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Supplements That Help Manage Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition that can significantly impact your cardiovascular health if left unmanaged. Learn how you can manage it better.

Supplements to manage hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure occurs when the pressure in blood vessels is at 140/90 mmHg or higher.

Blood pressure has two elements, the systolic and diastolic. The first represents the pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats, while the second represents the pressure in vessels when the heart rests between beats.

While it is common, it can develop into something serious. In fact, it is among the major causes of early death across the globe.

Nearly 1.3 billion adults between the ages of 30 to 79 are afflicted with hypertension, the majority of which live in low- and middle-income countries.

What causes hypertension?

A diet high in sodium, calories, saturated and trans-fats, and sugar increases the risk of hypertension. 

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, and sleep apnea can also make one more susceptible to this condition.

Certain drugs may also become the culprit of hypertension and even make existing health problems worse. Ibuprofen, for instance, belongs to the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and can cause hypertension and kidney damage, aggravate heart failure symptoms, or even trigger a heart attack or stroke.

Certain medicines for cough and colds have decongestants such as phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine, which can increase blood pressure and heart rate by constricting the arteries in the body. 

Other possible causes of hypertension include poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, and chronic stress over a prolonged period that can increase the risk of heart and blood vessel disorders (e.g., heart attack, stroke).

What are some TCM natural remedies that help control hypertension?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers natural remedies in the form of teas that may help manage this condition:

Chrysanthemum tea

This herbal remedy may restore balance to the liver, promote eye health, clear heat, and detox the body. In TCM, chrysanthemum flower are also used to treat chest pain, high blood pressure, diabetes and prevent heart diseases such as stroke because of its ability to promote the movement of blood.

Let chrysanthemum tea steep for at least 10-15 minutes to enjoy its full benefits. 

Hawthorn tea

Known as a superfruit, tea made from hawthorn berry facilitates vasodilation (relaxation of blood vessels) and reduces blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels.

Lotus leaf tea

Tea made with lotus leaf extract is known to have vasodilatory effects and is packed with antioxidants, it may help to increase blood flow to the heart and lower blood pressure too.

Sophora Tree Flower

Sophora Tree Flower contains two potent flavonoids: Troxerutin and Oxymatrin. These flavonoids exhibit strong antioxidant activities and have been found to promote healthy blood vessels, reduce the risk of blood clot formation, and may improve heart functions.

Polygonum multiflorum tea

This is often used as a tonic for the liver and kidney and is known to reduce cholesterol and strengthen the tendons and bones.

What foods can help manage hypertension?

As mentioned previously, diet plays a role in whether or not a person gets hypertension. Below are some foods that can help with managing it:

  1. Black fungus as an edible mushroom may have positive effects in managing blood pressure, as well as several other metabolic markers (i.e., low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides). 
  2. Mushroom, when consumed, was seen to lower triglyceride levels and diastolic blood pressure, as well as total cholesterol levels.
  3. Spinach, among the family of leafy green vegetables, is packed with nitrates, which were found to help manage high blood pressure.
  4. Black beans have antihypertensive properties, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and low amounts of sodium, all of which reduce blood pressure. 
  5. Essence of chicken can help with replenishing blood and qi, provided that it does not contain salt, artificial flavouring, or caramel colouring.

What are the long term effects of hypertension?

As discussed previously, hypertension is defined as having persistently high blood pressure. This means any readings at or above 140 mmHg (systolic or upper reading) and/or 90 mmHg (diastolic or lower reading).

This condition is dangerous because it puts great stress on your arteries and organs, damaging them over time. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.

Other than supplements, how can we keep it under control?

Apart from the foods mentioned above, there are other supplements that can help lower blood pressure, such as mulberries (sang ren, 桑葚), lotus seeds, and wolfberries (gou qi, 枸杞).

Mulberries are also a great souce of iron and vitamin C. 

Mulberries are considered tonic herbs to treat yin deficiencies and can replenish any of a person’s “Four Treasures”: qi, blood, yin, and yang. As the mulberry is naturally cold, it is used to reduce heat in one’s body and regain balance. It is useful for those experiencing an excess of yang (a yin deficiency). 

Lotus seeds have been used as food and medicine for 7,000 years. Bioactive compounds in the seeds have a range of properties, including anti-hypertensive. These hinder fat cells from forming and accumulating and improve blood lipid profile, among other functions.

Meanwhile, wolfberries, also called the Goji berry, have been in use as far back as 200 BCE. Characterised as a “calm” or “neutral” fruit, they work to treat yin deficiencies, specifically as tonic for the liver and kidney. It also improves jing, the essence that keeps the body active, and promotes good eye function.

Try these options to get your hypertension under control. That being said, it’s always important to check with your physician if these supplements are suited for you.

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