Natural beta blockers

Beta blockers are a class of medication which is used to treat various conditions involving the heart and blood pressure. Also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, they prevent norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenalin) from binding to receptors in the nerves. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are hormones which are involved in the ‘fight or flight’ response. Epinephrine gets the body ready for action by quickening the blood pressure so that the muscles, which consume more sugar than usual when there is fast and strenuous activity, will have a way of getting rid of the toxins which build up.

The response brought about by these hormones affects the blood flow, and thus affects the heart. There are three kinds of beta receptors. Beta 1 receptors are found in the eyes, heart and kidneys. Beta 2 receptors are generally located in the gastrointestinal tract, in the lungs, uterus, gastrointestinal tract, skeletal muscle and blood vessels. Beta (β3) receptors are found in fat cells. Beta1 and Beta 2 are the receptors that are usually targeted by Beta blockers. Some beta blockers affect the heart, and others the blood vessels. Which type of blocker will be prescribed to a patient depends on their overall health, and the conditions they suffer from.

Blocking the receptors reduces the effect of epinephrine and norepinephrine. Beta blockers cause the heart rate to slow down, by widening the blood vessels, and reduce air flow by constricting the muscles around the air passages. In this way, the blood pressure is lowered.

The most common chemical beta blockers are Acebutolol (Sectral), Atenolol (Tenormin) Bisoprolol (Zebeta) and Carvedilol (Coreg).

The problem with these chemical beta blockers is that, like all drugs, they may have adverse side effects. Ashthma patients in particular need an alternative form of beta blockers, because the generic blockers stimulate bronchial constriction. Narrowing down the airways of Asthma patients can be extremely dangerous, even fatal. Taking other drugs with the beta blocker will not solve the problem; the drugs may interact, creating even more undesirable side effects.

There are several natural beta blockers which patients can take, which are much safer and cause no severe side effects. Most of these herbal products are available in several health stores. Here are some examples of herbal beta blockers.

1. Passionflower: Passion flower is a very strong and efficient relaxant. It has been proven medically to be equal in effectiveness to many anxiety medications and can be found in capsule and tincture form in most health stores.

2. Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea is a relaxant that has been used all over the world throughout history. One cup everyday can do much to keep our blood pressure under control. Chamomile is effective as long as it is fresh, so care must be taken when buying it.

3. Pomegranate juice: Pomegranate juice is an antioxidant, and is also a natural remedy for heart conditions. Although not very effective on its own, supplemented with other herbal or chemical medication, it can do wonders.

However, there are some minor side effects associated with the intakes of beta blockers. Beta blockers are known to induce drowsiness, blurred vision, or even dizziness in some cases. For activities that require certain levels of alertness, beta blockers are recommended to be used with caution, since Beta blockers might reduce the circulation of blood and the feet and hands might feel cold. Immediate medical attention should be sought in cases where the side effects include swollen hands, sore throats, easy bruising or depression. Emergency situations might include irregular heartbeats – in which case, emergency medical care should be readily sought. Allergies like rashes and itchiness might be a side effect in rare cases, and under any discomfort, the beta blockers should be immediately discontinued.

Last updated on Nov 17th, 2010 and filed under Alternative Medicine. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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