If you are suffering from high blood pressure, or other circulatory problems, you are probably looking for solutions that can help you to live a longer and healthier life. Some evidence suggests that various plants and herbs can have a positive impact on your blood pressure.
You may want to consider adding some of these heart-healthy herbs to your garden. You will get the stress relief from working in the garden as well as the potential herbal benefits of the plants you grow.
Using Herbs as Medicine
Herbs have been used to treat medical conditions since ancient times. They are an integral part of naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine and a host of other alternative treatments. When using herbs to lower your blood pressure, it is important to remember that herbs can be powerful and are not always safe. It is important to know both the benefits and the potential risks of any natural remedies that you are considering using. Always talk with your health care provider before using any herbal remedies or supplements.
Herbs that May Help Lower Blood Pressure
- Hawthorn – Some people believe that hawthorn can be beneficial in reducing blood pressure since it may limit the amount of cholesterol that is deposited in the arteries. This opens up the arteries and makes it easier for blood to pass, thus lowering blood pressure. Hawthorn may also pose other heart-healthy benefits. It may increase the force that the heart uses to contract, leading to vasodilation, which in turn results in wider blood vessels.
- Garlic – Researchers believe that garlic may lower blood pressure for 2-3 hours after it is consumed. It also has anti-clotting compounds that may lower the risk of clot formations. Garlic is very flavorful which means that you can use extra garlic as you prepare meals and reduce the amount of salt that you use while still retaining flavor. Reducing salt can have a beneficial effect on hypertension for those who are “salt-sensitive” — typically 65% – 80% of African Americans and 10% – 15% of Caucasians.
- Turmeric – Turmeric is a yellow herb that is commonly used in Indian cooking. Its extract appears to have anti-inflammatory properties. It may also lower cholesterol and reduce the formation of clots in the arteries. Turmeric has high antioxidant levels that may improve blood flow and circulation while strengthening the blood vessels.
- Ginger – Ginger is believed to reduce platelet clotting in the blood. This may reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke. It also may improve circulation and help blood to move more easily throughout the body. Many believe that ginger can relax the muscle surrounding blood vessels which can lead to lower blood pressure.
- Ginkgo Biloba – Ginkgo biloba is an extract taken from tall trees that grow naturally in the Chinese mountains. It has an antiplatelet effect that may improve circulation and it may also help improve stress tolerance. Many believe that this supplement promotes mental alertness. This may be due to the increased blood circulation to the brain.
- Passionflower – Passionflower is often used in herbal medicine for relaxation. It is also used as a natural sleep aid. It may be able to relax and calm the body. It is believed that these relaxing properties may lead to a reduction of stress and in turn lower blood pressure. It may also relax the blood vessels in the body which can allow blood to pass through them more easily.
- Hibiscus – Hibiscus tea was found to be as effective at lowering blood pressure as Captropril medication in one study. Over half of reviewed studies showed that daily consumption of hibiscus tea or extracts had a favorable influence on lipid profiles including reduced total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides as well as increased HDL-C.
These herbs may provide positive benefits to your heart and circulatory system by lowering your blood pressure. Be sure to consult with your health provider to choose an herbal treatment plan that is best for you.
Hawthorn CC flickr photo courtesy of net_efekt.