High blood pressure is a complex disease and many factors contribute to it. Some like age, gender, race and family history cannot be altered. However, many risk factors are the result of habits like smoking, alcohol consumption, an unhealthy diet and a lack of regular exercise. High blood pressure is a serious issue because it can often bring no warning signs, yet still cause heart attacks and strokes. There are many prescription anti-hypertensives available to control the symptoms of this condition, but no long-term cures. However, lifestyle changes, in combination with natural supplements like the following herbs, can help prevent the complications associated with high blood pressure.
1. Passion Flower
Passion Flower is one of the natural supplements that can be included in a regimen to help treat hypertension. It does this mainly through reducing stress and anxiety that can both elevate the blood pressure and producing an overall calming effect. This effect is one of the reasons why it is used in many multi-herb compound for treatment of sleeplessness, but it is just as good at the treatment of out-of-range blood pressure.
The most common way that lavender is used is topically: oil of lavender, massaged into the skin, can reduce the blood pressure by as much as 50%. This herbs works through a different mechanism than that of passion flower: it is a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the muscle around and expands the diameter of the blood vessels, thus lowering the blood pressure itself. Apart from applying the oil to the skin, lavender can also be used in a bath which has been infused with the oil or the flowers or it can be taken internally as a tea.
3. Holy Basil
Holy basil can help reduce blood pressure by alleviating some the damage done to the cardiovascular system by chronic stress. This herb contains compounds which prevent stress-induced biochemical changes, improve energy and stamina, support and strengthen the immune system and promote digestive and gastric health which can often be damaged by stress. It also has other cardiovascular benefits, acting as a blood thinner and encouraging increased circulation. When taken daily, it can not only lower blood pressure but help optimize cholesterol levels.
Like passion flower, valerian has long been prized by herbalists for its ability to act as a mild transquilizer, relaxing muscles throughout the body and lowering the blood pressure. Daily use of this herb can induce a state of relaxation and this, in turn, can have a positive effect on those suffering from hypertension. Do not use, however, before driving or similar activity because of the sedative effect of this herb.
One of the active compounds in this common Italian herb is called carvacrol, and it is very effective at lowering the blood pressure by slowing the heart rate and reducing the mean arterial pressure. It can also be useful as a salt substitute to add flavor to foods, since a high sodium diet has also been linked to hypertension.
While each of these herbs acts in a different way upon the body, all five have been shown to have beneficial effects upon blood pressure and general cardiac health. Regular use of any of them can certainly aid in achieving a blood pressure level that is in a safe and healthy range.
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