In the last blog you would have realized that BP lowering (i.e. anti-hypertensive) allopathic medicines have severe side effects in the long run like dry mouth/eyes, mouth blisters, burning mouth syndrome, brain disorders like depression, vertigo, alzheimer, dementia, irritated mind, insomnia, parkinson’s, bloating, constipation, kidney failure, unexplained weight gain or weight loss.. The list is long and different people taking these medicines face different challenges (to visualize their effect and to understand that how these medicines change our blood flow and bring serious imbalances, please watch this video)
And therefore, it is important to understand the root cause of high blood pressure which Ayurveda can explain along with its cure. But before I proceed further, here is a testimonial (apart from my own case history in the last blog) to prove that even home remedies (which are nothing but based on fundamentals of Ayurveda only) along with abstinence from wrong foods (as per constitution) can cure chronic high blood pressure issues.
So what causes hypertension? let us spend a few seconds to discuss this. Because of the untiring 24/7 pumping of blood by our heart, our blood vessels experience certain amount of pressure which is required and for which a healthy body is well equipped. The problem comes when our blood vessels begin to narrow and/or the blood becomes so thick that it is doesn’t flow freely thereby causing excess pressure on the heart as well as the blood vessels thereby narrowing them. But why does this narrowing happen? It happens because of one or combination of the following reasons (out of which two were used to cure the person discussed in the testimonial which we shall briefly discuss in the end) :-
When our body has so much of heat or say current which is called as pitta in ayurvedic terms (heat in the body gets generated either because we are eating high pitta foods i.e. spicy foods and/or over exercising our body and/or staying in hot environment) that this heat burns up all the food stored. The problem comes when burning up of food is not being replenished with enough sweet and cold food (sweet doesn’t mean sugar but it means those foods that increase tissues in the body i.e. a combination of proteins, fats and good carbohydrates). This heat thus produced apart from burning food also generates acids in the body, which cause sourness in our body and swell our body tissues. Once body tissues swell, they reduce the size of blood vessels thereby narrowing it and increasing blood pressure. And since blood is also a tissue, the excess sourness swells up even our blood cells thereby making it thick and difficult to move. A person of this nature would exhibit slight hyperactive mind and will be medium or thin built.
CURE FOR REASON ONE
Such a case can easily be cured by having foods, which are sweet, cold and astringent (like pomegranate, milk with rose) because cold and sweetness will neutralize heat and astringency will reduce the size of swollen up tissues and cells thereby neutralizing sourness. Rest will also help to keep pitta under control. Physical strains including exercises should be avoided in such cases till such time the person concerned is cured. (to understand the effect of Astringent and sour foods pl watch this video).
The second reason for high BP is when one is eating too much of sweet foods but pitta or warmth in their body is so low that it is not enough to break down the food eaten. Thus partially digested food develops toxins which again thicken the blood. In this case too, thick blood will exert more pressure on the heart and blood vessels and not reach all the corners leading to poor blood circulation. A person of this nature would be towards obesity (including slight sluggishness) in nature and will have a tendency to develop diabetes characterized by white deposits on the tongue due to poor agni as a result of low pitta where agni is an ayurvedic term which means metabolism.
CURE FOR REASON TWO
So such a case would need foods that are warm (pitta increasing) as warmth will increase pitta thereby digesting the toxins and food properly and astringency would thin the blood. Exercise would also help to increase pitta in their body.
If sourness is also accompanied in such cases (which would definitely mean obesity) then foods, which are warm as well as astringent like turmeric, will cure the disease. Triphla would work wonders in such cases being hot and astringent with sweet as aftertaste to avoid acid accumulation in the body. Such cases are also likely to develop diabetes type two due to obesity and warm and astringent foods will help in curing both the diseases.
