Hypertension (Rakta Gata Vata)
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Introduction - What is Hypertension

 

What is Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is the leading cause of death in the world today. The bigger danger with hypertension is that the person suffering from this condition may not even realize that he or she is suffering from this condition until it may become too late.

Hypertension itself is a very dangerous condition; but it can cause drastic damage to the liver, brains, kidneys and the heart. The damage to these vital organs is the most important cause of death.

Definition of Hypertension (Rakta Gata Vata)

 

What is Hypertension

Hypertension means high blood pressure. It is the condition when the pressure of the blood caused by the pumping of the heart goes much beyond normal values.

The human heart beat has two distinct phases – the systole when the heart is beating, and the diastole when the heart is at rest. During both the times, the heart exerts pressure on the blood. When you take a blood pressure reading, the doctor will use a device known as a sphygmomanometer tied around your arm. Then he or she will give you two readings. Out of these the higher reading is the pressure of your systole, while the lower reading is the pressure of the diastole.

The normal values of systolic and diastolic blood pressures are as follows:-

  • For systole, the normal blood pressure is 140.
  • For diastole, the normal blood pressure is 90.

So, if the person’s reading shows consistently over 140 systolic pressure and consistently over 90 diastolic pressure, then the person is suffering from hypertension.

Even before the actual hypertension sets in, there may be certain indications. If the person’s systolic pressure is in the range of 120 to 139 and if the diastolic pressure is looming between 80 and 89, then it is indicative of hypertension in the future. This warning condition is called as pre-hypertension. If care is taken during this stage, then it does not predispose to hypertension.

In Ayurveda , all the three doshas are considered responsible for rakta gata vata, i.e. hypertension. For the three different types of vitiation, there are different symptoms observed.

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Types of Hypertension (Rakta Gata Vata)

Medical science recognizes two distinct types of hypertension – essential hypertension and malignant hypertension.

Essential hypertension occurs due to the increase in the systolic pressure of the heart as the age advances. This is a common condition found in most people who have crossed the middle age. This condition can be controlled with the proper precautions, and indeed, people with essential hypertension are known to live up to a ripe old age also. This is also called as primary hypertension.

Malignant hypertension occurs due to the disorders of any of the vital organs, such as the brain, the liver and the kidneys. Hormonal imbalances can also cause hypertension in some cases. These are very fatal and need to remedied urgently. This is also called as secondary hypertension.

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Causes of Hypertension (Rakta Gata Vata)

Since hypertension can be caused by the vitiation of any of the three doshas, the causes can be different too. The following is a list of exacerbating factors of hypertension in the perspective of the three doshas.

  • Hypertension caused due to vata dosha can be increased due to mental anxiety, tensions, stress and worries.
  • Hypertension caused due to pitta dosha can be increased due to strong emotions such as anger, shock, hatred and jealousy.
  • Hypertension caused due to kapha dosha can be increased due to malignant factors such as malfunctioning of the vital organs.

The causes of the medical types of hypertension, i.e. essential and malignant hypertension are as follows:-

Essential hypertension is mostly idiopathic, i.e. its cause is unknown. However the following factors are strong indicators of the disease:-

  • Aging, due to which the systolic pressure of the heart increases
  • Diet, such as one rich in fried and salty foods
  • Hereditary factors

Malignant hypertension can be caused due to host of problems with the vital organs of brain, liver and the kidneys. Renal fibrosis, Cushing’s Syndrome, adrenal gland tumors, Wilm’s tumor are just some of the conditions that can cause hypertension. However the most prevalent causes are kidney problems such as renal failure, renal vascular obstruction or glomerulonephritis.

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Hypertension Symptoms(Rakta Gata Vata)

People with high blood pressure have to suffer a lot of problematic symptoms. The following are some of the hypertension symptoms:

  • The person will feel regular giddiness, dizziness and a feeling of instability.
  • Palpitations are common.
  • Hypertension sufferers are generally insomniacs, i.e. they cannot sleep well at night.
  • Slight exertion can cause dyspnoea.
  • Even the digestive system may play truant and there may be regular constipation.

