30% of the English, 29% of Americans, and 20% of Canadians have a blood pressure above 140/90 or hypertension. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries, carrying blood throughout the body. The heart beats at 60 to 70 times per minute and with each pulse it pushes blood through the arteries. Blood pressure is highest when the heart contracts to pump the blood. When the heart muscles relax the blood pressure falls. The top number of the blood pressure ratio is the pressure of the heart contracting (systolic pressure) and the bottom number is the pressure of the heart relaxing (diastolic pressure).
Blood pressure changes with the normal activities of life. It naturally goes up during exertion and lowers during rest. It is only when blood pressure remains high over a period of time that a diagnosis of high blood pressure is made.
Health effects of high blood pressure
If untreated, high blood pressure can lead to serious health consequences such as damage to the arterial walls, heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and damage to the heart. While pharmaceutical treatment of high blood pressure focuses on the symptoms, herbal remedies for high blood pressure provide a tonic to support the body and increase the efficiency of the heart and blood circulation.
Herbs for high blood pressure
Several herbs for high blood pressure are used synergistically. David Hoffman (Medical Herbalism, 304) recommends Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), Linden (Tilia platyphyllod), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Cramp bark or High Bush Cranberry (Vibernum opulus, aka V. tilobum), and Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). Herbs for high blood pressure need to provide not just the lowering of the blood pressure, but also a tonic to the heart, a diuretic, an antispasmodic, a vascular tonic, and a relaxant.
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