“The different juices are aroused in these people as a result of gluttony in food and drink. They experience improper pleasure, sadness, anger and unbridled passions, these emotions bubble-up like water placed on a fire…Those who possess this disposition, often rage in anger, and quickly forget, because of their love of good nature. Their disposition tends to anger easily, but with light laughter and cheerfulness.”
– Hildegard of Bingen
People with High Blood Pressure
Those suffering from high blood pressure are often very happy and successful people who seem to have their lives in order. Common symptoms such as headaches, heart palpitations, and general malaise often only occur when blood pressure rises significantly, or for protracted periods of time. Among the many dangers of high blood pressure is that it may arise without any noticeable symptoms. Which is why hypertension is often referred to as “the silent killer”.
The Causes of High Blood Pressure
The causes of hypertension are varied, but are grouped into two general conditions. Often, a clear cause is never determined, with the condition developing gradually over time, even many years. This condition is referred to as ‘essential hypertension’ or ‘primary hypertension’.
For others, high blood pressure is caused by an underlying condition such as sleep apnea, kidney disorders, adrenal disorders, thyroid problems, congenital vascular disorders, chronic alcohol abuse, and medications. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly. Secondary hypertension tends to result in higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension, but can also be managed easier by resolving the underlying condition or lifestyle changes.
High blood pressure is generally associated with inelastic blood vessels (arteriosclerosis), persistent stress in one’s lifestyle, and obesity, but other risk factors include: age, race, family history, inactivity, tobacco use, and diet.
Lifestyle Choices Influence Blood Pressure
The risk of high blood pressure increases with age. In men, high blood pressure develops most often around age 45. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 65. High blood pressure is also more common among African-Americans, often developing at an earlier age than it does in whites. High blood pressure also tends to run in families, so it is important to consider your parents’ health history when considering your risk.
People who are sedentary tend to have higher resting heart rates, which mean the heart must work harder with each contraction resulting in more force in the arteries.
Basic lifestyle choices affect cardiovascular health
Smoking or chewing tobacco not only immediately raises your blood pressure, albeit temporarily, but can also permanently damage the lining of your artery walls, resulting in more narrow arteries, which increases blood pressure.
Other lifestyle choices like diet can cause both temporary and long-term affects that increase blood pressure. Too much salt (sodium) in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure. Conversely, too little potassium in your diet can result in retention of sodium in your bloodstream.
Drinking too much alcohol can, over time, damage your heart, which can cause high blood pressure, which in turn, contributes to cardiovascular disease.
The Discipline of Pre-Modern Medicine
Hildegard of Bingen medicine emphasized discipline and moderation for preventive measures. Combining Hildegard medicine with modern medicine means adopting basic lifestyle changes, using diet and medicinal herbs before the need for pharmaceutical intervention.
Hildegard’s belief in balance among spirit-mind-body helps to identify and reduce the high-pressure situations we face in our daily routine. Taking the time to explore our psychological circumstances and environmental stressors is an important part of managing the risk factors for high blood pressure as well as maintaining overall wellness.
Basic high blood pressure home remedies
In light and moderate cases of hypertension, we can often normalize blood pressure by consciously supporting healthy, holistic lifestyle choices. Building awareness of our diet, activity levels, and stress levels coupled with incorporating pre-modern techniques can prevent blood pressure from reaching the point of critical intervention.
In more severe cases, you may consider concurrent treatments utilizing both pre-modern holistic techniques in tandem with conventional modern medications. As always, it is essential that you discuss any regimen with your medical practitioner. At the very lease, holistic techniques may limit or ease some of the side effects of modern medical treatments.
Preventative high blood pressure home remedies
In cases of advanced hypertension, herbal treatments fall short of offering proven, reliable results. There are, however, many natural healing techniques that can serve a secondary role in advancing relief, and in the prevention of high blood pressure.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including relaxation techniques and long-term stress avoidance can significantly reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. Diet also plays an important role. In simplistic terms, limiting salt intake can make an immediate and lasting positive impact.
Reducing sodium intake
Familiarize yourself with salt content in processed and prepared foods. You may be surprised just how much sodium you ingest merely from a handful of processed foods. Prepared soups, cured or smoked meats, sausage, salad dressing, canned meat (tuna), frozen foods, and even bread can contribute a significant amount of sodium to your diet. This is before you even reach for the table salt.
