Herbs to Lower Blood Pressure
Some cultures have a long history of taking herbs to lower blood pressure safely and effectively. The most studied hypertension herbs include:
Is garlic a potent warrior against high blood pressure levels in the body? The issue continues to be hotly debated, as experts conduct more studies of garlic’s properties. Some studies have concluded that the effects are inconclusive. But, in Natural Prescriptions, Robert Giller, MD, writes that garlic has been demonstrated to lower systolic pressure readings by 20-30 mm Hg and diastolic readings by 10-20 mm Hg.
Some studies show that three to four cloves per day, fresh or taken as supplements, can help maintain healthy pressure levels or lower levels that are too high. According to WebMd, a clove contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds. Working together, they boost the immune system and offer many antibacterial benefits to the body. Allicin and S-allyl cysteine are two of its other most studied compounds. One theory is that allicin battles high blood pressure by preventing or minimizing weight gain.
Incorporate garlic into your cooking every day. Aside from the potential health benefits, it enhances your eating pleasure by bringing out the natural flavors of many foods. If you take garlic in capsules, experts recommend a 300-mg enteric-coated, odor-free capsule daily. The enteric coating ensures the garlic compounds will not be released before they enter the small intestine.
Flaxseed oil is derived from the flaxseed plant. It is a rich source of the essential fatty acid (EFA) alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a type of omega-3 EFA. The ALA component of flaxseed oil is valued for its anti-inflammatory properties. Experts believe this may contribute to lowering blood pressure and preventing hardening of the arteries, a condition that increases pressure rates by increasing resistance to the flow of blood. The recommended dosage is 1 T per day.
Caution: Some studies suggest that flaxseed oil may worsen existing prostate cancer.
Studies show that hawthorn contains many antioxidants, including quercetin. Its antioxidant properties are believed to allow blood to flow more freely throughout the body by destroying free radicals that would impede its progress. The less resistance blood flow meets, the less pressure the blood exerts against walls of your arteries.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, hawthorn has a long history of use by doctors to treat heart disease, dating back to the first century. They used the berries to treat many heart problems, including an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, hardening of the arteries, and high blood pressure.
Today, the leaves and flowers are used most, because many experts believe they contain more antioxidant properties than the berries. However, some experts, such as Julian Whitaker, MD, of the Wellness Institute, still believe hawthorn is most potent and effective when the entire plant is used.
As with most alternative treatments, studies continue to try to determine hawthorn’s effectiveness. One study concluded that a hawthorn extract used to treat people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and hypertension had been effective in lowering their blood pressure. The participants were taking medications prescribed for their diabetes and hypertension during the study. Over a 16-week trial period, one group was given 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract daily while the other was given a placebo. There was a statistically significant reduction in blood pressure rates for the group taking the hawthorn extract.
Another study found that hawthorn reduced diastolic rates significantly.
Caution: Hawthorn may interact with the following drugs:
Digoxin, Atenolol (Tenormin), Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL), Propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA), Norvasc (amlodipine), Cardizem (diltiazem), Procardia (nifedipine), Phenylephrine
If you are taking medication, especially any of these, always talk to your doctor before making any changes or adding supplements to your care.
Early research suggests that ginseng may lower blood pressure (systolic and diastolic). The National Institutes of Health confirm that there is good scientific evidence to back ginseng’s use as an effective hypertension herb.
Ginseng is a powerful antioxidant that helps relieve stress, preventing excessive hormonal secretions from the adrenal glands. Excessive adrenaline contracts blood vessels, making it more difficult for blood to flow freely. This, in turn, increases the pressure exerted by blood as it tries to overcome this resistance.
Ginseng has been used for more than 2,000 years in Chinese medicine. The term “ginseng” refers to several species of the genus Panax. The two most commonly used species are Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (P. quinquefolius). A third form, Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), does not contain the ginsenosides found in the Panax species and is not recommended. Its effects have not been studied.
The recommended dosage is 1 capsule twice a day, containing 100-200 mg of a standardized ginseng extract (4% ginsenosides) or 0.5-1 g of dry ginseng root, taken orally daily in divided doses. Experts recommend that if you take ginseng for 2-3 weeks, you should take a break for 1-2 weeks. Do not exceed dosages of 1 g of the dry root daily long-term.
Find out more about these herbs for blood pressure and more in a comprehensive report on natural remedies that lower blood pressure.
- Robert Giller, MD. Natural Prescriptions, Natural Treatments and Vitamin Therapies for More than 100 Common Ailments.
- Elkayam A, Mirelman D, Peleg E, Wilchek M, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Oron-Herman M, Rosenthal T. The effects of allicin on weight in fructose-induced hyperinsulinemic, hyperlipidemic, hypertensive rats. Am J Hypertens. 2003 Dec;16(12):1053-6. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14643581.
- Learn more about studies of garlic’s chemical compounds, including allicin, and their ability to lower blood pressure.
- Botanicals. http://www.botanical.com
- University of Maryland Medical Center. Hawthorn and blood pressure research.
- National Institutes of Health. Ginseng and high blood pressure.
Tagged with: flaxseed oil and hypertension • garlic and high blood pressure • ginseng and high blood pressure • hawthorn for blood pressure • herbal treatment for high blood pressure • herbs to lower blood pressure • hypertension herbs
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