Which Herbs Lower High Blood Pressure?
The Dangers of Hypertension
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one third of American adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension. A number of factors contribute to elevated blood pressure, including stress, diet, and lack of exercise.
Having high blood pressure increases your risk for several health problems: heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, vision loss, and metabolic syndrome. To prevent or to treat high blood pressure, you should have your numbers checked regularly by your doctor.
Herbs and Supplements
There are many ways to treat high blood pressure, including lifestyle changes and/or medications. If you are interested in turning to traditional and herbal treatments for lowering your blood pressure, you have many options.
If you are thinking of trying herbs for medical reasons, whether that means using the whole herb or a supplement, speak to your doctor first. Some herbs, especially in large quantities, may produce undesirable side effects or interfere with other medications.
Basil is a delicious herb that goes well in a variety of foods. It also might help lower your blood pressure. Extract of basil has been shown to lower blood pressure, although only briefly. Adding fresh basil to your diet is easy and certainly can’t hurt. Keep a small pot of the herb in your kitchen garden and add the fresh leaves to pastas, soups, salads, and casseroles.
Cinnamon is another tasty seasoning that requires little effort to include in your daily diet, and that may bring your blood pressure numbers down. Consuming cinnamon every day has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with diabetes.
Include more cinnamon in your diet by sprinkling it on your breakfast cereal, oatmeal, and even in your coffee. At dinner, cinnamon enhances the flavor of stir fries, curries, and stews.
Cardamom is a seasoning that comes from India and is often used in the foods of South Asia. A study investigating the health effects of cardamom found that participants given powdered cardamom daily for several months saw significant reductions in their blood pressure readings.
You can include cardamom seeds or the powder in spice rubs, in soups and stews, and even in baked goods for a special flavor and a positive health benefit.
This pungent seasoning can do more than just flavor your food and ruin your breath. Garlic has the ability to lower your blood pressure by causing your blood vessels to relax and dilate. This lets blood flow more freely and reduces blood pressure.
You can add fresh garlic to a number of your favorite recipes. If the flavor of garlic is just too strong for you, roast it first. And if you simply can’t eat the stuff, you can get garlic in supplement form.
Hawthorn is an herbal remedy for high blood pressure that has been used in traditional Chinese medicines for thousands of years. Decoctions of hawthorn seem to have a whole host of benefits on cardiovascular health, including reduction of blood pressure, the prevention of clot formation, and an increase in blood circulation. You can take hawthorn as a pill, a liquid extract, or a tea.
Celery seed is an herb used to flavor soups, stews, casseroles, and other savory dishes. Celery has been long used to treat hypertension in China, but studies also have shown that it may be effective. You can use the seeds to lower blood pressure, but you can also juice the whole plant. Celery is a diuretic, which may help explain its effect on blood pressure.
The beautiful, perfume-like scent of lavender is not the only benefit of the plant. Oil of lavender has long been used as a perfume ingredient and also to induce relaxation. The herb may also lower your blood pressure. Although not many people think to use lavender as a culinary herb, you can use the flowers in baked goods and the leaves can be used in the same way you would use rosemary.
Cat’s claw is an herbal medicine used in traditional Chinese practice to treat hypertension as well as neurological health problems. Studies of cat’s claw as a treatment for hypertension indicate that it may be helpful in reducing blood pressure by acting on calcium channels in your cells. You can get cat’s claw in supplement form from many health food stores.
- High Blood Pressure Facts. (2013, March 20). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm
- Hypertension. (2013). New York University Langone Medical Center. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21725#ref144
- Tabassum, N. and Ahmad, F. (2011). Role of Natural Herbs in the Treatment of Hypertension. Pharmacogn. Rev., 5(9), 30-40. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210006/
- Verma, S.K., Jain, V., Katewa, S. S. (2009). Blood Pressure Lowering, Fibrinolysis Enhancing and Antioxidant Activities of Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). Indian J. Biochem. Biophys., 46(6), 503-506. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20361714