Herbal Health Information on High Blood Pressure

When the blood pressure is measured there are two figures which are read, the “top” figure or Systolic pressure gives us an indication of the force with which the heart is beating and the “lower” reading or Diastolic pressure is an indication of the resistance the blood encounters when being distributed around the body.

The accepted norm is 120/80 going up to 140/90 with age. Over this and the blood pressure is thought to be too high, which may result in heart disease or stroke.

Blood circulation is a clever system in the body, resulting in everything the cells need to function, being carried to them via the blood.


The heart is a pump which pushes the blood through this system. All the blood vessels have elasticity built in to their walls so that they can take the pressure of the blood being pushed through them without bursting. As we get older some of this elasticity is lost from the vessels and they may also have been furred up with fatty deposits. This results in an increased resistance to the blood being pumped out of the heart and a raise in blood pressure.

The other causes of high blood pressure may be poor kidney function resulting in fluid retention, increased stickiness of the blood (high cholesterol) and stress.

Diet is very important to adjust for people with high blood pressure.

Top of the list to throw into the dungeon is caffeine. Cut out all caffeine containing foods:-




Cola drinks

Boost drinks

Many alco pops contain caffeine.

Caffeine has a constricting effect on capillaries and increases the heart rate, having a twofold, effect to raise blood pressure.

The other dungeon foods are;-



Red wine.

These can produce Tyramine in the body which can cause constriction of the capillaries and an increased resistance to the blood being pumped out of the heart.

Actually if you look up Tyramine on Wikipedia, many food substances contain it, but these are the most frequently ingested ones.

Then there is the never ending salt debate.

Some research says it does raise blood pressure and some says it doesn’t. BUT in countries where salt intake is restricted, an increase in blood pressure with age is not seen.

The other major adjustment to the diet is to reduce the amount of animal fat in your diet and make sure you are getting a good supply of the essential fats (Omega oils), present in fatty fish such as salmon, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, margarines and pulses.

Exercise is an absolute must. I will not go into how as you can find your own exercise preference but the why is that it will help break down excess fat, as well as improve circulation generally.

There are many combinations of Herbs which are suitable for reducing raised blood pressure so I am going to give you an example of a typical formula I would make up in my clinic for someone presenting with high blood pressure.

YARROW:- is a wonder herb that has many actions in the body, but the one I  use it  here for, is its ability to open up capillaries, allowing the blood to flow out of the heart easily.

LIME FLOWER: – this also opens capillaries and cleans out fatty deposits from arteries. See Pevensey video.

DANDELION ROOT is a diuretic, improving kidney function. It is high in potassium which can be leached out of the body by diuretics. CLEVER HUH?

MILK THISTLE: – this is liver cleansing and supporting. There is evidence that some high blood pressure conditions are caused by poor Liver function.

VALERIAN: – to make sure everything is calm and relaxed, as tension and stress will zap the blood pressure up.

HAWTHORN:-the best herb for supporting and normalising all areas of circulation, including the Heart.

I would not recommend you self medicate if you have high blood pressure but go to see a qualified Medical Herbalist if you are interested in trying complementary medicine.

You can find my clinic details by clicking here or on the “CLINIC” tab at the top of the page

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal HealthInformation

Herbal Health Information on Menopause

What I am about to say about menopause may surprise you:-

It is not an illness!

Rather look on it as a change, just like first starting your periods was a change in the way your body functioned.

I have helped so many women in my clinic get through menopause I feel it is a bit of a specialist area for me.

Having said it is not an illness, I of course know it causes many women serious distress, with many symptoms both physical and emotional.

Most common of the symptoms are hot flushes ranging from a few mild ones a day to 2-3 an hour with face redness and sweating.

Apart from the flushes, symptoms include, poor sleep, digestive problems, weight gain, depression, headaches and more.

My approach is to help people get through the menopause as easily as possible which means getting the body to accept this new way of functioning as normal and to prevent it trying to return to its youthful state which is the major cause of the symptoms.

There is a system in the body called the Endocrine system, consisting of the Thyroid, Adrenal glands and Ovaries or Testes, which are responsible for the production of most of our hormones.

It starts with the Pituitary gland situated just below the brain which controls the secretions from the Thyroid, Adrenal glands and Ovaries/Testes. These organs send messages to the pituitary gland and to each other to give a status update and messages from the pituitary control the output of the hormones produced in these organs.

When the ovaries stop ovulating (producing an egg) each month, the message to the pituitary is one of panic SEND REINFORCEMENTS I can’t manage on my own!

Unfortunately for us the area of the brain which controls the pituitary is right next to the temperature control area and any message which goes up there to stimulate the pituitary into action also stimulates the temperature control area. Hence the hot flushes. Who designed that?

It is completely wrong to try and increase the amount of oestrogen in the body in hopes of stopping the flushes. We need to get the body to accept the new lower hormone levels so that it is not sending panic messages around and about.

There is one herb I have found to help the body adjust to these new levels and that is Dong Quai. Which of course we have not seen on our herb walks as it is a Chinese herb. To help with the flushes I use the traditional herb, Sage, which we have not looked at yet, but we will visit an herb garden and have a look at soon in a video, so keep your eye on the walks section. Sage is not the be all and end all for hot flushes but does help to reduce them. There are other herbs for flushes such as Willow and Zizyphus but these need to be used under the supervision of a practitioner as they are not commonly available over the counter.

I often mix these with a liver herb such as milk thistle, to ensure the liver is metabolising hormones properly and calming herbs such as Passiflora or Motherwort.

St. John’s wort which we looked at in the shingle beach video is also excellent during menopause as a nervous system supporting herb, but remember cannot be taken if you are on any orthodox medicines.

Eat sensibly and cut out Caffeine containing drink and food (sorry, chocolate), drink plenty of water and you are going to hate me for saying this, but many many women report that alcohol sets off flushing horrendously.

Of course if you get stuck qualified Medical Herbalists are around to provide excellent support.

Linda Bostock

Medical  Herbalist

Herbal Health Information

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