High blood pressure or hypertension, also known as ‘Rakta gata vata’ in Ayurveda is a chronic medical condition wherein long-term force of the blood against the artery walls is so high that it may eventually cause health problems, including heart disease. This condition is often caused due to excessive sodium intake, smoking, stress, obesity, physical inactivity, age, family history, lifestyle habits etc. and is characterized by symptoms like consistent headache, nose bleed, shortness of breath, flushing, dizziness, chest pain, and vision abnormalities.
An adequate blood pressure reading is 120/80 mm Hg (i.e. mercury); where the upper number indicates the systolic pressure or the pressure in the arteries during the contraction of heart muscles i.e. when the heart beats and gets filled with blood and the lower number enumerates the diastolic pressure which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is in a resting phase in between two beats. When the blood pressure is high, the blood moves through the arteries more strenuously. This in turn puts increased pressure on the delicate tissues in the arteries and damages the blood vessels.
Being tagged as a ‘silent killer’, High blood Pressure doesn’t usually show up symptoms until later in the stage and there’s a significant amount of damage already done to the heart. Without visible symptoms, most people are unaware that they have high blood pressure and hence continue with their daily activities which might unknowingly put their lives at more risk.
Although most people prefer modern medications, there are also a handful of populations that resort to natural remedies to avoid long-term side effects and keep high blood pressure in check. One such potent ayurvedic herb is Punarnava.
What Is Punarnava?
Punarnava, which literally translates into ‘something that rejuvenates or replenishes the body’ comes from the Nyctaginaceae family and goes by the botanical name Boerhavia diffusa. Just like the name signifies, Punarnava is a traditional ayurvedic plant that is used to rejuvenate the whole body and is a one-stop remedy for almost all health anomalies. Commonly known by the vernacular names Hogweed, Sterling, Tarvine in English, Mukarati Kirei in Tamil, Raktakunda, and Shothaghni in Sanskrit, Punarnava has been used since the ancient times to prevent various infections and uplift overall health and wellness.
Nutritional Content Of Punarnava
Punarnava is a quarry of nutrients including proteins, vitamin C, calcium, iron, sodium, and bioactive components like punarnavoside, serratagenic acid, boeravinone A to F, liriodendron, hypoxanthine 9-L-arabinofuranoside, ursolic acid, and oleanolic acid. Imbued with the potent therapeutic components, punarnava is pivotal in managing heart problems, regulating blood pressure, promoting the digestive system, improving eyesight and preventing diseases like diabetes, arthritis, impotence, urinary tract infection, gout and anaemia.
Benefits Of Punarnava Towards High Blood Pressure
According to classical Ayurvedic texts and scriptures, Punarnava is sanctified with 3 distinct tastes mainly Madhura (i.e. sweet), Tikta (i.e. bitter) and Kashaya (i.e. astringent) Rasa. It has Laghu (i.e. light) and Rukhsha Guna (i.e. dry quality) and Ushna Virya (i.e. hot potency). It characterizes Madhura Vipaka (i.e. sweet taste after digestion) and mainly portrays rejuvenating property. The host of bioactive components in Punarnava helps to pacify the Vata (i.e. air) and Kapha (i.e. earth and water) doshas and effectively removes the AMA doshas (toxins) from the body.
Punarnava also has a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e. body tissues) of the body including Rasa (i.e. Plasma), Rakta (i.e. Blood), Mamsa (i.e. Muscles), Asthi (i.e. Bones) and Shukra (i.e. Reproductive Fluids).
Imbued with potent anti-hypertensive properties, Punarnava actively regulates blood pressure levels and keeps it under check. It is extremely pivotal in both high and low blood pressure conditions. By improving the heart functions, it enhances cardiovascular endurance which brings the blood pressure to a stable level and maintains balanced readings. Moreover, being a natural diuretic, it also helps in increasing renal blood flow that further contributes to its antihypertensive actions.
The potent bio-active constituents present in Punarnava also improves heart functioning and is extremely effective in treating various heart ailments due to its strong antioxidative nature. It not only fortifies the heart muscles and restricts the deposition of plaque in the blood vessels but also averts the formation of atherosclerosis (i.e. hardening of the arteries), and hence reduces the risk of heart attacks, heart blocks, blood clots, mitral regurgitation, ischemic cardiomyopathy etc.
So, apart from tweaking the dietary regimen and rectifying the lifestyle habits, try incorporating this amazing herb in your daily diet. Punarnava is an absolute remedy for hypertension and regulating blood pressure but consume it only after consulting with an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner to avoid any side effects.