This post aims to outline how can phytotherapy in maintaining good circulation conditions.
By the term “blood circulation” we simply mean the movement of blood within the heart and blood vessels. Our vascular system is formed by a system of vessels (arteries, capillaries, veins) that carry blood from the heart to the periphery and vice versa, continuously and at a certain pressure and speed. The passage of blood in the vessels is determined: by the energy developed by the heart, which allows the blood to flow in the vessel bed, by the resistance to the opposite flow from the vessel walls, by the viscosity of the blood, which hinders the passage and causes an increase in pressure upstream. The caliber of the vessels is variable and this causes the flow rate, velocity and pressure of the blood to vary.
What is blood pression and what is it determined by
Blood pressure is defined as the force exerted by blood on the inner walls of the arteries. It is the heart, with its rhythmic pulsations, that gives the blood the thrust that allows it to flow inside the circulatory system. The contraction of the left ventricle, called systole, pumps the mass of blood into the arterial system, whose entry into the circulatory system causes a rise in pressure, which in this case takes the name of systolic (or maximum). During the next phase, called diastole, the left ventricle relaxes, filling with blood and the blood pressure gradually decreases until it reaches a minimum value (never zero) immediately before the next ventricular contraction: this is the diastolic pressure or minimum. Continuity of blood flow is ensured by the elasticity of the arteries. During systole, when the pressure exerted by the blood increases, the walls of the arteries stretch, while during diastole they contract.
To evaluate the maximum and minimum pressure values, the millimeter of mercury (mmHg) is used as the unit of measurement. The WHO has established that for adults aged 20 to 60 years, a maximum pressure of less than 240 mmHg and a minimum of less than 90 mmHg is to be considered normal, indicating as optimal the values between 100 and 120 for the maximum and less than 80 for the least.
Blood pressure is essentially determined by the following factors:
- the force with which the heart contracts;
- the amount of blood released with each contraction of the heart (systole) and its viscosity;
- the resistance opposed by peripheral vessels to the blood flow;
- the elasticity of the great arteries, especially the aorta (the more rigid the vessel walls are, the more pressure increases).
Other variables that affect its values, causing continuous fluctuations, in the absence of hypertensive disease, are:
- age: in the elderly the hardening of the arteries linked to the general aging of the organism increases peripheral resistance and therefore also the thrust that the heart must give to the blood in circulation to overcome them;
- the time of day and the sleep-wake rhythm: blood pressure is generally highest in the morning upon awakening and reaches its lowest values during the night’s rest, when all body functions slow down;
- the season of the year: the cold increases the pressure, the heat lowers it;
physical efforts sustained
- the emotional state: an anxious lifestyle and overly intense rhythms can contribute to maintaining chronically high blood pressure levels.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is a disease that is too often underestimated and increases the risk of very serious damage to the cardiovascular system and vital organs such as the heart, brain and kidneys. It is a very insidious enemy both because it is often accompanied by other risk factors, such as hypercholesterolemia or obesity, and because in most cases it acts quietly, without giving any disturbance that could be an alarm bell. It is no coincidence that the Anglo-Saxons call it “the silent killer”.
The term hypertensive defines a person aged between 30 and 60 who has blood pressure values, found on 3 different days, above 140 mmHg for systolic and 80 mmHg for diastolic. There is also talk of hypertension:
- systolic: is the consequence of a reduced aortic distensibility or an increased systolic contraction;
- diastolic: is the consequence of an increase in peripheral resistance. It is the latter that is being paid more attention today because it frequently increases even in apparently healthy patients and does not normalize easily with treatment;
- mild: when the diastolic values are less than 100 mmHg;
- moderate when the diastolic values are between 100 and 110 mmHg;
- severe if it exceeds 110 mmHg. Hypertension is essentially primary (essential) as it is not attributable to a cause (95% of cases).
It is often discovered in a completely random way: most hypertensive subjects in fact have no symptoms. The disease becomes symptomatic when disturbances (headache, dizziness, visual disturbances) and secondary complications such as ocular and cerebral haemorrhages, congestive heart failure, angina, heart attack, renal failure occur. In fact, the damage caused by high blood pressure is not immediate: those affecting the cardio-circulatory system generally appear after about ten years and those relating to the brain twenty years after the onset of hypertension.
For high blood pressure, satisfactory remedies are considered those which ensure that blood pressure does not exceed values of 140/90 mmHg, which do not cause orthostatic hypotension disorders and which merely modify the minimum and maximum blood pressure values: this attenuates the disturbances functional (buzzing, dizziness, headaches, visual disturbances ..) and delays or cancels (prevention) the onset of complications that underlie the severity of arterial hypertension. However, arterial hypertension is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and is sometimes part of a larger picture: the metabolic syndrome.
High blood pression remedies: which plants help regulate pressure
First of all, it should be noted that to regulate arterial pressure and the volume of circulating blood, our body is equipped with a complex hormonal mechanism called “renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system”. The enzyme renin, secreted by the kidneys, transforms angiotensinogen (a blood protein synthesized by the liver) into angiotensin I; the latter, by the intervention of the ACE enzyme (Angiotensin converting enzyme), is in turn converted in the lungs into angiotensin II, which in a healthy person regulates blood pressure keeping it within normal values, but in hypertensive it still increases more pressure: in fact, angiotensin II stimulates the cortex of the adrenal glands to produce aldosterone (a hormone that sends the signal to the kidneys to excrete less water and sodium via the kidneys) and reduces the caliber of blood vessels.
Here are the plants recommended by Escop (The European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy) based on need and reported in the Compendium of the Escop monographs (A. Lugli, 2007):
Hawthorn leaves and flowers (Crataegi folium cum flore): recommended as an adjuvant of cardiac and circulatory functions, in cardiac disorders of nervous origin, in reduced cardiac performance;
Garlic bulb (Allii sativi bulbus): prophylaxis of atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia / hypercholesterolemia;
Trigonella and Fenugreek seeds (foenugraeci semen): hyperlipidemia / hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus;
Ispagula cuticle, White psyllium cuticle (Plantaginis ovatae testa): hyperlipidemia / hypercholesterolemia;
Artichoke leaves (Cynarae folium): hyperlipidemia / hypercholesterolemia;
Ginkgo leaves (Ginkgo folium): peripheral occlusive arteriopathies (intermittent claudication), primary degenerative dementia, vascular dementia, sensorineural disorders such as dizziness / vertigo, sensorineural disorders such as ringing, cerebral insufficiency.
A new plant is added to this list of plants against hypertension, as per recent studies published in Pubmed: the white mulberry (Morus alba).
High blood pression remedies: what are the plants chosen by us for the well-being of the cardiovascular function?
Morus alba, or white mulberry, is a promising medicinal plant grown in eastern countries that is widely used to prevent and treat various cardiovascular problems. Since, despite its beneficial effects, the molecular mechanisms involved remained unclear, the researchers authors of the study published in 2016 “Morus alba extract modulates blood pressure homeostasis through eNOS signaling” decided to investigate the vascular and hemodynamic effects of the Morus extract. alba in an experimental model focusing attention on the molecular mechanisms involved, suggesting its action for eNOS dysfunctions and therefore its usefulness in case of arterial hypertension, for example. Molecular analyzes revealed that its beneficial action on the vascular system is mediated by the activation of two important proteins that act as stress and chaperone sensors: PERK and heat shock protein 90. Currently, other studies conducted so far also indicate it to reduce the blood sugar and to improve the lipid profile.
Erboristeria Como recommend the white mulberry, in GlicemArmony supplement, which is in synergy with Berberis Aristata, also of great scientific interest to improve cardiovascular function.
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