High blood pressure is a narrowing of the arteries caused by factors like high fat, salt diet, smoking, etc. It puts sufferers at risk of other conditions including stroke, heart attack and kidney disease. While there is no cure, blood pressure has long been controlled with the use of prescription medications prescribed by a medical doctor. But these medications have side-effects and slowly there is an awakening that blood pressure is better managed with natural therapies like herbs, proper diet and exercise.
The Journal of Medicine noted a study that showed every day household spices can help to protect the body from aging and heart disease. A chemical called phenol can prevent the build-up of AGE’s (advanced glycation end products). These are the direct factors that increase your risk of heart disease and early aging. The good news is there are herbs that can help reduce these risks and keep you healthy during the aging process.
Garlic has many health benefits including anti-hypertension, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial and it can lower lipid levels in the blood. This is due to a compound called allicin. In a study done at the Clinical Research Center of New Orleans, 9 subjects were given garlic with 1.3% allicin. Their diastolic blood pressure readings fell dramatically in as little as 5 hours up to 14 hours after the garlic was given. It has been found that fresh garlic has the most benefits to heart health.
Cinnamon has been beneficial to both heart disease and blood sugar control in diabetes. In a study performed at The Center for Health Sciences located in the state of Ohio, 22 people were given either cinnamon or a placebo. The ones who took the cinnamon had a 13 to 23% raise in their antioxidant levels and lower blood sugars.
Quercetin is a chemical compound found in onions that is associated with an antioxidant, flavonol. This antioxidant can really help lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. The Journal of Nutrition noted in a study done with onions people who used them had a slight decrease in blood pressures over people who were given a placebo.
The chemical compound carvacrol in oregano was studied in Turkey. The Eskisehir Osmangazi University researchers proved that carvacrol can significantly lower both blood pressures and heart rates.
Olives are a part of one of the healthiest diets in the world, the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is known to reduce blood pressure and proven in the study done by Dr. L Aldo Ferrara in Italy. It was found that the polyphenols in olive oil can reduce the amount of blood pressure medicines needed by patients with high blood pressure.
Hawthorn has long been used in natural medicine to treat hypertension. A study done in the UK gave 79 Diabetic patients 1200mg of hawthorn extract. Some of the patients in the group received no hawthorn, but instead took their regular blood pressure medicine. The study lasted 16 weeks and at the end of the study the people given hawthorn showed a decrease in blood pressure.
The Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics published a study on cardamom. 20 people with hypertension were given cardamom for 3 months and at the end of the study, their blood pressure was lower, along with feeling better and a reduction in blood clotting. There were also no side-effects reported during the study.
This Chinese herb has been used in Eastern medicine since ancient times. Ginkgo Biloba has many benefits to the circulatory system including dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow to all areas of the body. This can help reduce the blood pressure and increases memory and brain function.
Turmeric is actually an herb that is used as a seasoning in Indian food. It contains curcumin, which is actually medicinal. Curcumin can improve circulation by strengthening blood vessels, nourishes the liver and reduces unhealthy cholesterol.
There are a number of other herbs and foods that can be helpful in lowering blood pressure. These include but are not limited to maitake mushrooms, rauwolfia, mistletoe, saffron, hibiscus, coleus forskohlii, lime blossom and asparagus.
You can benefit your entire body by taking advantage of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of herbs and spices. The bonus of herbs having a lower calorie content is that you can use them in cooking and make what you eat a part of your blood pressure treatment. Herbal remedies can be a tasty addition to foods like casseroles, soup, meat, fish and vegetables. They can even be baked into breads and cakes. Herbal remedies are cheaper and easier to keep and use than prescription medications. It is very important that good quality herbs are used and that a physician is consulted prior to using them for medicinal purposes.