The third case which is most common in today’s world is when the mind is hyperactive (more than the rest of the body) leading to an apparently healthy body containing irritated/hyperactive/forgetful mind with issues like sleeplessness/too much of dreams/headaches etc. Infact in most of the cases, this is also one of the reasons apart from others which leads to high BP. Such circumstances develop when one has been having too much of vasodilating foods which reduce blood towards the upper body (like liquor, tobacco, chocolate, tea, coffee, onion, garlic and even broccoli/beetroot) coupled with excess of mental work (leading to too much of vata and pitta in the brain thereby burning it). Of course this could be inborn trait too. In fact even BP lowering allopathic medicines also reduce blood towards the brain making it hyperactive and further increasing one’s BP and making the patient dependent on BP meds taking him/her into a vicious circle. Those who are born with lesser blood towards brain (meaning high vata or say highly creative people) are even more prone to this type of BP especially if they take any of the vasodilating food.
CURE FOR REASON THREE
Such cases can be cured by having those foods/medicines which increase blood flow towards the brain. For example herbs like brahmi which are sweet, bitter and astringent along with other calming herbs like ashwagandha, sarpagandha, jatamanshi etc. if taken in night (remember only in night when we are lying down because they work with gravity) will take more blood towards the brain due to gravity and repair it to calm down thereby controlling the blood pressure. On the other hand, Mukta i.e. moti (pearl) helps to neutralize hyper-acidity in the body as pearl is nothing but calcium carbonate, which is used by even modern medicine to reduce acidity in the body. This combination of all the herbs mentioned above is termed as mukta vati and is available in the market under different brand names. By the way, even Bael fruit (wood-apple) also has all these three tastes and is a wonderful fruit for curing high BP.
But there is catch here. A hyperactive mind is not only because of high Vata but may also be because of high pitta riding on high vata. And pitta emanates as a result of glutamate-gabe regulation by pancreas. So if pancreas is high on inflammation (high V or P or both), then one would need to cure this too to control high pitta. And again foods/meds like Bael fruit and Mukta vati do this job if taken in the daytime (so that gravity takes astringency and sweetness there). Thus one has to be carefully judge that how much of these foods/meds are to be taken in the daytime and nighttime.
Also, yogasanas that increase blood flow towards brain/pancreas as the case may be are the good ways for calming down vata and pitta of the brain thereby controlling BP.
Another interesting part here is that those people who get lesser blood towards their brain, get pulled excessively towards salty foods as salt increases overall volume of blood thereby increasing it towards the brain as well and giving a feeling of instant satisfaction/kick. But then excess volume of blood increases BP taking the person into a vicious circle.
*** However vata towards mind is not only an outcome of weak mind but also sometimes weak heart. Because a weak heart would not be able to pump enough blood towards the brain to keep it calm. And therefore there are times when medicines to even strengthen the heart are also required e.g. Arjun ki chhal (arjun bark) is sometimes added in the above mentioned concoction to impart strength to heart and mind thus relieving one of high vata in the mind and thus hypertension/stress.
The fourth case is when a person has very high kapha meaning more blood (amounting to low metabolism) towards the brain. The result is that such people would have calm and confident mind (unlike the third case) however they will also be stubborn or lets say less flexible in their ideas / opinions / thoughts as compared to those of reason three. Also to note that human body works on an axis of low blood towards one side and more blood towards another (this will be touched in my blogs on medical astrology) and therefore a person with lot of blood towards brain is likely to have less blood towards the lower body. This leads to weak pancreas leading to lesser production of insulin. Thus, in all probability, such people are also likely to develop diabetes due to low metabolism and poor insulin production which is called as Diabetes type 1.5. Such people are also likely to develop issues like UTI etc. because of weaker lower body parts.
Cure for reason four
Contrary to reason three, such people would be benefited by vasodilating foods and medicines, if taken in the morning. However as seen earlier even here not all vasodilating foods are good for such cases (since tea/coffee, garlic/onion are pungent too apart from being vasodilating and astringent and would rather increase pitta instead of reducing it) because here the aim is to reduce excess blood from the brain and increase it towards the lower body parts. And therefore only those foods will help here which are bitter (vasodilating), astringent as well as sweet e.g. Mukta vati, bael fruit, and even veggies like palak paneer (north indian dish made out of spinach and cottage cheese).
*** Allopathic medicines belonging to ARB (angiotensin receptor blocker) group being vasodilating if taken in the morning are okay for this type of case (reason four), however no vasodilating food/medicine should be continued for too long and should be discontinued (tapered off) once kapha has been pacified in the brain. Secondly since allopathic meds do not understand the principle of six tastes, the user continues to take high pungency foods along with such medicines leading to damage to the lower body parts.
