Hypertension (known as Rakta Gata Vata in Ayurveda) is elevated pressure of the blood in the arteries. The increase in blood pressure depends upon a person’s age, sex, physical and mental activities, family history and diet. Normal blood pressure of a healthy adult individual is 120 mmHg systolic and 80 mmHg diastolic. Unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyles are the chief causes of hypertension today. Most of the food items that we consume, fast foods or items packed with preservatives and chemicals create digestive problems in the body. Impaired digestion leads to accumulation of ama (toxins), which further leads to high blood pressure. The food we eat is digested by our digestive fire (jatharagni) to produce nutrient plasma (Rasa). This plasma nourishes all other dhatus (body tissues) and aids in the production of healthy blood, which circulates all over the body through various channels (srotas).
According to Ayurveda, high blood pressure involves all the doshas, the heart, and the blood vessels. We can see signs and symptoms of derangement of vata dosha mainly that of ‘Vyana vayu’ in high blood pressure. The treatment is to correct the balance of vata dosha. Pitta vitiation is also seen often and should be treated. People with Pitta and Vata predominance constitution and Pitta and Vata imbalance, are more prone to hypertension than any other. Unprocessed anger, frustration, irritability, anxiety and fear leads to mal-adaptation of the endocrine system, which then leads to conditions like hypertension. Treatment is based on bringing these imbalances back to normal. In the treatment of hypertension; panchkarma (detoxification), nutrition, exercise, breathing exercises (Pranayama), yoga, meditation, behavioral modification along with various herbs and minerals are prescribed.