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7 medicinal herbs and spices that help lower blood pressure

Thursday, April 26, 2012 by: Aurora Geib
Tags: medicinal herbs, spices, blood pressure

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(NaturalNews) High blood pressure is an epidemic that is currently sweeping across America. The fast lifestyle of fast food, soda and stress is starting to catch up on the average American, so much so that an estimated one in every three Americans has high blood pressure. This puts them at risk of heart disease, stroke and even kidney disease. Moreover, this condition is costing the country 93.5 billion dollars in health care services.

Putting too much faith in the medical establishment to find a cure for your high blood pressure may no longer be advisable in the least. The number of prescription drugs on the market and the cascade of variations suggest that a cure for blood pressure is not in the offing anytime soon.

Despite all the consequences associated with high blood pressure, it is still a condition that is preventable and easily managed. Observing a healthy balanced diet and enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle can help avoid the risk of high blood pressure as well as reduce one that is already elevated.

High blood pressure - A package of woe

There is no one identifiable cause for high blood pressure. A combination of factors like stress, alcohol, smoking, weight and lack of physical activity seem to have to come together to produce this problem, which is further compounded by family history and age.

Although it is a condition that if left unattended could gravitate to something worse, high blood pressure is not a disease. Taking proactive measures in preventing heart diseases, stroke and even kidney disease by managing your blood pressure may be the best decision you can make today.

While the idea of drug-free high blood pressure management through the use of herbs and spices has slowly been gaining ground, it is still treated with skepticism by the medical establishment. The reliance on prescription drugs, however, has not in any way shown that high blood pressure could be cured through this manner. There are still reports by patients who are currently using drugs to manage their high blood pressure that their condition has not shown any improvement, nor their quality of life. Instead, they have to deal with side effects and drugs that are expensive to maintain.

Spice up your life

In a published study featured in the Journal of Medicine, it was revealed that common spices can protect from heart disease and the deterioration brought about by aging. In the said study, researchers discovered a connection between the phenol content of certain herbs and spices and their capacity to prevent glycation and formation of AGE compounds that are responsible for premature aging and heart disease.

As a way to manage your blood pressure, herbs and spices are a fantastic way to increase the medicinal value of your food. Below are some herbs and spices you may have been enjoying with no idea as to their value:

1. Garlic - Garlic contains allicin, a substance which has antibacterial, antioxidant, lipid lowering and anti-hypertension properties. In a pilot study made at Clinical Research Center of New Orleans on whether garlic could lower blood pressure, nine patients with severe hypertension were given a garlic preparation containing 1.3 % allicin. Sitting blood pressure fell with a significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure only five to 14 hours after the dose. Moreover, it was proven in a 2009 study that fresh garlic has more potent cardio-protective properties than processed garlic.

2. Cinnamon - Cinnamon not only prevents heart disease, it can also prevent diabetes. The Center for Applied Health Sciences in Ohio conducted a study of 22 subjects, half of which were given a 250mg of water soluble cinnamon daily while the other half were given placebo. It was discovered that those who drank cinnamon had a 13 to 23 percent increase in antioxidants connected with lowering blood sugar levels.

3. Onions - Onions contain quercetin, an antioxidant flavonol found to prevent heart disease and stroke. In a research study published in the Journal of Nutrition, subjects with hypertension experienced a decrease in their blood pressure by 7mmHg systolic and 5 mmHg diastolic as opposed to those who were taking placebo.

4. Olives - This herb is a significant part of the Mediterranean diet, recognized to be one of the healthiest in the world. Oil made from olives has been found to reduce blood pressure. In a study conducted on the importance of olive oil, Dr. L. Aldo Ferrara, Associate Professor at the Frederico II University of Naples in Italy discovered that the daily use of 40 grams of olive oil reduced the dosage of blood pressure medication in hypertensive patients by about 50 percent. Polyphenols in extra-virgin olive oil was credited for the significant reduction of blood pressure.

5. Oregano - This herb contains the compound carvacrol which has been proven to be effective against blood pressure. In a study conducted on animal subjects, by researchers from Eskisehir Osmangazi University in Turkey, carvacrol was found to reduce heart rate, mean arterial pressure as well as the systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

6. Hawthorn - This herb has been traditionally used to treat high blood pressure. In one study conducted in Reading, UK, 79 type-2 diabetic patients were randomized to receive 1200 mg of hawthorn extract while another group received medication for high blood pressure. Results revealed that patients taking hawthorn by the end of the 16th week showed a reduction in their mean diastolic pressure.

7. Cardamom- In one study published in the Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 20 subjects newly diagnosed with primary hypertension were administered 3 g of cardamom powder. After the end of the 3 months, all the subjects experienced feelings of well-being without any side effects. Moreover, the study was able to demonstrate that blood pressure was effectively reduced. It also improved antioxidant status while breaking down blood clots without significantly altering blood lipids and fibrinogen levels.

Taking advantage of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of spices and herbs is an excellent way to boost your body's health. Herbs have low calorie content, increase the medicinal value of your food and allow you to use natural forms of lowering blood pressure. Mix them up with your soups, salads, fish and meat and vegetable dishes. It's a healthier and cheaper alternative to keeping bottles of prescription drugs and synthetic supplements.

Sources for this article:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/
http://www.naturalnews.com/033656_blood_pressure_treatments.html
http://orlandobchealth.com/the-blood-pressure-hoax/
http://www.allicinfacts.com/allicin01.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8361870
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19722587
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20361714

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