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 Heartburn

A burning feeling in the throat, pain, wind, abdominal discomfort and nausea can all be symptoms of heartburn. Heartburn may also be indicative of a gastric or duodenal ulcer so it’s best to get it checked out with the doctor.

I know I do harp on about diet but really, if you suffer heartburn then you must look carefully at your diet.

Heartburn is caused by the overproduction of stomach acid, produced to digest high protein foods such as meat, eggs and fish.

High fat foods, high protein foods and stress will increase the amount of stomach acid produced.

So diet wise it is better to have a fairly bland diet until the acid levels return to and are maintained at normal levels. A large heavy meal will also increase acid levels and result in you being awake in discomfort for most of the night.


Bowl of porridge/muesli/ cornflakes or rice krispies with semi skimmed milk.

Do not eat high fibre cereals as the fibre may aggravate an already irritated stomach, especially if you have an ulcer.

Fruit and juices are high in acid so are best to avoid, apart from lemon juice which has an alkaline effect in the stomach.


Bowl of soup (but not tomato), or a baked potato, or a sandwich, made with white bread low fat spread and chicken breast or lean ham. Sorry no cheese, which is too fatty.

If you want fruit, pears and bananas are fairly low acid fruits, low fat yogurt is ok but everything in moderation.


If you can have your main meal at lunch time that is much better for you than in the evening when the digestion is working hard but the body is also trying to shut down for the night

I won’t be too specific here but the usual meat and two veg is good. Make sure the meat is lean and your portion amount is not too big. No fry –ups and don’t add too much fat or oil into the cooking.

Spicy foods, especially Chilli containing foods need to be avoided as they may aggravate the condition.

Foods to avoid are:-



Fatty foods

Full fat cheese

High fibre foods

Acidic fruits and juices




Herbal Medicine aims to reduce stomach acid levels and coat and protect the stomach and gut lining as well as ensuring good production of other digestive enzymes so that the food is properly digested and the waste eliminated.

There is a plant called Meadowsweet, which I call a wonder herb, alongside chamomile, Yarrow and  Marshmallow.

Meadowsweet grows on the downs near us but really likes to grow near streams or rivers or on marshy land. It is a beautiful plant standing tall with cream coloured feathery flowers which smell of bitter almonds. Although I have seen it on our walks this summer, growing beside a stream at Shinewater Lake, Eastbourne, I have not had time to video it, so that pleasure awaits us next year.

Meadowsweet is anti-inflammatory as it contains salicylic acid, an aspirin related chemical. It is acid reducing due to the Salicin content, the herbalist’s bicarbonate of soda and has protective properties due to its high mucilage content. Marshmallow root and seen in the Cuckmere Valley video has high mucilage content so is also protective for the stomach lining in high acid conditions.

Along with these two herbs it is important to make sure that the rest of the digestive processes are functioning well especially the breakdown of fats. For this purpose I would use, either Milk thistle, which improves liver and gall bladder function, or Chamomile , and seen in the beach video, which improves digestive function and is a tonic to the gut. Chamomile is also calming and soothing for the nervous system and is an excellent herb for increased stomach acid if it is stress related.

You may find over the counter preparations of these herbs but make sure they are licensed products so that you know they have been through rigorous trials.

You are also welcome to visit me in my clinic for help. The clinic details can be seen by clicking here or at the “clinic” tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/herbal Health Information.