Herbs For High Blood Pressure
If, as I have, you have lived in the Far East for any length of time you will know that herbal remedies play an extremely important role in the lives of millions of people who rarely if ever visit a doctor, let alone a hospital. You will also know that despite enormous differences in living standards between one of the world's most prosperous nations (the USA) and the world's most populated nation (China) there is a dramatic difference in the rate of high blood pressure.
In the USA today it is estimated that there are about 72 million people suffering from high blood pressure out of a population of about 302 million (24%) while in China about 160 million people are thought to have high blood pressure out of a population of around 1,314 million (12%).
So can we draw a connection between herbal medicine and high blood pressure?
Well, the answer of course is that we cannot do so directly but what we can say is that there is considerable evidence in the Far East to support the use of herbs for hypertension and also a great deal of evidence to support the role played by diet, which includes marked differences in the use of herbs and spices.
The body is essentially a chemical factory which is affected by everything that you put into it and not least by the food you eat. Adding herbs into your diet will therefore clearly affect your chemical balance and it is here that you can use herbs to target those systems within the body which are responsible for either raising or lowering your blood pressure.
The list of herbs that lower high blood pressure is extensive, but here are a few examples:
WARNING: While some herbs form part of our normal everyday diet and have few if any adverse side effects others can have unwanted side effects, especially if consumed in high quantities. If you are in any doubt you should consult your doctor before trying high blood pressure herbs which you are not familiar with.
- Hawthorn. Hawthorn has been used as a heart tonic for hundreds of years and acts to widen the blood vessels and, in particular, the coronary artery. Today many people take hawthorn for hypertension and one common form of this herb is a dried extract which can be made into a tea. [Although this herb has been used for a very long time it is a powerful heart medicine and should be used with care and preferably only with the agreement of your doctor.]
- Celery. Celery has been used for a very long time in Chinese medicine to lower blood pressure and studies show that it is effective in even small quantities with as few as four sticks of celery lowering blood pressure significantly.
[Note: When we talk about Chinese herbs for high blood pressure most people conjure up a picture of exotic oriental herbs but in fact many of the herbs used for centuries by the Chinese are herbs which are widely recognized as common plants, such as celery.]
- Garlic. Can garlic lower blood pressure? Yes, there is a clear link between garlic and high blood pressure and garlic has the dual benefit of not only lowering blood pressure but of also lowering cholesterol. In one study eating just one clove a day over a period of three months was shown to significantly lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Many people shy away from garlic because they don't like the taste or are concerned that it tends to linger on the breath. If you have a problem with adding garlic to your food then it can be taken in capsule form.
- Onion. In one study involving the use of onion oil blood pressure was lowered significantly in more than three-quarters of those in the study group. Unfortunately, it is not possible to replicate this in your normal diet as onion oil is not readily available and the quantity of onions which you would need to eat to get the same results is extremely high. Nonetheless, adding onions into your diet will certainly help in combination with other herbs.
- Tomato. The humble tomato contains a number of chemicals which are helpful in reducing high blood pressure including gamma-animo butyric acid (GABA).
- Broccoli. Broccoli contains several blood pressure lowering chemicals.
- Carrot. Carrots contain a number of chemicals which help to reduce blood pressure.
- Saffron. Saffron contains a chemical called crocetin which aids in the reduction of blood pressure. Although this is an expensive herb adding it to your cooking in small quantities, or brewing it into a tea, can be helpful.
- Valerian. Valerian is especially useful because it contains a chemical known as valerenic acid which inhibits the action of an enzyme which breaks down gamma-amino butyric acid. As we have seen in the case of tomatoes, gamma-amino butyric acid is very effective in reducing high blood pressure.
Valerian also acts as a sedative and can be helpful in countering such things as stress-related insomnia which can increase blood pressure.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about controlling hypertension is that it is best approached with a range of different treatments including such things as exercise and diet. It is in the area of diet that herbs that lower blood pressure can come their own.
More about blood pressure...
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