Counseling Sheet

High Blood Pressure

By Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

Hypertension is a common cause of strokes. Therefore, there is great importance in keeping the blood pressure down to normal range.

Stroke is most likely to occur in the morning hours between 6:00 a.m. and noon. Ischemic stroke due to thrombosis is 89 percent more likely to occur between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and noon; and hemorrhagic stroke, 52 percent more likely between 6:00 a.m. and noon. TIAs are 80 percent more likely to occur in the morning. Strokes of all kinds were least common between midnight and 6:00 a.m. The new thrombolytic treatments such as tissue plasminogen activator can significantly reduce the long-term effects if taken within three hours of symptom onset. Blood pressure rises by about 20 percent just after waking. A stroke is much more likely to occur in persons who are regularly exposed to passive smoke. American Journal of Public Health, 89:572;1999

Blacks are twice as likely as whites to have dangerous strokes that are fatal. USA Today, March 13, 1992

Similarly, blacks have almost a 33 percent greater rate of high blood pressure than whites. We believe blacks should begin checking themselves every three to six months for high blood pressure, obtaining their own blood pressure cuff and stethoscope by age 25. Begin natural treatments for hypertension if there are two consecutive readings above 135/85.

Blood Pressure Formula - I

Very good herbs for hypertension include hawthorn berry leaf and flower, garlic bulb, cayenne pepper, ginger root, olive leaf, linden flower, green bean pods, mistletoe herb, dandelion leaf, and watermelon seed. A good combination is hawthorn, ginger root, olive leaf, linden flower, and dandelion leaf. Use one tablespoon of each mixed together. Start by simmering two quarts of water with the hawthorn and ginger root for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the other herbs. Steep for 30 minutes. Take one cup every two to three hours throughout the day. Garlic should be taken with meals; the tea between meals.

Blood Pressure Formula - II

Mix one part with each of the following: Hawthorne berry leaf or flower, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, ginger root, olive leaf, linden flower, bean pods, mistletoe, dandelion leaf, and ground watermelon seed. The cayenne pepper should not be used in the formula longer than a month or two; then simply leave it out of the formula.

Adults given a five-minute foot rub have been shown to sleep better and to have lower blood pressure. Massage the feet, squeeze the heels, and don't forget the ankles, especially the tissue around the anklebones on each side of the ankles. Massage also the scalp and eyebrows, forehead, and bridge of the nose. Massage the base of the skull, and upper portion of the neck to induce sleep. These areas all tend to become tense during stress, fatigue, or burnout.

Some foods that contain high levels of certain amines known as pressor amines can elevate blood pressure or cause sleeplessness. These amines include serotonin, norepinephrine, thyronine, tryptamine, and dopamine. Fruits such as pineapple, banana, plantain, and avocado have fairly high levels of various amines. While these amines have the potential to keep one awake, it would probably be difficult for the normal person to eat a sufficient quantity to cause sleeplessness. Nevertheless, individuals who have a problem sleeping should notice their reaction to them, as some people are very sensitive to certain nutrients.

Because of oxygen depletion during breathing stoppage, the heart has to beat faster to keep oxygen circulating and it eventually becomes damaged or beats irregularly. They are also much more likely to suffer from hypertension. Those with sleep apnea are five times more likely to have high blood pressure than people who sleep normally. In another study of 50 men with high blood pressure 26 percent had sleep apnea, a higher percentage than in the general population. It is well to tape record the apnea cycles to convince the snorer that the problem is real.It has also been shown that exercise and relaxation were found to lower anger, hostility expressions, and particularly concerning individuals who were likely to talk about their problems. Blood pressure was reduced, heart rate was reduced, and overall benefits were experienced. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 14(5):453, 1991; Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 63(1):A78, March 1992

Muscle stretches

Muscles make up about 40 percent of body weight. The psoas muscle and quadratus lumborum (under the spine) are large muscles that can get very tense, tight, shortened, overworked, strained or weakened. They can develop trigger points that telegraph pain to other parts of the body. Headaches, increased blood pressure, numbness in the hands, sciatica, TMJ, and backaches may result from chronic and sustained contracture of muscles. A group of stretches and postures can have both a preventive as well as a healing virtue. Do the stretches slowly, gently, and with concentration on proper form. Do not hold the breath, but breathe regularly. Only one to three repetitions of each posture needs to be done, taking only a few minutes to go through the routine.

Remedies for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

A remedy we don't always remember is elevating the head of the bed with two or three bricks under the bedposts at the head.

A tongue-retaining device can be obtained only through a sleep center but can be effective in eliminating apnea in 82% of cases.

Continuous positive airway pressure may be another desirable method. It has a 90% success rate among snorers. Newer surgical procedures have an 80% success rate for snoring.

