In Parts 1 and 2 of this article, I discussed the root cause of high blood pressure and the empowerment that comes with identifying that cause and addressing your problem. It is time we reclaimed responsibility for our own health and I trust that the following suggestions may help you achieve that goal.
The current treatment for hypertension is a lifetime prescription of drugs with a range of acknowledged side-effects. In this segment, we will discuss nutrients, herbs and fats that can reduce high blood pressure without the pharmaceutical downside.
The Potential of CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10 is a nutrient called ubiquinol or ubiquinone and, as the name suggests, it is truly ubiquitous. It is found in every cell in our body, where it is used to generate energy. There are larger concentrations of this nutrient in our hearts and brains, because these organs require more energy than elsewhere. It is ironic, when we talk side-effects, that this critical heart protector is shut down as a consequence of taking lipid-lowering drugs. The lipid-lowering drugs shut down mevalonate, the building block for cholesterol. Unfortunately, mevalonate is also the building block for Coenzyme Q10. The world's largest selling drug is shutting down the most important nutrient for heart protection – you can't get it more wrong than that! Australia has lead the world in recognising a profound link between CoQ10 and blood pressure. Several Western Australian studies have demonstrated that 100 mg of this nutrient supplemented twice a day can significantly lower high blood pressure. It is important to choose ubiquinol rather than the less active ubiquinone.
Handling Hypertension with Herbs
There are several herbs that can successfully address high blood pressure, which include basil, cinnamon, garlic, cardamon, hawthorne berry, lavender, celery seed and cat’s claw. It would not be difficult to make a herbal tincture involving some, if not all, of these herbs. This would simply involve placing the fresh or dried herbal mixture in a jar, covering them in vodka and leaving the infusion to sit for three weeks while the alcohol extracts the active ingredients. This DIY tincture might typically be supplemented at one teaspoon, three times a day. You may need to consult with your doctor or a naturopath if you are already taking blood pressure drugs. Otherwise, if you are not self-monitoring, you may risk creating a problem with low blood pressure.
Garlic is a wonderful healing herb that has been well researched tor hypertension, but there is a trick you need to know to maximise the benefits. Allicin, the key, active phytochemical found in garlic, is created only when two other substances in garlic are oxidised and fused together. In a process a little like the mixing of two components to create the glue, araldite, allicin is born from the embrace of two substances in the presence of oxygen. Here, we simply bash the garlic to allow oxygen to create the fusion. This oxidation process takes 11 minutes, but it is worth the wait because now you have unleashed the true medicinal potential of garlic. Yes, you will have garlic breath after swallowing the medicinal dose of two garlic cloves, but that is easily neutralised by chewing on a sprig of parsley.
Cinnamon can be combined with honey and apple cider vinegar in a popular cocktail that has been shown to lower blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure. As I mentioned in an earlier post, these conditions are all part of a problem package called "metabolic syndrome". It seems that they may actually be part of the same continuum, rather than separate health issues. There is an important tip when using cinnamon medicinally. You must select cinnamon sourced from Sri Lanka (Ceylon). This is important because cinnamon sourced from elsewhere often contains around 5% of a nasty toxin called coumarin. This substance is very hard on the liver and, in this context, the use of high dose cinnamon can do more harm than good. Ceylon cinnamon, by contrast, contains an infinitesimal 0.0004% of coumarin, which does not stress your liver. Here is the recipe that seems to be most productive: on a daily basis, consume a combination of one teaspoon of honey with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 3/4 of a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon.
Hawthorne berry extract can be purchased in chemists, health shops and even supermarkets. It is often as effective as the drugs for mild hypertension (e.g., 150/90), but when the problem is more advanced, it becomes much less effective.
Celery seed has a well-earned reputation as a gout remedy but it can also help lower blood pressure. Interestingly, high uric acid (gout) is another condition that may be part of the metabolic syndrome continuum. Celery seed can be purchased in most good chemist shops, but it is also a great strategy to purchase 500 grams of the actual seed from a health food outlet to make your own celery seed tea. The trick here (there is always a trick) is to crush the fresh seed, immediately before use, with a coffee grinder. The powder is then used to make the tea. One tablespoon of crushed seed powder will produce two cups of medicinal tea.
Fats that Heal
I once posed a hypothetical to a large group of varied holistic practitioners. I asked what their single choice of supplement would be, should their choice be restricted to just one nutrient. I was surprised at the speed of their unified response. Within just two minutes, it was agreed that the one precious supplement would be fish oil. When researching the benefits of this form of omega-3 fatty acids, it soon becomes obvious why they made that call. There has been research demonstrating the multiple benefits of fish oil in addressing the main things that are killing us. This huge list includes high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, cognitive decline, ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
The huge link between inflammation and disease is part of this story. Our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio should be 2:1 in favour of omega-6 fats. In Australia that ratio has blown out to 20:1 and this is a serious issue. We all have an inflammatory cascade, where omega-6 fats are the building blocks for the first stage of a two-part process. We experience an initial inflammation following trauma, for example, and then the anti-inflammatory response begins the healing process. This anti-inflammatory process is driven by omega-3 fatty acids. What happens when you have ten times more of the inflammation builders than the counterbalancing drivers of the healing process? Well, you have inflammation, and lots of it. There is no degenerative illness that does not have an inflammatory link.
Under-supplementation is a common problem when addressing deficiencies. Many people supplement with a couple of fish oil capsules a day. This is seriously short of the mark, if you are trying to reclaim the correct balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fats. You actually need around ten capsules a day, and a great way to achieve this level of omega-3 correction is to take a tablespoon of cod liver oil each day. Make sure that the product you choose has been molecularly distilled to remove mercury contamination. You must also ensure that the manufacturers have not stripped out the natural vitamin A and vitamin D3 and replaced it with ineffective, synthetic forms. One tablespoon of cod liver oil contains the equivalent omega-3 of ten capsules of fish oil, but it also has very high levels of vitamin A and vitamin D3. The D3 is of huge importance, as it has recently been determined that the vast majority of us are lacking this cancer-fighting, immune-enhancing nutrient.
Fish oil is also a major player when addressing hypertension and it is also a wonderful way to clean clogged arteries.
In my last three posts, we have discussed the root causes of high blood pressure and proven alternatives to pharmaceutical intervention. The goal of this series is to empower you to reclaim responsibility for your own health. It is not difficult to buy an inexpensive meter and to monitor your own blood pressure. You are then positioned to identify the root cause of your problem and empowered to cure the problem, rather than treating symptoms with drugs for the rest of your life. I wish you every success.