HOW EXACTLY WAS THE CASE IN TESTIMONIAL CURED
Kamaldeep’s wife’s case (testimonial in the video above) is a very interesting example where two out of the four causes mentioned above were found. The lady is a vata personality who was using vasodilating foods in her kitchen (as most of the world does). She had also consumed lot of citrus juices during her pregnancy to stay healthy. The result was that she had a Vata and Pitta mind and body and high heart rate. So what she needed was a combo of cure against reason one and three. She took pomegranate juice which brought down her BP within 4-5 days. However there still was fluctuation in her BP. She was also showing signs of anxiety and lack of sleep. So what she took was Sumedha, a concoction of brahmi, ashwagandha, sarpagandha, shankhpushpi, arjun etc., which pacified vata of her brain and heart and also bael in the morning and afternoon which pacified pitta by repairing pancreas (remember Brahmi is called so as it improves blood flow towards the brain thus settling high vata and taking one towards Brahm and is required by most of the people in the world). And within a total of ten days she was cured and got rid of allopathic medicines as well as ayurvedic remedies (of course allopathic meds were tapered off during the days when she was on ayurvedic meds and infact these meds had done more harm to her by increasing vata).
So finally to conclude:-
(a) Different people have different constitution and therefore their cure must also be different.
(b) Contrary to the current norm that one has to take BP lowering medicines forever, hypertension is curable, meaning medicines to control it is not supposed to be taken forever. If you are taking it forever or for too long then it is clear that the medicine is not hitting the root cause and is rather aggravating the condition. This logic is applicable for all therapies including ayurveda.
(c) Prolonged usage of allopathic BP lowering drugs can bring irreversible changes (or difficult to reverse just as you read in my case history) in the long run where such natural cures may also become ineffective and that’s why it is better that you switch over to Ayurveda as soon as possible for controlling high BP. This is because as stated earlier, allopathic BP lowering drugs reduce blood from the upper part of the body including brain, face, throat etc. thereby further increasing the hyperactive brain along with other painful conditions. So when one takes ayurvedic medicines, they help in increasing blood towards core of the brain by pulling it from other parts of the body however in the bargain this drastically drops blood supply on the facial area since upper part of the body was as such getting less blood due to prolonged use of allopathic BP medicines. All this leads to issues like blocked nose, headaches etc which look as side effects of Mukta vati though they have cropped up because of a prolonged usage of allopathic drugs.
(d) While switching over from allopathy to ayurvedic cures of hypertension, one should ensure that while taking ayurvedic meds/bael fruit, one tapers off allopathic medicines while monitoring BP on daily basis. Most of the cases get cured and become medicine free (even ayurvedic) within five to fifteen days itself. Also remember that during this transition, time of consumption of allopathic and ayurvedic med should have a gap of at least 8 hrs and time of ayurvedic med should be consumed as mentioned in cures against different reasons.
(e) its extremely important to know that which bracket you fall in when trying to cure yourself of high BP issue. This is because using cure without proper diagnosis can boomerang. To give you an example, a person with high BP because of reason four if given cure as per reason three, will further add more blood (kapha which is opposite of vata) towards brain and would further increase BP and vice versa. And therefore even if one is confident of diagnosis, one should monitor BP on daily basis (may be twice or thrice a day), to check if one is on the right path. In fact on similar lines, a person with reason three (less blood in brain) may become a person with reason four (more blood in brain), if he/she doesn’t stop meds like Mukta vati in the night after his/her BP has been cured and resulting in re-shooting up of BP and therefore as mentioned earlier one must monitor BP on regular basis and stop Mutka vati as soon as BP comes under control.
(f) Last but not the least, this article was to give you an insight of how ayurveda can cure different types of BP and not to go for self medication. It is highly recommended that one consults an ayurvedic expert who can judge your constitution by reading your behavior and pulse and treat you accordingly. Of course, knowledge from this article will help you to judge the expertise of the attending practitioner and also understand your constitution :-).