High blood pressure is a medical condition that is characterized by elevated blood pressure levels in the arteries. Due to the recent changes in blood pressure guidelines, it is estimated that about 50% of American adults will have high blood pressure. While some medical experts encourage lifestyle and dietary changes to improve the condition, other doctors immediately prescribe medications to lower blood pressure.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, not only increases a person’s risk of heart attack, but it also contributes to atherosclerosis. High blood pressure is often categorized as primary or secondary. The former accounts for about 90-95% of cases and is characterized by no medical cause, and the latter accounts for 5-10% of cases, which are caused by other conditions that affect the endocrine system, arteries, heart, or kidneys.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
The most common type of high blood pressure is attributed to sedentary lifestyle, excessive stress, potassium deficiency, obesity (about 85% of cases occur in people with a body mass index greater than 25), and vitamin D deficiency. Another common cause is diet, primarily due to the excessive intake of salty foods or foods that are rich in trans and saturated fats.
If you are thinking of experimenting with herbs to lower your blood pressure, it is wise to research the herb to see if you are allergic to it. Some herbs may interfere with medications or induce side effects, so do your homework prior to experimenting with the following herbs.
Historically, garlic has been used to help remedy a variety of cardiovascular conditions. The common thought is that it helps to increase nitric oxide production, which can relax muscles and improve vasodilation. According to several studies, garlic preparations have been effective at reducing blood pressure levels when compared to placebo. The antioxidant and anti-hypertensive properties make garlic an excellent choice for high blood pressure patients.
Moringa is one of the most recommended medicinal herbs in Ayurveda. While there are historical accounts of it being used for hypertensive patients, recent studies have concluded that moringa is beneficial for reducing blood pressure. According to a 2006 study, which was published in Phyto-therapy Research, moringa helped to decrease blood pressure levels in rabbits and guinea pigs. Another study found that niacin A1, niacin B3, Niacin A5, and Niacin B10, the chemical compounds in moringa, are responsible for the positive effects on hypertension.
Besides being the featured ingredient in pesto, basil may also help to naturally lower blood pressure levels. Preliminary research has found that eugenol, a chemical compound in basil, is effective at blocking substances that tighten blood vessels. This could help lower blood pressure, but more studies are needed to confirm this theory.
Unless you are cooking up stews, soups, or other savory dishes, you will unlikely use celery seed as a regular seasoning. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, celery seed has been used to remedy hypertension, and recent studies have confirmed that it, along with actual celery stalks, is effective at lowering bad cholesterol. Other research has found that celery seed contains luteolin, a bioflavonoid that can help reduce damaged muscle in arterial walls. This helps to ensure minimal plaque build-up in arteries.
Hawthorn has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help treat hypertension for thousands of years. More recently, clinical trials have shown that it works to lower blood pressure. Hawthorn’s ability to do this is attributed to the flavonoids and oligomeric procyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants that have demonstrated positive influence on the cardiovascular system. Additionally, hawthorn may help to decrease the formation of plaque in arterial walls and improve circulation.
This herb gained notoriety as the “herb of immortality” at the 1970 National Census conducted by the Chinese government. The findings indicated that jiaogulan was responsible for increased longevity, which was evident by the amount of centenarians in Southern China. More research found that this herb contains antioxidants and adaptogens, which help to normalize blood pressure. Jiaogulan was given to hypertensive patients in several studies, and roughly 82% cases were normalized by continued consumption of this herb.