Herbs, supplements, a healthy eating pattern, and a few yoga exercises constitute the natural remedies for lowering high blood pressure.
Natural remedies are sometimes sufficient to prevent and control high blood pressure in people with family history of the condition or in people who have the risk factors. Here are some natural remedies for high blood pressure.
Nutritional changes to lower high blood pressure
1. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet - Researches have shown that DASH diet can reduce the risk of developing as well as lowering an already elevated blood pressure. DASH diet plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods and includes whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts too. This diet plan advises low intake of fats, red meats, sweets and sugared beverages.
DASH diet is particularly effective if you are overweight or obese. A Medical University of South Carolina study found that obesity may raise blood pressure through oxidative stress and DASH diet is effective in decreasing blood pressure by enhancing antioxidant capacity in obese people with hypertension. The researchers also found that blood pressure did not change significantly in lean people with normal blood pressure.
Another study from Australia suggested that the best diet to delay the onset of high blood pressure and high blood glucose related to age is one low in calories and saturated fats, and high in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
2. Reduce Salt/ Sodium Intake. Choose foods that are lower in salt and sodium content. The National Institute of Health recommends consumption of less that 2.4 g (2,400 mg) of sodium per day. It is equivalent to one teaspoon of table salt per day. Reducing sodium intake will work better if you increase consumption of potassium. Avoid processed foods, junk foods and fried foods.
3. Drink plenty of fluids daily. Drink water equivalent to 50 percent of your body weight in ounce. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 ounce of water every day.
4. Go easy on alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink if you are a woman and two drinks if you are a man.
Supplements to lower high blood pressure
Some supplements may help decrease hypertension. Although supplements can be taken in the form of pills or capsules, its best you take them in your diet as foods. Always consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your blood pressure treatment.
Supplements that help control high blood pressure include:
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – ALA can be obtained from foods such as flaxseeds, walnuts, soybean, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Omega-3 fatty acids – Food sources for omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, sardines, cod (14 ounces of fish per week), cod liver oil (3 teaspoons per day), walnut, and tofu.
Co-enzyme Q10 – Food sources for co-enzyme Q10 are not well documented. However, it is available from foods such as fish, organ meats viz. liver, kidney and heart, and whole grain germs.
Herbs and home remedies for lowering high blood pressure
Apart from herbs such as arjuna bark, olive leaf extract, and hawthorn, the following natural remedies also help lower high blood pressure.
Surprisingly, hot cocoa has been found to prevent and control high blood pressure. A study from Institute of Human Nutrition and Food Science, Christian Albrechts University, Germany, found that polyphenols in cocoa exhibit anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic activity. But they also indicated that bio-availability of cocoa polyphenols from dietary intake is very low.  So if you plan to get these polyphenols from chocolate, take into account its high energy content.
Alternatively, if you go by a Harvard research, drinking 5 cups of cocoa every day can help you control high blood pressure. This is because flavanols in cocoa stimulate your body’s production of nitric oxide that boosts blood flow to heart, brain and other organs.
Garlic, best known for its anti-cholesterol properties, also helps lower high blood pressure if taken over time. The recommended dose is 1-2 capsules to be taken twice a day, if you can’t take raw garlic cloves because of its pungent taste and smell. Garlic eases the spasm in the arteries, slows the pulse and modifies heart rhythm besides relieving the symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath and flatulence. Consult your doctor before using garlic as blood pressure treatment.
Rauwolfia serpentina, also called Indian snakeroot or sarpagandha, contains alkaloids that are used to treat high blood pressure. Rauwolfia alkaloids work by controlling nerve impulses along certain nerve pathways. They act on the heart and blood vessels and thus lower high blood pressure.
Oral dosage for adults is 50-100 mg of Rauwolfia tablets per day. However, rauwolfia will not cure your high blood pressure but it does help control it. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should avoid using rauwolfia to control their blood pressure.
4. Yoga and breathing exercises to control high blood pressure
Relaxation techniques such as yoga with breathing exercises can help you relax and reduce your stress levels and consequently lower high blood pressure. Consult your doctor before beginning on any yoga or breathing techniques.
Shavasana (the corpse pose) and sukhasana (the easy pose) are two yogasanas that help control high blood pressure.
Lie down face up on the yoga mat in a warm room.
Place your feet about 20 inches apart and loosen (relax) the ankles and toes so that they point outwards.
Place the hands palm up about 10 inches away from the body.
Ensure that your shoulder blades are pulled down and the small of your back is relaxed into the floor.
Completely relax the body so that eventually you’ll forget its there.
Focus on your breath. Breathe normally. Notice the subtle movements of breathing.
Feel yourself in tune with the rhythms of the body. Detach yourself from your thoughts. Let go.
Come out of shavasana very slowly so as to keep base with the tranquil and relaxed feelings inside of you.
It is a classic seated posture that will help you relax.
Sit on the yoga mat, fold the legs in toward your body, crossing the shins and placing each foot beneath the opposite knee.
Leave a comfortable gap between the feet and the pelvis.
Place your hands in your lap palm up. You may also lay your hands on your knees palm down.
Firm your shoulders but don’t overarch your lower back.
Sit in this position for as long as you are comfortable.
Breathe normally. Focus on your breathing till you relax.
Remember to alternate the cross of the legs.
Reach out to people. Nurture love and affection. Laugh as much as you can. Laughter is the best medicine. It is a good relaxation therapy. All these natural remedies can help you reduce stress and lower your high blood pressure.