Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen are folk-remedy experts and home tipsters based in New York City. They have spent decades collecting “cures from the cupboard” and are authors of several books, including Secret Food Cures.
Blood pressure is one of the most fundamental elements of human health. Hypertension, high blood pressure, can cause a series of problems. Over time it can contribute to heart attacks, stroke, and a variety of other issues. Less common is low blood pressure which has less severe side effects but can cause lasting fainting and dizziness due to low oxygen. Fortunately, high blood pressure is responsive to lifestyle changes like diet and exercises, while low blood pressure may respond to breathing exercises and other simple efforts. These natural blood pressure remedies may help alleviate the symptoms of high and low blood pressure.
In the following excerpt from Secret Food Cures Lydia and Joan Wilen offer both scientific and folk natural blood pressure remedies for those experiencing problems with their blood pressure.
More than 65 million Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure). If you’re one of those people, obviously you’re not alone. We urge you to take a look at your lifestyle and, once and for all, do something to change whatever is causing the blood pressure problem.
The most important dietary recommendation for lowering blood pressure is to increase the consumption of plant foods in the diet, according to Jade Beutler, RRT, RCP, San Diego–based CEO of Lignan Research LLC and a licensed health care practitioner. A primarily vegetarian diet typically contains less saturated fat and refined carbohydrates, and more potassium, complex carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and essential fatty acids.
To help combat the effects of hypertension, start with these suggestions—after consulting your doctor.
◆ If you’re overweight, diet sensibly (without diet pills).
◆ Eliminate salt (use sea salt in moderation) and cut down on or cut out red meat.
◆ To reduce the stress of your everyday life, try meditation or a self-help program. Ask a health professional for guidance and reputable contacts.
◆ If you smoke, stop!
◆ If you drink alcohol, stop! Or at least cut down drastically
When blood pressure is measured, there are two numbers reported. The first and higher number is the systolic. It measures the pressure inside the arteries when the heart beats (constricts). The diastolic is the lower number and measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest in between beats.
Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg
Read on for more strategies that will help to improve your blood pressure…
If Your Blood Pressure Is High…
• Eat two apples a day. The pectin in apples may help lower high blood pressure.
• Eat raw garlic in salads and use it in cooking. Also take garlic supplements daily—one after breakfast and one after dinner
•According to a university study, blood pressure can be reduced by staring at fish in a fish tank. The relaxation benefits of fish-watching are equal to biofeedback and meditation. If caring for a tank of fish isn’t for you, check the Internet or your local video store for tapes of aquariums and fish swimming in their natural habitats.
• Cucumbers are rich in potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. They’re also a good diuretic and calming agent. To help bring down blood pressure, try eating a cucumber every day. If you have a juicer, drink 1 ⁄2 cup of fresh cucumber juice. You can also include some carrots and parsley, which is another good diuretic.
■ Recipe ■
Cucumbers in Sour Cream
2 large cucumbers, sliced.
1 tsp salt 1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped chives.
1 tsp dill weed.
1 ⁄4 tsp granulated sugar
Dash of pepper
Peel cucumbers and slice thin. Sprinkle with one teaspoon salt and let stand 30 minutes. Drain well. Combine sour cream, vinegar, chives, dill weed, sugar and pepper. Pour over cucumbers. Taste and add additional salt, if needed. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.Source: RecipeGoldmine.com
• Drink two cups of potato water daily.
• Cayenne pepper is a wonderful blood pressure stabilizer.
• Add 1 ⁄8 teaspoon to a cup of goldenseal tea and drink a cup daily
More Accurate Blood Pressure Readings
When measuring blood pressure, it’s important to make sure your reading is as accurate as possible. One way to ensure you get a proper reading is to keep your arm bent.
According to investigators from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, blood pressure readings can be 10% higher if a person’s arm is held parallel to the body.
So, bend that arm! Make sure your elbow is at a right angle to your body with the elbow flexed at a heart level. This should give the most precise reading. And for the record, it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting, standing, or laying down for the test—as long as you’re in the same position every time you’re tested, results should be accurate.
• In a blender, or by using a mortar and pestle, crush two teaspoons of dried watermelon seeds. Put them in a cup of just-boiled water and let them steep for one hour. Stir, strain and drink the watermelon-seed tea a half-hour before a meal.
Repeat the procedure before each meal, three times a day. After taking the tea for a few days, have your pressure checked and see if it has improved. Watermelon-seed tea can be bought at health food stores.
NOTE: Watermelon seeds are known to strengthen kidney function—and increase urine production. Be prepared to use bathroom facilities often
• How would you like a hot or cold cup of raspberry-leaf tea? It may help bring down your blood pressure. Combine one ounce of raspberry leaves to two cups of boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes in an enamel or glass saucepan. Drink one cup a day, hot or cold (no ice cubes). After a week, check the results by having your blood pressure taken.
• The faster you talk, the less oxygen you have coming in. The less oxygen, the harder your heart has to work to maintain the supply of oxygen in your body. The harder the heart has to work, the higher your blood pressure seems to go. The bottom line here is that if you talk slowly, you should need to take bigger and better breaths, giving you more oxygen and preventing your blood pressure from climbing.
Just as there are people with high blood pressure, there are people (not as many) with low blood pressure. These remedies are said to be effective blood pressure regulators and stabilizers.
• Scientific studies have shown that five to 10 minutes of laughter first thing in the morning improves blood pressure levels. What’s there to laugh at first thing in the morning? Listen to a funny local radio DJ, or go online and type in “jokes” at any Internet search engine (Yahoo!, Google, Bing, Dogpile, Excite).
• We heard from a Russian folk healer who recommends drinking 1 ⁄2 cup of raw beet juice when a person feels that his/her blood pressure may be a little too low. This healer also told us hat a person with low blood pressure knows that feeling.
• Deep breathing may help to bring your blood pressure levels up to normal. First thing in the morning and last thing at night, perform this breathing exercise.
Let all the air out of your lungs—exhale, squeezing all the air out—then let the air in through your nostrils slowly, to the count of seven. When no more air will fit in your lungs, hold tight for the count of 14. Next, gently let the air out through your mouth to the count of seven—all the way out. Inhale and exhale this way 10 times.
Even when your blood pressure is normal, continue this breathing exercise for all kinds of physical benefits.