Hypertension and kidney health: How Ayurveda can help manage the same | Health - Hindustan Times

Hypertension and kidney health: How Ayurveda can help manage the same

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Oct 11, 2023 07:28 AM IST

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure. Ayurvedic experts reveal how Ayurveda can help manage the same

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a significant risk factor for kidney health as the kidneys play a crucial role in regulating blood pressure, so when hypertension goes unchecked, it can lead to kidney damage. Ayurvedic experts insist that Ayurveda approaches the management of hypertension and kidney health with a holistic perspective, focusing on balance and natural remedies.

Hypertension and kidney health: How Ayurveda can help manage the same (File Photo)
Hypertension and kidney health: How Ayurveda can help manage the same (File Photo)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Arun Pillai, Wellness Director at Dharana, shared, “In Ayurveda, the human body is perceived as an intricate interplay of energies known as doshas, with Vata, Pitta, and Kapha being the primary ones. In the context of hypertension and kidney health, Ayurvedic practitioners frequently observe an excessive Pitta dosha imbalance. Pitta is closely linked to heat and transformative processes within the body. When there's an excess of Pitta, it can lead to inflammation and place added stress on the kidneys, which can contribute to the development or exacerbation of hypertension.”

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He explained, “One of the fundamental principles in Ayurveda for managing hypertension is through diet and lifestyle modifications. We emphasise the importance of a balanced diet that includes cooling and soothing foods to pacify the Pitta dosha. This might include incorporating foods like cucumber, watermelon, and coconut water into one's diet while reducing or avoiding spicy and salty foods that can aggravate hypertension. Herbal remedies also play a crucial role in Ayurvedic management of hypertension and kidney health. Herbs like Brahmi, Arjuna, and Gokshura have been traditionally used to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and support kidney function. These herbs can be prepared in various forms, such as teas or capsules, under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner.”

Dr Arun Pillai elaborated, “Another essential aspect of Ayurveda is stress management. Chronic stress is a common trigger for hypertension and can adversely affect kidney health. Ayurveda recommends practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises to calm the mind and reduce stress levels. At Dharana, we offer specialised wellness programs that incorporate these practices to help guests manage their hypertension and support kidney health. Detoxification is another critical component of Ayurvedic treatment for hypertension and kidney health. Panchakarma, a purification therapy, is often recommended to remove toxins from the body and improve overall well-being. It can aid in reducing the burden on the kidneys and promote their optimal function. Ayurveda is a personalised system of medicine. A qualified Ayurvedic practitioner will assess an individual's unique constitution, imbalances, and specific health concerns to tailor a treatment plan accordingly. This personalised approach ensures that the treatment aligns with the individual's needs and helps manage hypertension while supporting kidney health effectively.”

Dr Amit Verma, Founder of Vrikshakalpa Ayurveda, said, “Millions of individuals throughout the world are afflicted by hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure. It poses a significant risk for a variety of cardiovascular conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, hypertension may worsen kidney health and increase the risk of kidney failure or chronic kidney disease (CKD). Ayurveda offers holistic approaches to managing both hypertension and kidney health.”

He highlighted the ways in which hypertension can impact kidney health -

  • Reduced Blood Flow: High blood pressure can narrow and weaken the blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to reduced blood flow to these vital organs. This reduced blood flow can impair the kidneys' ability to filter waste and maintain proper fluid balance in the body.
  • Proteinuria: Hypertension can damage the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to a condition called proteinuria. In proteinuria, excessive amounts of protein leak into the urine, which is a sign of kidney damage.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Prolonged uncontrolled hypertension can ultimately lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is a progressive condition that impairs kidney function over time and can result in kidney failure if left untreated.

Dr Amit Verma echoed that Ayurveda offers a comprehensive approach to managing hypertension and promoting kidney health. According to him, the key principles and Ayurvedic remedies include -

  • Diet and Lifestyle: Ayurveda emphasises a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Reducing the intake of salty and processed foods is essential for managing hypertension. Instead, focus on a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Incorporate stress management techniques such as meditation and yoga to help reduce the emotional and mental stress that can contribute to hypertension.
  • Herbal Remedies: Ayurveda utilizes a wide range of herbs to support kidney health and reduce hypertension. Commonly used herbs include Punarnava, Gokshura, and Arjuna. These herbs are known for their diuretic and blood pressure-lowering properties.
  • Panchakarma: Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic detoxification therapy that helps eliminate toxins from the body. It is beneficial for individuals with hypertension and kidney issues by promoting overall detoxification and balance in the body.
  • Pranayama: Controlled breathing exercises, known as pranayama, reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Techniques such as Anulom Vilom and Bhramari are particularly useful in managing hypertension.
  • Consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner: It's essential to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner who can assess your individual constitution (Prakriti) and imbalances (Vikriti) to create a personalized treatment plan.

He asserted, “Ayurveda plays a significant role in managing hypertension and promoting kidney health. However, it's crucial to consult with healthcare professionals and use Ayurvedic treatments in conjunction with conventional medical care for the best results. Ayurveda's personalized and holistic approach can be a valuable addition to the overall management of hypertension and kidney health.”

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Puneet, Founder Director at Karma Ayurveda, said, “Hypertension or high blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure. An often-ignored way for the management of hypertension and the preservation of kidney health lies in Ayurveda. Yes, the integration of Ayurveda into nephrology opens up a world of possibilities for understanding and addressing the intricate relationship between hypertension and kidney health. Ayurveda, an ancient healing system that has stood the test of time, emphasizes the importance of balance in the body, mind, and spirit. This balance is fundamental to maintaining good health, and it lies at the heart of Ayurvedic approaches to managing hypertension and promoting kidney well-being.”

He revealed, “One of Ayurveda's primary tenets is that each person is unique, and so the treatment of no two people can be the same. An Ayurvedic practitioner, therefore, recognises various body constitutions or ‘doshas,’ and tailors treatments accordingly. This individualised approach keeps the patient’s specific needs in mind, making Ayurveda a highly personalized form of care. Diet plays a pivotal role in Ayurveda, and it can be a powerful tool in managing hypertension and preserving kidney health. Ayurvedic dietary recommendations often focus on reducing sodium intake and incorporating foods and spices known for their blood pressure-lowering properties. Ayurveda also underlines stress management. Chronic stress is a well-known contributor to hypertension, and Ayurveda encourages stress-reducing techniques like meditation and Yoga to help people tackle stress effectively. By calming the mind and reducing stress, we can indirectly alleviate the strain on the kidneys and promote overall well-being.”

Dr Puneet concluded, “Herbal remedies are another cornerstone of Ayurveda. Herbs like Gokshura and Punarnava are known for their diuretic properties and their ability to support kidney function. As they help keep fluid overload in check, they also have heart-protective function. Ayurveda treatment tends to lower blood resistance and counters bad cholesterol levels effectively stabilising heart dynamics. These natural interventions can alone or in combination with conventional medical treatments help mitigate the progression of kidney disease. While Ayurveda offers a holistic and personalized approach to managing hypertension and kidney health, it is important to consume any type of medication or herb under the supervision of a registered Ayurvedic practitioner only.”

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