A person who has a history of elevated blood pressure is said to suffer from hypertension. There are two types of high blood pressure, primary and secondary. Primary high blood pressure does not have any specific cause. Secondary high blood pressure is caused due to some flaw in the functioning of the kidney, problem with lungs, or pregnancy-induced.
It is important for the physician to assess the cause of high pressure to treat it accordingly. These days physicians in many countries prescribe herbs to lower blood pressure. Since these herbs come without any side effects, they are prescribed in borderline high blood pressure cases.
Blood Pressure Lowering Herbs
Herbs that help lower hypertension can be included in the diet by making minor changes in the food habits along with certain lifestyle changes. Such herbs include:
- Garlic: It is famous for its blood pressure lowering properties. It lowers both systolic as well as diastolic pressure. Garlic helps thin the blood in a similar way as the pharmaceutical drug aspirin. Including garlic in the daily diet over a period of 4 weeks gives significant results in terms of lowering blood pressure. It is said to have other health benefits as well. Garlic is used abundantly in Indian and Chinese cuisines.
- Onion: Studies have shown that when people with high blood pressure consumed onion, their blood pressure fell considerably. Onion has another health benefit attached to it. It lowers the cholesterol level in the body.
- Green Tea: Japanese studies have proved that switching to green tea from coffee or black tea indeed reduces blood pressure. In all probability, it is green tea which makes Japanese people less susceptible to strokes and heart ailments in comparison to Americans. Hence, it's a good idea to include green tea as a part of one's diet.
- Hawthorn: This blood pressure lowering herb reduces mean diastolic pressure. Studies conducted in UK have proved that the consumption of hawthorn for a consistent period indeed help reduce the blood pressure. The hawthorn berry clears the coronary arteries, strengthens the heart muscles, and improves blood circulation throughout the body.
- Olives: Olives help regularize the heartbeat and reduce the blood pressure. It is also said to lower cholesterol levels in the body, and thereby minimize the risk of heart attacks.
- Stevia: Stevia extract is also a herb that lowers blood pressure. It is said to enhance glucose tolerance in the body, and hence is a favorite with diabetics as well.
- Cinnamon: This herb is native to Sri Lanka. The bark of the cinnamon tree is rolled and pressed to get cinnamon sticks. It is used in large quantities in Indian cooking as a spice. It is also an antioxidant. With all the health benefits that it has to offer, cinnamon is also a blood pressure lowering herb.
- Cardamom: Cardamom is used for its medicinal properties in many countries like China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc. It is said to have blood pressure reducing qualities, and hence is widely used for its treatment.
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg is a herb indigenous to Indonesia. It is an ingredient used in the kitchens of Greece, Cyprus, Europe, Japan, Middle East, India, etc. Nutmeg is also a herb that lowers blood pressure. In Slovakia, nutmeg is used as an anti-epileptic drug. It helps reduce flatulence as well.
- Flaxseed: Flaxseed contains a high level of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil both help lower high blood pressure by stabilizing the level of blood sugar.
- Valerian: This is a perennial plant with sweet-scented white or pink flowers. It was first found in Europe and some parts of Asia. It reduces anxiety, which can be one of the causes of high blood pressure. Valerian is also given as a dietary supplement. It is highly beneficial in the treatment of sleeplessness, and insomnia caused due to hypertension and high blood pressure. Hence, valerian is well-known as a herb that lowers blood pressure.
There are other kitchen remedies, though not herbs, that can be used to fight high blood pressure. Fish oil contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which lowers the blood pressure. It also helps reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) level in the body. Wheat bran is also said to effectively lower high blood pressure.
To reap rich dividends of the blood pressure lowering herbs, bringing about a change in lifestyle is highly recommended. Foods to be avoided by people with hypertension are salt, sugar, alcohol, fat products, etc. At the same time, following the physician's instructions is also very important.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.