Herbal Meds for Hypertension

According to the Mayo Clinic, hypertension–also known as high blood pressure–affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives, because age is the largest risk factor. Hypertension is caused by too much blood being pumped through too-narrow blood vessels. According to “1000 Cures for 200 Ailments,” blood pressure is high when the systolic pressure–while the heart is contracting–is over 140 and when the diastolic pressure–while the heart is relaxed–is over 90. Hypertension causes damage over time, and can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. Herbal treatment is appropriate for preventing hypertension before it sets in, or in conjunction with medical treatment if your doctor agrees.

Garlic

The Mayo Clinic advises garlic as an alternative treatment for hypertension. The “PDR for Herbal Medicines” cites a study published in a 1990 supplement to the “British Journal of Clinical Practice” entitled “Effect of Garlic on Conjunctival Vessels.” The study found that garlic significantly increased the diameter of blood vessels. Garlic also decreases hypertension by reducing cholesterol deposits on the walls of blood vessels. Dr. David Kiefer, herbalism expert for “1000 Cures for 200 Ailments,” recommends eating two raw cloves daily, or taking two 500mg capsules twice daily.

Flaxseed Oil

Dr. Kiefer also suggests taking flaxseed oil, a rich, plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids contain DHA, which lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by reducing bad LDL cholesterol without reducing good HDL cholesterol. Flaxseed oil also has an anti-inflammatory affect on the blood vessels which opens them up, reducing blood pressure directly. Flaxseed oil should be stored in the refrigerator. You can also grind up flaxseed and sprinkle it on salads or cereals.

Sesame Oil

One major cause of hypertension is the depositing of cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels. This narrows them, increasing the pressure necessary to squeeze blood through them. This is caused by LDL oxidizing into LDC, an oxycholesterol that, according to Dr. Robert Rister in “Healing Without Medication,” thickens and inflames the arterial walls. Sesamin stops the oxidation of LDL into LDC, and also breaks down LDC into a harmless unsaturated form. Dr. Rister advises taking six 500mg capsules of sesamin daily, if you can find it. Otherwise, take 3 tbsp. of sesame seed oil daily.

Hawthorn

In “Solve It With Supplements,” Dr. Robert Schulman suggests hawthorn for hypertension. Hawthorn reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. He explains that it also reduces blood pressure because it reduces anxiety. Stress is strongly correlated with increased blood pressure. Dr. Schulman recommends taking fiveg of hawthorn a day in capsule form.

About this Author

Jeffrey Rice became an ACE-accredited personal trainer in 2007, and began writing about fitness to support his business. Soon, however, he found himself writing more than training, and has since written health, fitness and supplement articles for numerous websites. He holds a M.F.A. in creative writing from Cleveland State University.