Hypertension – An Ayurvedic Perspective
Ayurvedic Treatment for Hypertension
These days what is that one common thing which we notice all around in our society? We see that every second person gets easily annoyed. In order to calm them down, we normally say that why are you elevating your blood pressure. In another words, sometimes we see that due to high blood pressure, a person becomes irritated and frustrated, more often. So it has become a vicious circle. A person gets easily annoyed and at the same time hypertension has also become a problem. Today we are going to discuss about what exactly is hypertension or high blood pressure.
Blood pressure of a normal person is generally about 120/80. If this blood pressure is about 140/90, then it is called pre-hypertension. If a person has a blood pressure more than 140/90, then it is called hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension increases the risk of heart diseases, kidney problems, and damage to eyes and brain.
To discuss hypertension in detail, today we have with us, our ayurveda expert, Dr. Parmeshwar Arora. Once again, welcome to the show sir.
Q. Today we are here to make our viewers aware of hypertension. First of all, what would you like to tell us about hypertension?
Hypertension refers to elevated blood pressure or high blood pressure. There are two types of blood pressure: systolic and diastolic. Whenever you get your blood pressure checked, you get the result in the form of a fraction wherein the numerator represents systolic blood pressure i.e. the blood pressure when the heart is in the state of contraction, and the denominator represents diastolic blood pressure which refers to the blood pressure when our heart is in relaxation state. During contraction the heart pumps out the blood and the pressure of blood during this phase is called as systolic blood pressure. Often, 120 ml of mercury is considered as an ideal systolic blood pressure. Similarly, during relaxation, the venous blood from different parts of our body comes back into our heart and this pressure is referred to as diastolic blood pressure. This is a relaxation phase and if we talk about the mercury level then it is observed to be 80 ml of mercury which is considered to be an ideal diastolic blood pressure. If in a person, the blood pressure is found to be elevated then we say that a particular patient has a high blood pressure. Generally, if we find a variation upto 10 units i.e. if systolic pressure is 110 0r 130 instead of 120 then we just take it as a warning signal and we let go our patient after advising them to restrict their diet or to bring change in lifestyle or to exercise or to start meditation. A variation of more than 10 units, either downside or upside is not considered normal i.e. if in a person systolic pressure crosses 130 or diastolic pressure crosses 90 then we say that the particular person is now a patient of hypertension or his blood pressure has gone above the normal limits.
Q. It means that if a person is irritated when his blood pressure is under the 130/90, then its normal anger, right?
Q. I had told our viewers that it’s a vicious circle. If somebody gets annoyed more often then we say that his blood pressure has increased and sometimes it is observed that if somebody has high blood pressure then that too becomes a reason of frequent bouts of anger. So, what is your opinion regarding this? What is the reason for hypertension? Is it anger which causes hypertension or does hypertension cause increased anger?
You have used very right term when you said that a vicious circle has settled. Definitely, when you live under lot of stress and get irritated quite often or react violently to little things then it increases your blood pressure. When you have high blood pressure you develop a tendency of anger, irritability, intolerability. So certainly, it is a vicious circle and it is difficult to say that whether your irritability has caused increased blood pressure or you had increased blood pressure because of which you get angry so often. But one thing which is certain is that neither of the conditions is good.
Q. If we come to the reasons of hypertension then according to Ayurveda, what causes this condition?
It has been referred to as a complete vatic disorder. That means, when you consume such food items or lead such a lifestyle which considerably increase vayu (air) in your body then it somehow makes the blood toxic and converts you into a patient of high blood pressure. If we talk about the reasons which are responsible for aggravated vayu then they are consumption of stale food, consumption lot of dry food (with less or no liquid content), consumption of oily food items etc and at the same time not exercising or night awakening or having lot of physical desires and living under too much stress. These things aggravate vayu (or air) inside our body and this aggravated vayu intoxicates blood as well as damages arteries by making them stiff. These are very small facts. Vayu is known to have a character of drying things. So the aggravated vayu disturbs the normal elasticity of arteries by making them dry. You would have observed pipes. When they become dry they become stiff and lose their dilatation or elasticity, because dryness compromises their property of elasticity. Similarly, the aggravated vayu disturbs the normal texture of our arteries by drying them up. As a result, the lumen of arteries become narrow. According to a science principle, area * velocity = constant which means if the area decreases, the velocity will increase. So in the case of arteries when the lumen becomes narrow, pressure of the blood flowing through them, rises. Thus, according to Ayurveda, vayu has been considered as the main culprit for causing this condition.
