Ayurveda visualizes hypertension as a dysfunction of all the doshas; vata, pitta and kapha. Ayurveda refers to hypertension as Rakta Capa Vriddhi and its main cause is the nullification of vata and pitta doshas. The Ayurveda treatment of hypertension mainly balances in the balancing of these two doshas. The Ayurvedic treatment of hypertension consists of the use of herbal preparations, diet, yoga, meditation and other practices.
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Ayurvedic treatment for hypertension
Ayurvedic herbs, remedies, dietary suggestions and lifestyle management are the best treatment regimen for mild hypertension. Dietary balance and lifestyle changes are as important in Ayurvedic treatment as Ayurvedic herbal medicines. The patient must ensure to follow a strict Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle changes such as incorporation of yoga in day to day life along with the use of medicines; otherwise this treatment cannot be effective.
Patients who are clinically in this hypertension range must see a medical supervisor for the management of hypertension and must be taking some medication for the same. In this case, a therapy inclusive of modern medicine and Ayurvedic remedies coupled with lifestyle changes will help you I making your blood pressure stable and minimize the need for taking medicines and hence their side effects as well.
Most of the herbal remedies are devoid of any potentially harmful side effects or life threatening conditions.
This class of patients is difficult to be treated with the help of Ayurvedic medicine because they are generally older patients who are adamant in making lifestyle changes or following proper Ayurvedic diet. The patient needs to be under constant supervision of the medical practitioner.
Instead of just prescribing a healthy diet, an Ayurvedic diet intends to help in balancing in the doshas. It is a kind of diet which can pacify all the doshas. Ayurveda is a holistic approach to healthy living and provides a number of guidelines to reduce high or increased blood pressure. As far the dietary recommendations are concerned, these are
- Drink a lot of water, at least 3-4 liters a day. This would flush out the toxins and excess cholesterol in the body and also prevent its accumulation in the arteries or joints.
- Fresh fruits such as Indian Gooseberry, grapes, banana, water melon, lemon are advised for being beneficial in fighting against hypertension. Dry fruits are also considered healthy.
- A vegetarian diet is considered healthy for hypertensive patients. It includes drumstick, bitter gourd, parsley, garlic, etc.
- The salt intake should be minimized to the maximum possible extent. Sodium intake should be within 1500-2400 mg/day.
- Non-vegetarian diet inclusive of red meat and eggs should be completely avoided.
- Caffeinated drinks such as coffee should also be avoided. Daily intake of soft drinks or carbonated beverages should also be curbed. Alcohol should be avoided.
- The use of hydrogenated oils should be stopped and oil intake should be kept to a minimum. Saturated fats, Trans fatty acids and cholesterol must be completely avoided.
- Periodic fasting, once or twice a week is also helpful in improving the effectiveness of bile and enables efficient cleansing.
- Highly refined foods like those with high quantity of simple carbohydrates affect cardiovascular health.
- There should be no overeating and regular meals should be of moderate size.
Ayurvedic lifestyle changes
Ayurveda along with herbal medicines and strict Ayurvedic diet also recommends certain lifestyle changes. These are:
- Regular exercise which can be in the form of walking or jogging. It helps in regular reduction of weight and also helps in the management of hypertension.
- Yoga and meditation are proving to be stalwarts in hypertension therapy. Practicing regular yoga and meditation not only helps in managing your hypertension, but also helps you in leading a stress free life.
- Sound sleep, proper sleep patterns and adequate rest are of utmost importance.
- Psychological checks such as avoiding anger, tension, anxiety, and shouting are also very helpful in the management of hypertension. Adopt breathing exercise to relax yourself whenever you are tensed, anxious or nervous.
- Smoking which is a source of nicotine in body should be totally avoided.
Herbal remedies for hypertension
A lot of Ayurvedic herbs have proven efficacious in the treatment of hypertension. Some of these are Arjuna, garlic, parsley, alfalfa and rauwolfia.
Garlic has proven to be effective in reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressures in clinical trials. Supplements made of garlic may be of clinical use in treating patients with mildly high blood pressure. But, any such supplements must be taken under the supervision of a medical doctor only.
This is a commonly used herb for high blood pressure. No herb – drug interaction has been reported and it is also beneficial in Diabetics with high blood pressure.
Rauwolfia (species serpentine and vomitoria) contain a chemical called reserpine which is known to normalize high blood pressure especially due to stress or nervous system response. It also reduces vasoconstriction and thus helps in normalizing blood pressure.
Alfalfa or Medicago satina contains several elements which help in the softening of the arteries and reduction blood pressure.
Parsley monitors the blood vessels and helps in regulating the blood pressure with patients with high blood pressure.
The herb Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) helps in the reduction of the blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels.
Herbal home remedies for hypertension
A few herbal home remedies known to be effective for the treatment of hypertension are:
- Take a spoonful of lemon juice mixed with honey every morning.
- Take juice of 2 or 3 oranges every day.
- A spoonful of a powdered mixture of cumin seeds, fennel seeds and sugar should be taken every day in the morning and evening.
Yoga and Ayurveda
The regular practice of Yoga, breathing exercises and meditation is known to help enormously in the management of hypertension. The benefits of Yoga include:
- As per observed by medical practitioners, the regular practice of Yoga can reduce blood pressure by up to 10-15 mm Hg.
- It also helps in reduction of weight and hence indirectly in the reduction of blood pressure.
- People who indulge themselves in regular Yoga are less likely to suffer with hypertension as compared with their non-Yoga practicing counterparts.
- A shavasana (corpse pose) can make you calm, distressed and reduce your blood pressure by 10-15 mm Hg.
- Dahanukar AS and Thatte UF. Ayurveda revisited. Popular Prakashan, 2000.
- Mamtani R. Ayurveda and Yoga in Cardiovascular Disease. Cardiology in review. 2005; 13(3): 155-162.
- Stansbury J. Treating hypertension with rauwolfia, viscum and piscidia. Restorative medicine. Association for the advancement of restorative medicine.
- Silagy CA, Neil HA. “A meta-analysis of the effect of garlic on blood pressure.” J Hypertens. 12.4 (1994): 463-468.