Low blood pressure, or hypertension, is basically caused by poor blood distribution in the body: when you sit up after lying down or stand up from a sitting position, blood pools in the leg veins and for a brief time less blood flows back up to the heart and brain. This slight, temporary shortage of blood flow to the brain causes blood pressure to drop. Weakness in the heart muscle or insufficient tension in the blood vessel walls can be responsible for low blood pressure as well. Those affected suffer from spells of dizziness, rapid or altered heartbeat and blackouts, often upon getting up suddenly or after standing for a long period. Signs of low blood pressure can also include fatigue, paleness, sweating, inability to make decisions, sleep problems and difficulty concentrating. Symptoms may worsen when there is increased blood flow to the skin; this can occur after working in hot sun or with a fever. Fortunately, a number of natural and home remedies can ease symptoms and improve circulation.
Measuring blood pressure
When blood pressure is measured, two values are given; the highest pressure in the veins (systole) and the lowest (diastole). These are expressed as "millimeters of mercury," or "mm Hg." In medical terms, a woman has low blood pressure when her systolic value is below 100; a man, when his value is below 110.
What you can do?
Be sure to get enough sleep and start off your day slowly. Avoid physical and psychological stress. Regular relaxation exercises will bring the psyche into line and, often, the blood pressure as well. Avoid cigarettes, as smoking can make circulation problems worse, nicotine constricts blood vessels and therefore further decreases blood circulation.
Medicinal plants that increase circulation
Rosemary acts as a stimulant and can slightly raise your blood pressure. Rosemary wine in particular is considered a stimulating and strengthening remedy for heart and circulation problems, low blood pressure and nervous restlessness. Because of its stimulating properties, it should not be taken during pregnancy. Hawthorn also is known to strengthen the circulatory system by improving blood flow within the heart. You can prepare a therapeutic tea from either herb, or use them in tinctures.
Nutrition has a major impact on blood pressure. First, always eat a well balanced breakfast. Eat regular meals; a drop in blood sugar can lower blood pressure further. Unlike people with high blood pressure, you don't need to be especially sparing with salt. Drink plenty of liquids to avoid a deficiency in fluids.
Plenty of movement
All physical activity stimulates circulation. Running, cross country skiing, hiking and swimming are especially effective. Take it slowly; however, sudden overexertion might lead to a drop in blood pressure.
Extra tip : Blood pressure drops even further after you drink highly caffeinated beverages. For a gentler "high", try black or green teas. They should not be brewed strongly: steep for only about 3 min.
Brief cold stimuli, or alternating heat and cold, will improve your circulation. For a refreshing way to wake up, start the morning with an alternating shower. First shower for a few minutes in hot water, until you feel warm. Then, if you have a hand held shower spray, turn up the cold water and spray the body from below, beginning with the outer and inner sides of your right leg and then your left. Spray your arms in the same way. Then aim the spray at your chest, abdomen, the nape of your neck and your face. Repeat this process 1 or 2 times, always finishing with cold water. Make sure you are properly warmed before each cold application.
Refreshing arm baths
Cold applied just to your arms can also stimulate circulation, particularly within the heart itself. Place both arms up to your elbows in cold water in a basin for about 10 sec. dry off the water and make circular movements within your arms.
Morning massages with a brush are a good way to rejuvenate circulation. Use a hand brush with natural bristles, a sisal glove or a rough towel. Start with the insteps of your feet and massage first your right leg and then your left, and then the buttocks with circular movements until the skin is light pink. Brush your arms with long strokes. Massage your abdomen, moving clockwise; then your chest up to the breastbone. Massage the back of your neck, stroking down toward the shoulders. Finally, massage your upper back, and then the lower back.
An herbal bath with rosemary or lavender can encourage better blood flow through the body and gently raise your blood pressure. The bathwater should be tepid-about 98.6 deg F. don't spend more than 15 min. in the tub. Afterward, allow yourself to rest for a while.