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Complications of Hypertension (Rakta Gata Vata)

Hypertension can affect several regions of the body when the blood pressure becomes too high. The following are some of the complications:-

  • Capillaries supplying blood to the retina of the eye are very narrow. Due to the high pressure, they can rupture, causing bleeding inside the eyes.
  • In extreme cases the arteries supplying blood to the brain may also be hemorrhaged. Cerebral hemorrhage can lead to paralysis.
  • High blood pressure is very commonly associated with myocardial infarctions, i.e. heart attacks.

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Transmission of Hypertension (Rakta Gata Vata)

High blood pressure is an individualistic disorder. It cannot be transmitted from one person to another through contact or through any other agency. However, it is suspected that cases of high blood pressure do run in families.

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Prevention and Basic Care during Hypertension (Rakta Gata Vata)

People with hypertension must take a lot of precautions, because any aggravation of the high blood pressure could be fatal to the patient. The following are the main precautions to be taken:-

  • Stick to a dietary regimen. Read the following topic to see what kind of diet is beneficial.
  • Take rest as much as possible. It is not advisable to keep up until late at night, or to rise up very early.
  • Physical exercise can be performed to some extent – and it is also necessary to maintain the proper circulation of blood – but heavy exercise must be avoided.
  • Mental stress must be avoided at all costs. It is good to devote time in meditation or yoga, which can keep the mind free from tensions. The patient might also consider relocating his or her residence to a place surrounded with natural calm and peace.

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Diet for People with Hypertension (Rakta Gata Vata)

All the three doshas are responsible for the aggravation of blood pressure causing hypertension in the human body. Hence the diet to be taken must be a tridosha pacifying diet. The following dietary guidelines must be followed:-

The patient must not be given any hot and spicy food which will be difficult to digest.

Salt should be curtailed in the diet. Expert studies have found out salt to be the biggest culprit in people with high blood pressure problems.

Red meat must be avoided.

Chocolates and sweets must be kept as far away from the patient of hypertension as possible.

Hydrogenated oils must be totally eliminated from the diet. But ghee and butter prepared from cow’s milk can be given. Buffalo milk is to be avoided.

Carbohydrate-rich vegetables must be taken in order to facilitate easy movement of bowels. This will reduce constipation, which aggravates the vata. Useful vegetables for people with hypertension are bitter gourd and drumsticks. Colocasia and yellow pumpkin must be avoided.

Among fruits bananas, guavas, apples and oranges are considered to be beneficial.

Cereals and pulses must be reduced.

Dry fruits can be eaten without any harm.

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Ayurvedic Treatment of Hypertension (Rakta Gata Vata)

Since ancient times, proponents of Ayurveda have been studying the potency of various herbs in the treatment of rakta gata vata. This is one of the most extensively studied conditions in Ayurveda . Hence, there are several herbs that are prescribed for its treatment. Some of these herbs have also found wide favor in the western countries due to their very efficacious remedial properties in hypertension.

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action on the Human Body

Ambarbaris

Berberis vulgaris

Jaundice Berry

This herb, the primary treatment for jaundice, is also effective in the treatment of high blood pressure. It brings down high blood pressure by dilating the arteries.

Alfalfa

Medicago satina

Alfalfa

The fresh leaves of the alfalfa when taken in conjunction with carrot juice are known to have immense curative benefits on all kinds of heart ailments, included those brought on by high blood pressure.

Gandana or Rojmari

Achillea millefolium

Bloodwort

Bloodwort acts in a unique manner to treat high blood pressure. It induces sweat, which brings blood towards the skin. Better circulation helps to reduce high blood pressure.

Lahsuna

Allium sativum

Garlic

Garlic is the most effective herb used in the treatment of hypertension. It helps in the following ways:-

  • It reduces the pressure and tension in the arteries.
  • It slows the pulse down.
  • It modifies the heartbeat rhythm.
  • It relieves dizziness and shortness of breath brought on by high blood pressure.
  • It also relieves gas that can form in the digestive tract due to high blood pressure.
  • Garlic can be included in the daily diet. About two to three cloves before every meal can go a long way in the home treatment of high blood pressure.

