wall, the quantity of blood being pumped from the heart into the vessels, and lastly the viscosity of the blood. The latter depends upon the cellular or fluid constituents which make up the blood volume.
The task of regulating or maintaining normal blood pressure is carried out by a centre in the brain which initiates some of the vital biochemical functions of the kidneys, and hormonal inputs from the suprarenal glands. The latter are endocrine glands situated just above the kidneys. They regulate the salt and water content in the body.
Hypertension Causes and Symptoms
A faulty diet, smoking, emotional upheavals, anxiety and stress are factors which often have a direct bearing on blood pressure. The elasticity of the blood-vessel walls diminishes with age, and certain deposits accumulate on the inner lining. These are worn-out cellular elements and certain cholesterol factions. For some not fully understood reason, some people are genetically predisposed to this condition. They have a familial tendency to certain lipid (fat) metabolic disorders.
High blood pressure in the initial stages usually goes undetected. It is often an accidental finding during a medical check-up for other reasons. However, headaches, fatigue, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet, palpitations, nervousness are symptoms that warrant the necessity of an early blood-pressure check-up. Depending on one’s genetic disposition to high blood pressure, or dietary indiscretions, and the actual blood pressure, certain dietary supplements or restrictions can help keep it in check. In the early stages the high blood pressure have no symptoms.
Natural Home Remedies to control Hypertension
Boil a cup of water with a teaspoon of dried bael-leaf powder. Cool and filter it and drink it thrice a day. Bael leaves can be dried, ground in a mixie to a fine powder, and stored in a dry jar. The active ingredient in this powder has natural diuretic properties that helps to regulate blood volume, and hence blood pressure.
2. Cumin Seed
To prepare another remedy, make a paste using a teaspoon of finely ground cumin seed powder, a pinch of sandalwood powder, two-tablespoons of fresh coconut water, and two tablespoons fresh milk. Mix these together, and add sugar to taste. If you wish to add more coconut water to the mixture you can do so. This should be taken in the morning for a week to 10 days. It has anti-stress, adapto-genic properties, besides being a diuretic.
Grind one measure each of fennel, cumin seeds and a small lump of crystallized sugar together, and have a teaspoon of this mixture in the morning and evening after meals. It has ample fibre, which helps to remove the bad cholesterol, and it is also an antiflatulent and diuretic. This remedy is especially beneficial in hypertension associated with pregnancy.
4. Indian Gooseberry Juice
A tablespoon of freshly expressed Indian gooseberry juice, sweetened with honey, and taken once in the morning, and half a teaspoon of the dried powder taken with hot water at bedtime, decreases the level of low-density cholesterol, which is instrumental in causing atherosclerotic changes and cholesterol deposits in the inner walls of blood vessels.
5. Watermelon Seed
Half a teaspoon of the kernel of watermelon seeds, mixed with half a teaspoon of poppy seeds, ground together and taken in the morning and evening for a month, brings down high blood pressure levels. They have no sodium or potassium in them.
6. Vegetable Juice
A glass of fresh orange juice or grape juice, or raw vegetable juice made with carrots and spinach, or a mixture of the two, is extremely beneficial. These juices are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin-C and potassium, which are all beneficial in bringing down blood pressure. Note :- A word of caution! Those who have hypertension associated with kidney disorders should avoid all these as their high potassium levels are lethal for already disturbed kidney functions.
7. Coriander Seeds
A decoction of a tablespoon of coriander seeds, with a glass of water, reduced to half, strained and taken twice daily, is a good diuretic as well as a cholesterol lowering remedy (coriander seeds are very low potassium).
Half a teaspoon of dry garlic powder, or two cloves of garlic taken daily in the morning lower blood pressure levels. The garlic cloves should be soaked in fresh milk (just enough to cover them) for one hour. They can be chewed or just swallowed, which is much easier to do. However, those with weak stomachs or those prone to acidity, heartburn or peptic ulcers should avoid this much-publicised remedy.
To a cup of curd, add a medium-sized sliced raw onion, a pinch of turmeric powder, and a clove of lightly roasted, finely chopped fresh garlic. It is good for lowering high blood pressure, and specially beneficial for those who have hyperlipidemia. Onion and garlic both lower lipid levels in blood. In this preparation, only the curd has a little sodium and potassium, whereas onion and garlic have none. Chewing parsley leaves after eating garlic clears the garlic odour from the breath.
Mix a teaspoon of powdered cumin seeds with a teaspoon of fresh ginger juice and a teaspoon of honey. Have this mixture once a day to reduce hypertension.
Having a teaspoon of fresh, yellow drumstick-leaf juice after meals is a lesser known remedy for lowering blood pressure. A palatable way of having it is as a chutney. Grind to a fine paste a handful of fresh, well-washed drumstick leaves, a medium-sized onion, a 1/2-inch piece of ginger, and a 1-inch-piece of tamarind (without seeds), with salt and green chillies to taste. This is rich in anti-oxidant beta-carotene, which neutralises free radicals.