Leaving off supper and taking a cup of mint tea can be helpful in both night sweats and sleep apnea. Being certain to get more than seven hours sleep, preferably a bit more than eight hours of sleep every night, can be helpful to combat sleep apnea and excessively slow breathing. One should be very careful to have fresh air in the bedroom at night, no restrictive clothing, and to avoid poor sleeping posture.

Early warning signs of stress include the signs of adrenal insufficiency. These may include chronically low blood pressure, fatigue, low stamina, sensitivity to cold, and addictions to either sweet or salty foods. Other symptoms are irritability, forgetfulness, temper flare-ups, reclusiveness, loss or gain of weight, and appetite.


Beginning in childhood the stresses of life can be minimized by simply reducing the noise level in the home. Chaotic homes produce children having less development of their intellectual skills, they have delayed language skills, have trouble mastering their environments, and have increased anxiety. Establish a quiet place where children can go to get away by themselves. Read to your children in quiet places. Have a regular schedule. Have a place for everything, keep it in that place; or if your home is small, try to study how your home can function smoothly without adequate storage room to put away things. Consider large plastic storage chests that can also be used as benches.

Stress-inducing foods such as caffeine, sugar, sodas, and all refined foods can increase ones stress. Certain minerals can be lost as a direct result of stress such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, sodium, and copper. Most richly colored fruits and vegetables have anti-stress properties. These include the richly colored greens, yellows, orange, reds, blue, etc. Foods that are high in B vitamins such as beans, nuts, brewer's yeast, and whole grains, especially popcorn, also reduce stress. Good sources of manganese, another stress reducer, include bananas, whole grain cereals, and nuts.

Garlic reduces blood pressure. Use it liberally on food, and a garlic clove may be taken with every meal to good advantage. For very high blood pressure, an entire bulb of garlic may be taken at each meal. The bulb may be steamed lightly in order to prevent a reaction on the stomach.

Adding barley to the diet may assist in reducing both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The Post, September 26, 1982, P. A-11

Celery has recently made headlines as a blood pressure reducer. Use some in the diet from time to time, and daily the use of three large stalks, blended to make about three-quarters to one cup of puree, can be helpful for moderately high blood pressure.

High-fiber diets have been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure. A group of patients with high blood pressure were given seven grams of additional fiber per day over a three-month period. They showed reductions in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels, and lower cholesterol levels. The Lancet 2:622-623, September 12, l987

Salt restriction has been prescribed in the treatment of high blood pressure for decades. A study from the Institute of Nutrition and Department of Pharmacology at the University of Montreal reveals that the ratio of water and salt intake may be more important than salt intake alone. Lack of sufficient water intake may hinder the body's ability to excrete salt from the body. Experientia 28:282, March 15, 1972

Eyelid twitching, which is a sign of stress in many instances, can be relieved by hot compresses for 20 minutes on the eyes, and by exercising.

If you have a troublesome matter causing you stress, try to give it a name as well as your emotional reaction to it: being cheated, disrespected, loss of property, anger, fear, anxiety, guilt, etc. This process is a form of confession. Now ask your Heavenly Father to help you control the emotion involved in this problem. Expect that you will gain help from this method. It is Heaven's appointed way.

Avoid overeating as a custom of life. Unusually large meals are reported in many elderly people just prior to having a stroke. A blood pressure elevation may occur just after eating a heavy meal. Over-secretion of insulin, which occurs as the blood sugar from a heavy meal goes up, has an unfavorable effect on blood vessels. Medical World News, October 3, 1969, p. 13, 14

Hot footbaths can reduce congestion in the head following a stroke. The hot footbath can be used promptly if the stroke is due to a hemorrhage, or if high blood pressure is a part of the cause. It is important that the water temperature be comfortable at first, as very hot water can cause the blood pressure to go up for about three to five minutes. After the footbath has been in progress a couple of minutes, hotter water can be added. Of course diabetics should not have foot baths hotter than about 102 degrees.

A hot bath for 20 minutes three to five times a week for three weeks can reduce blood pressure as much as drug medication. Alternative Therapies 6(6):46;2000

The widespread use of aspirin to prevent a second heart attack has many side effects such as stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal hemorrhage - not only hemorrhage in the intestinal tract but also hemorrhage inside the brain is at greater risk of occurring, even in low doses of aspirin. Aspirin also depletes the body of certain essential vitamins and minerals, especially iron. Liver damage can occur as well as allergic reactions such as hives, wheezing, ringing in the ears, chronic nasal mucus, headache, confusion, and sometimes low blood pressure followed by collapse. Aspirin is also blamed as a factor in macular degeneration, now the commonest cause of blindness in the Western World.

October 2007

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