Prajmoda

Petroselinum crispum

Parsley

Parsley helps in maintaining the small arteries and the capillaries in healthy circulatory condition. It can be taken as a beverage skimmed with water, several times a day.

Sarpagandha

Rauwolfia serpentina

Rauwolfia

Rauwolfia is another acclaimed remedy for the treatment of high blood pressure. It is considered as the best remedy and is also used quite popularly in the western countries. Half a teaspoon of its powder taken thrice a day is very beneficial in reducing high blood pressure. But its use must be under supervision because the alkaloids present in rauwolfia are known to have some undesirable side-effects.

The herbs mentioned above have been expertly mixed into preparations. These preparations contain just the right proportions of herbs so as not to produce major side effects. The following are some herbs that are effective in the treatment of Hypertension:-

Type of Preparation

Name of Preparation

Asava/Arishta

Balarishta, Punarvarishta

Ghrita

Arjuna Ghrita, Shadanga Ghrita

Vati

Abana, Arjin, Arjunin, Bipasil, Caritone

In the case of hypertension, the dhara therapy has been found to be of much use. In order to perform the dhara, medicated oil boiled with bala and milk is used. The manner of flow is to place the fluids in an earthen pot hung from a ceiling of the house. A tiny hole must be made in the base of the earthen pot and from there the dhara or flow should be made to fall directly in the region between the eyes of the person, who must lie on his or her back on the floor. If this dhara therapy is performed every morning for about half an hour, the blood pressure will definitely reduce.

For internal use, the same oil is boiled with milk a hundred times. Therefore the oil is also known as Shatavartita Kshirabala Taila. If five drops of this oil are mixed with a cupful of milk and given to the person suffering from hypertension, then there will be assured benefits.

It must be borne in mind that while taking any Ayurvedic preparation, the doctor must be consulted first. Most of the herbs do not have any side-effects (and are indeed a regular part of the diet), but some people may be allergic to certain herbs and may show adverse reactions.

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Comments

I think I am suffering from Hypertension, your topic seems beneficial in guiding me to take care of my health. Thanks
#1 - Shine Kapoor - 06/30/2008 - 01:53
great but is aching nape be a symtom for hypertension?
#2 - monamartinez - 08/15/2008 - 06:50
nice one... dis is abig help 4 my dad...!!
#3 - areefah... - 01/08/2009 - 01:15
hey its really good i am experiancing its benefits
#4 - talha - 01/24/2009 - 23:21
my whole body shakes when i feel angry and my heart beats like a pounding drum, is this a malignant hypertension?
#5 - Connie Nicol Consulta - 01/28/2009 - 09:20
thank you very much for the great info. it helped alot in my research about hypertension..can you help me in knowing the actualy mechanism for garlic and parsley in treatment of hypertension =)?? thnx again
#6 - salma - 01/30/2009 - 11:24
A nicely covered chapter on hypertension which provides adequate knowledge to the reader about the ailment
#7 - kila - 04/16/2009 - 02:07
its nice to prevent from fatty food and salty food to prevent hypertention.
#8 - lhang - 07/09/2009 - 06:53
nice article. very comprehensive
#9 - pama - 09/13/2009 - 23:53
I feel my hands and feet very hot whenever I'm tensed, but rest of the body feels to be normal. Is it a symtom hor hypertension?
#10 - angelina - 09/23/2009 - 23:57
nice article... covering relavent points
#11 - nivil - 10/09/2009 - 08:07
thanks it helped a lot my mother problem
#12 - shalini - 03/31/2010 - 05:56
Can you suggest the malayalam terms for those herbs? Please include as much herbs possible.
#13 - Jalaja Nair - 11/27/2011 - 07:38
thank u it helped me alot would be much better if handling the stress and anxiety is adressed thanku and may ur tribe multiply
#14 - balu - 03/05/2012 - 13:10
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