Q. We have discussed various reasons which may be responsible for increased blood pressure. Lifestyle is one of them. Please tell us about how is lifestyle responsible for hypertension?
As I told you, if somebody leads a stressful life, and has anxiety, depression, irritability, or he does not take sufficient sleep due to which his brain is not able to relax then all these conditions contribute to high blood pressure.
Q. What are the different types of blood pressure?
You have indeed asked a very good question. If we talk about categories then in about 90% cases we don’t have good reasons to explain that why it has happened. This type of blood pressure is called primary or essential blood pressure. In such cases, even after complete body scan of the patient, we won’t be able to tell the patient that why he has got into this condition. Idiopathic hypertension is the other name given to this type of hypertension. Remaining 10% cases of hypertension are such where we have reasons to explain to the patient. The reasons could be some problem in the kidney, erythro sclerosis, elevated lipid profile, more salt intake, increased sodium ions (which causes water retention tendencies), improper blood circulation, or some hormonal imbalance. Thus, there are 10% cases where we have reasons to explain that what is the reason behind high blood pressure in a particular patient. This type of blood pressure is called as secondary or pathological hypertension. In case of essential hypertension, we have no reasons to explain but this is true only in terms modern science.
Q. If we talk about elderly people, they often feel lonely, stressed and something is continuously going on in their minds.
True and as I have already told you this stress results in aggravated vayu which in turn increases blood pressure.
Q. So what is the treatment for this and how can we resolve this problem?
I am repeatedly mentioning vayu (or air). Since vayu is the culprit, you need to take anti-vata treatment. You don’t have to reduce the intake of milk and ghee (i.e. clarified butter). I must be sounding weird, but the sense is, we have to prevent dryness. You have to always consume such things which do not form gas, you have to avoid constipation, take proper sleep during nights. What happened if you are old, massage your scalp with cow’s ghee (clarified butter prepared from cow’s milk). Massage the sole of your foot. The idea is, you should get a very good sleep. You should take care to keep your bowels clear. For this, you can consume ‘triphala’ (an Ayurvedic herbal rasayana formula consisting of equal parts of three myrobalans, taken without seed: Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)) or ‘isabgol husk’ (or Psyllium seed husks). Even you can take castor oil, once a week, as it removes the dryness inside our body and clears the bowel, as well. If you take these small precautions, they will help you a lot. Take regular walk. Consume ghee but along with that take walks too. Generally the problem is that in order to maintain weight we avoid consuming ghee but don’t go for walk. It’s not a good thing. I would say, you eat ghee but go for a walk. That’s a better way.
Q. You have very nicely explained that how we can control our blood pressure. But, are there any Ayurvedic medicines also, for this?
Here, in case of hypertension, we have to maintain good circulation. We have to remove the cholesterol which has got deposited inside our arteries. We also need to do some mental relaxation simultaneously. For this, we have some preparations of ‘arjuna‘ like ‘arjunadi ghan vati’, which we ask our patients to consume as 2 tablets each in morning and evening. For mental relaxation, we give a combination of ‘ashwagandha’ (or indian ginseng), ‘sarpgandha’ (or Rauvolfia root) and ‘brahmi’ (or water hyssop). Along with this, we also give an Ayurvedic medicine called ‘sheetal yog’ which is taken as 1gm with milk at bedtime. If you take these medicines, you will see that you would not need any allopathic medicines.
But, here I would like to tell you one thing that blood pressure is such a problem which should not be ignored because if it continues to remain high then it can even lead to brain hemorrhage. It can give rise to various other diseases and also become a reason for heart attack. Thus, you should make an effort through good diet, good life-style, good mind, positive attitude and through the Ayurvedic medicines, to keep the blood pressure under control. If somebody has already become a patient of hypertension and has to depend upon some allopathic medicines, then I would never suggest that you immediately stop taking those allopathic medicines. It’s very important for you to keep the blood pressure under control. I would rather suggest that you initially start taking Ayurvedic medicines along with the other medicines which you are already taking. Gradually with your effort and with the help of Ayurvedic medicines, as you feel better, you can stop taking allopathic medicines.
If once you have become a patient of high blood pressure then you should be careful enough to keep a regular watch on your blood pressure, throughout your life. Even if at some point, you feel that your blood pressure has become stable , it can be your misunderstanding. So I would advise that get your blood pressure checked at regular intervals and if you need to take allopathic medicine, please do that so that your blood pressure always remains under control.