Nearly 26% of the world’s population has hypertension, and the prevalence is expected to increase to 29% by 2025. It’s a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, which are the first and third leading causes of death worldwide, respectively.
But the positive part in all this is that, high blood pressure can be well managed by controlling the modifiable risk factors associated with it.
Managing high blood pressure requires holistic approach, which includes healthy lifestyle modification and proper medications (if required).
If you are planning to start some herbal preparations for controlling your blood pressure then you should talk to your doctor first. Presently, there are no recommendations for their regular use as anti hypertensive therapy.
Here’s the list of some commonly used herbs and herbal remedies:
Garlic also known as Allium sativum, has rich medicinal properties which needs no introduction. It’s been in use for a very long time for the prevention of cardiovascular complications. Several researches have shown its blood pressure lowering properties.
Blood pressure lowering effect of garlic has been observed in 20 patients with high blood pressure compared to 20 patients with normal pressure, who have been receiving garlic pearls preparation for a period of two months. Results have shown a noticeable decline in blood pressure along with a significant reduction in the levels of nitric oxide, and lipid peroxidation. Also it increases the levels of antioxidative vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin E.
It also helps in lowering the levels of Bad Cholesterol from your body.
Flaxseed also commonly known as Linseed, is a herb believed to be originated from Egypt. Flaxseed and its oil are rich in α-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that appears to be beneficial for the heart diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and other health problems.
Several studies suggest that individuals with diagnosed high blood pressure, who takes diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids manages to lower BP significantly.
Also known as Zingiber officinale, ginger is a commonly used herb throughout the world in everyday cooking. It relaxes the smooth muscles of the blood vessels and improves blood circulation.
The blood pressure lowering effect of ginger is mainly by its action on voltage gated calcium channels. Several studies have been conducted so far which have shown some promising effects with fewer or basically no side effects.
So, start using this herb in your daily diet to improve the taste as well as to enjoy its health benefits.
Cinnamon can be another healthy ingredient of your secret healthy diet with added blood pressure lowering benefits. Lab studies conducted have shown to reduce blood pressure numbers. However, those studies used IV extract and not the oral formulations.
Try adding or sprinkling cinnamon on your breakfast cereals, oatmeals and even your drinks like coffee. This will not just be beneficial from health perspective, but will also be a delight to your taste buds.
Also known as Crataegus pinnatifida, is a herb that is being used in traditional chinese medicine for lowering blood pressure for centuries. The health benefits of hawthorn are mainly due to flavonoids present in them which have potent antioxidant properties.
Studies have shown its potential in preventing strokes and reducing the risk of heart attack by lowering BP, increasing circulation, and inhibiting both the formation of plaque on arterial walls and formation of blood clots in the brain, heart, and arteries.
Hawthorn can be taken as liquid extract, or pill or as tea.
Also known as Ocimum basilicum, this herb is commonly used in a variety of foods. Lab studies on rodents have shown a transient reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure with crude basil extract.
Adding a few fresh basil leaves while cooking will certainly have some health benefits and will enhance the flavour of your food.
Also known as Apium graveolens, has been used in traditional chinese medicine from a very long time. Studies done on rodents does have shown it’s potential in lowering blood pressure.
A small study conducted in humans, showed a significant reduction in blood pressure in 14 out of 16 patients.
Fresh celery juice mixed with vinegar can be used to relieve headache and dizziness associated with high blood pressure.
Also known as Carum copticum, ajwain is a very commonly used ingredient in kitchens of asia, specially indian sub continent.
Studies conducted in controlled lab environment using crude extract showed a significant but very transient fall in blood pressure levels.
Regular use in daily diet do have additional health benefits, like improved digestion, relieve from bloating etc.
Also known as Zingiber officinale, ginger is a very often used material in routine asian cooking. In several animal studies, it has shown to reduce blood pressure by relaxing the smooth muscles of the blood vessels. However, no convincing studies has been conducted in humans so far.
Researches have shown that the blood pressure lowering effect of ginger is mediated through blockade of voltage-dependent calcium channels.
Ginger can be added to various food items like soups, noodles, vegetables in different form factors to enhance the taste.
Also known as Raphanus sativus, radish is a commonly used vegetable and liked by a lot of people. Studies have shown that eating radish regularly not only increases the fibre content of your diet but also have some potential blood pressure regulating properties also.
You can consume this vegetable in several different interesting ways, like by making salad, adding in soup, in pastas etc.
Take away message
There are very few studies conducted in humans to know the reliable antihypertensive effects, so these herbal items are not a replacement of your blood pressure medications. You should always stick to your doctors prescription. However, all the above mentioned items are routinely used food items and the motive was just to highlight their additional health benefits for awareness.
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