High Blood Pressure
Blood is pumped by the heart to all parts of the body through arteries, its branches and numerous capillaries. When the heart contracts, blood is forced into the arteries and thus exerts a positive pressure on the walls of these channels. When the heart dilates, the pressure in the arteries is reduced and a negative pressure is created. The walls of the arteries are elastic to accommodate both positive and negative pressures. During contraction of the heart, the pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries is called systolic pressure, and during dilatation of the heart, the pressure exerted is called diastolic pressure. Blood pressure varies from person to person depending upon age, sex, physical and mental work. Males, those who are aged and those who are exposed to more mental and physical work normally maintain higher blood pressure than others. In physiological conditions, blood pressure increases during fear, anger and excitement. A person during sleep and period of rest maintains a lower blood pressure.
Apart from the psychic and emotional factors mentioned above, blood pressure goes up because of the vitiation of vayu. Both the psychic and physical factors including climate are responsible for this morbidity. Excessive intake of salt, lack of exercise, mental worry, sleeplessness and diseases of the kidneys, among others, are responsible for high blood pressure. In old age, specially when the kidney is affected, blood pressure goes up. Because of accumulation of salts in the musculature of the walls of the arteries, their elasticity is reduced and thus even a little force from the heart exerts pressure on them.A person with high blood pressure does not sleep well at night. Palpitation, giddiness, a feeling of unstability, lack of equilibrium, dyspnoea on slight exertion, weakness and impairment of digestion arc experienced. When high blood pressure becomes chronic, due to lack of elasticity of the vessels, the capillaries supplying blood to the eyes, specially to the retina, arc affected which results in local bleeding and impairment of vision. When the condition further advances, it affects the end-arteries supplying blood to the brain. Due to the lack of elasticity, they may rupture and bleeding take place. This bleeding is commonly known as cerebral haemorrhage. This results in paralysis. Movement of the various organs of the body arc regulated by their centres located in the brain. The centre affected by the haemorrhage is responsible for the paralysis of the corresponding organ
in the body.
All medicines which alleviate vayu and promote the strength of nervous system are useful in this condition. Lasuna or garlic is an excellent drug. Garlic produces a heating effect on the body when taken raw. Garlic made into a paste and mixed with buttermilk is very effective in the treatment of this condition. To begin with about 15 grains of garlic should be administered three times a day. This should gradually be increased to fifty grains three times a day. Another method which is popularly followed is to fry the garlic with ghee. This reduces the smell and makes it palatable.
Sarpagandha is commonly used in the treatment of high blood pressure by Ayurvedic physicians. Many alkaloids have been isolated from this drug and they are found to be effective in reducing blood pressure. In Ayurveda, the root of this drug is used in its raw state. The power of the drug is given to an adult patient in a dose of half teaspoonful three times a day. Tablets are prepared from the concentrated aqueous extract of this drug and may be given to the patient in a dose of two tablets two or three times a day. Isolated fractions (alkaloids), when taken alone for a long time, produce some adverse effects. Such adverse effects are not found when the whole drug is taken either in powder or tablet form.
For patients suffering from chronic hypertension, dhara therapy along with Kalari Uzhichil and Marma Therapy is considered to be the most effective. Medicated oil boiled with bala and milk is used in the therapy. This oil is kept in an earthen vessel hanging from a high pedestal or the roof of the house. The patient should lie on the ground on his back. The medicated oil is dripped on to the forehead of the patient (between the eye-brows), from a small hole made at the bottom of the earthen vessel. This is done once everyday preferably in the morning for about half an hour. By the use of this therapy, the patient sleeps soundly at night and the blood pressure gradually comes down. The same oil is also used for massaging the head as well as the body. This oil, prepared by boiling bala with milk one hundred times, is known as sataavartita ksirabala taila. Five drops of this oil should be given to the patient internally with a cup of milk everyday. This is well-known for its effectiveness in reducing high blood pressure.
The patient should not be given hot and spicy food and should avoid salt as far as possible. Hydrogenated oils should be strictly avoided. The patient can be given ghee and butter prepared from cow’s milk. The ghee and butter prepared of buffalo milk is not advisable. The patient should take such vegetables as could help him in keeping his bowels clear. Bitter gourd, drumsticks, patola and bimbi are the most useful vegetables. The patient should avoid colocasia and yellow variety of pumpkin. He can take all types of dry fruits. Orange, banana, guava and apples arc considered very useful. Almond oil can be given in a dose of one teaspoonful at bed time in a cup of warm milk. Almond oil can also be given for inhalation. This helps soothing the nerves and thus reduces blood pressure. Fruits and boiled vegetables are better than cereals and pulses for these patients.
The patient should not be permitted to remain awake for a long time at night, and he should be given as much rest as possible. Mental strain in any form should be avoided. He can undertake physical exercise to some extent, but violent physical exercise specially lifting of heavy weights, etc., should be avoided. He should be regular in his habits of taking food and evacuating bowels. He should devote some time for prayer which gives mental peace and tranquility.