Try incorporating fresh or preserved dried herbs, or consider Hildegard’s healing spices as away to cut back on added salt in your cooking. As always, cutting back on restaurant food and processed food in general will go a long way in improving your overall dietary profile.
Hildegard’s Lifestyle and High Blood Pressure Home Remedies
Among the most effective high blood pressure home remedies, Hildegard recommends physical activity as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s walking after dinner, enjoying the ART of nature, or finding a nice moderate exercise routine, regular physical activity helps control hypertension.
Hildegard’s ideal exercise involves some form of moderate exercise, with repetitive motion, such as jogging, walking, cycling, or swimming. Those activities that can be performed frequently, and broken-down into smaller components, appear to be the most successful. Finding something you enjoy is probably the single most important predictor of success. If you enjoy it, you are more likely to make it a regular part of your life.
When home remedies fail
In modern medicine, vasodilator and kidney stimulates are administered to reduce high blood pressure and mitigate the risk of stroke. In monastic medicine, bloodletting was originally prescribed, along with full baths, which were considered to have comparable effects. Full baths remain a useful technique in concurrence with other treatment, or as a preventative practice in addressing mild hypertension.
Eight Herbal High Blood Pressure Home Remedies
(1) Mistletoe herb (Viskum album)
Mistletoe tea has a mild blood pressure-lowering effect. The neurotransmitter, acetylcholine stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in vascular dilation which relieves the heart and lowers blood pressure.
(2) Olive tree (Olea europea)
Although Hildegard was not a huge fan of olive oil, regular moderate consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In folk medicine, the leaves of the olive tree are also used for supportive therapy.
(3) Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic works to protect blood vessels, prevents atherosclerosis, and lowers blood pressure, even at high doses.
(4) Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Causes peripheral arterial vasodilation and thus has the effect to lower blood pressure.
(5) Soothing Herbs
In addition to antihypertensive drugs, common soothing (sedative) plants play in active role in German folk medicine, such as Melissa, Valerian, Lavender and Passionflower are often found in high blood pressure home remedies.
(6) Mistletoe tea
Mistletoe lowers slightly elevated blood pressure. Mistletoe works best for symptoms attributable to mild elevations in blood pressure, such as headaches, circulatory problems, dizziness, irritability, and anxiety. Prepare mistletoe tea cold by pouring 1 cup of water over 1 teaspoon of dried mistletoe. Allow the mixture to sit for 8-10 hours (overnight) and drink 1-2 cups per day.
(7) Monastic Medicine Tea Mixture
Hildegard of Bingen medicine often resorts to herbal teas, and there’s no exception in finding useful high blood pressure home remedies. A soothing and heart-strengthening formula derived from monastic medicine is prepared as follows.
- 4 teaspoons (20 grams) St. John’s Wort;
- 4 teaspoons (20 grams) Yarrow;
- 4 teaspoons (20 grams) Hawthorn flower;
- 4 teaspoons (20 grams) Shepherd’s Purse;
- 4 teaspoons (20 grams) Centaurium
You can combine these herbs yourself, have them prepared at an herbal pharmacy, or simply purchase a prepackaged Hildegard product. Bear in mind, Mistletoe should be added, which is prepared through a cold extract process; add 1 teaspoon of mistletoe to 1 cup cold water, allow it to steep for 8 to 10 hours (overnight), then strain.
This monastic tea mixture works best by combining about 1 tablespoon of the mixture with a cup of hot water, and allow it to steep for 10 minutes, before straining. Use the mistletoe extract to blend with your cups of tea, consuming the mixture several times per day.
(8) Full baths (preventive)
Full baths serve a useful role as one of the high blood pressure home remedies. Water pressure helps in increase blood flow among peripheral blood vessels, thus reducing heart’s workload.
Ideally, these baths are not prepared at scorching hot temperatures. Consider a 30 minute bath in less than 100 degree bath water (ideally, 97 degrees Fahrenheit). Immediately following the bath, shower your legs only with cold water. Depending on your preference, use calming essential oils or bath salts, such as lemon balm and lavender.
Relaxing baths are among the great high blood pressure home remedies. Caution should be used in the application of cold water after a bath. People suffering from hyper-tension should not step into a cold shower immediately after a hot bath, because this leads to high blood pressure.