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Blood Pressure Naturally
Rev. Laura Perry, N.D.
Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally
By Rev. Laura Perry, N.D.
High blood pressure plagues 50 million adults (thatís 10 % of the
population) in the U.S. The incidence of high blood pressure, or
hypertension, rises steeply with age and the rate is higher in
African-Americans than in the rest of the population. Hypertension
is often a symptomless disease. By the time an individual develops
headaches and palpitations, their blood pressure is often already
Why is hypertension such a danger to good health? Even mild
hypertension lowers life expectancy and increases the risk of
heart and brain disorders. Hypertension significantly increases
the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney
How can something as seemingly benign as hypertension cause so
much damage? Hypertension increases the pressure on artery walls,
eventually damaging them and encouraging the formation of fatty
streaks on the inner artery walls. Eventually the fatty deposits
harden into plaque which erodes the artery walls, narrows the
channel through which the blood flows and decreases the elasticity
of the artery. This process of atherosclerosis is the cause of
coronary artery disease and can also lead to stroke, gangrene and
kidney damage. Hypertension also affects the brain, eyes and other
organs by damaging blood vessels and thus interfering with the
oxygen supply to these organs.
If hypertension is so damaging to the body, what are some safe and
natural options for lowering blood pressure and preventing damage?
First, hypertension does not simply materialize out of thin air.
Its causes may include poor kidney function (perhaps due to too
much protein in the diet), atherosclerosis (perhaps due to a
high-fat diet) and unmanaged or poorly-managed long-term stress.
Given these possible causes, and the fact that vegetarians are
less likely than omnivores to develop hypertension or heart
disease, a natural solution presents itself.
A combination of dietary modification and stress management can be
quite effective at controlling blood pressure without the
dangerous side effects of antihypertensive drugs. Gentle herbs can
be added to help restore the bodyís fluid balance and aid in
relaxation and stress management.
A vegetarian or near-vegetarian diet rich in fruits and
vegetables, very low in saturated fat, and rich in calcium sources
such as dairy products, dark leafy greens and fortified soy
products works best to lower blood pressure. This diet lowers
blood pressure and may also lower the risk of cardiovascular
disease, cancer and stroke. In fact, according to one study, this
diet significantly lowers blood pressure regardless of whether
sodium is restricted and regardless of whether the subject loses
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) flowers, leaves and berries lower
blood pressure by gently dilating blood vessels. Hawthorn slows
down and stabilizes heart muscle contractions, helping the heart
to work more efficiently. Hawthorn may also inhibit the
progression of atherosclerosis (for which hypertension is a risk
factor) by decreasing blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides
and low-density lipoproteins, and by preventing cholesterol
accumulation in the liver.
A number of other gentle herbs can be added to the diet, either in
supplement form or simply as foods enjoyed at mealtime, to assist
in lowering blood pressure and supplying valuable nutrients. Globe
artichoke (Cynara scolynus) is a tasty addition to any meal and
provides a mild diuretic effect. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), a
popular garnish and culinary herb, also has a diuretic effect.
Fresh parsley is also rich in the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E
for further protection from heart disease. Linden (Tilia europa)
flowers, commonly served as tea, are also a mild diuretic as well
as a peripheral vasodilator and relaxant. Linden may help heal
blood vessel walls damaged by hypertension.
Several other herbs have clinically-proven blood pressure-lowering
effects as well. Garlic (Allium sativum) lowers blood pressure as
well as reducing the risk of blood clots, reducing serum
cholesterol and triglyceride levels and keeping the aorta elastic.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) root contains fifteen compounds
that are natural calcium-channel blockers. Angelica root has been
shown in clinical studies to lower blood pressure.
Another factor in the development and exacerbation of hypertension
is stress. People who have poor stress management skills, or who
react to frustration with anger and rage, raise their blood
pressure behaviorally. Regardless of any conventional treatments
or natural remedies they may use, these people will continue to
suffer from hypertension until they modify their behavior.
Natural approaches include dietary modifications that are very
effective at lowering blood pressure. Herbal remedies also
effectively support a healthy blood pressure, largely without the
side effects associated with drugs. And natural approaches to
alleviating hypertension include relaxation and behavior
modification techniques that combat stress, thus helping to lower
blood pressure and improve quality of life.
Rev. Laura Perry, N.D. is a naturopath based in Woodstock,
Georgia. Contact her at 678-445-0357, or online at
For more information, please contact us at (770) 621-5056