Herbs for Hypertension
Up to 32 percent of adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, or hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many sufferers require prescription medication, but for mild hypertension, gentle lifestyle modifications and botanical plants to lower blood pressure may be enough.
Your body regulates your blood pressure naturally using a complex system of controls and checks. Part of this system is a compound known as hydrogen sulfide, which is manufactured from dietary sulfur within the blood vessel linings. Cayenne pepper is naturally high in sulfur, and provides the raw materials needed for this to occur.
Additionally, cayenne pepper is a good flavor enhancer to take the place of table salt in low-sodium diets.
In one study, two tablespoons of dried hibiscus flowers steeped as tea and taken twice daily helped reduce blood pressure in study subjects, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM).
While not the only cause of hypertension, stress can be an aggravating factor. Chamomile tea is well known for its relaxing properties, and can help you relax when you feel stress building up.
Like hibiscus, chamomile makes a lovely cup of tea, and the pure ritual of sitting down with a cup of tea, in addition to the herb's medicinal qualities, cannot help but have a beneficial impact on your blood pressure.
Garlic has shown to be effective in treating both hypertension and high cholesterol, but may react with some other drugs. If you are taking other medications, discuss garlic treatment with your doctor before starting the herb.
The UMM recommends 400mg of standardized extract two to three times per day.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract is a vaso-dilator, meaning that it opens up the arteries to allow more blood to pass through. More room for blood flow will lower the pressure within the arteries and reduce the workload on the heart.
Hawthorn is already widely used to treat heart disease, according to the UMM, and is currently being studied for its efficacy on high blood pressure. It is believed to open the blood vessels, like olive leaf extract, but more research is needed to prove its usefulness for hypertension treatment.
Plants to Lower Blood Pressure
Achillea wilhelmsii, a plant in the yarrow family, may help lower blood pressure as well. The UMM recommends 15 to 20 drops of tincture twice daily.
While medicinal herbs can be a beneficial complement to an existing treatment plan, it is always best to work out any treatment - herbal or pharmaceutical - with a qualified physician, herbalist or naturopathic doctor.