High blood pressure, also called hypertension, affects nearly half of all adults. It is commonly defined as having at least one of these followings:
- systolic pressure (the top number) over 130 mm Hg
- diastolic pressure (the bottom number) over 80 mm Hg
- both systolic and diastolic values above these levels
The best way to manage high blood pressure is through a combination of the right medications, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and engaging in healthy lifestyles. In fact, studies have shown that some herbs and spices may also reduce these levels. So you may want to consider adding these herbs to your diet as well. Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider for a recommendation.
This article looks at herbs and spices that may help lower blood pressure.
Also Read: Human Body: Some Interesting Facts
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a popular herb that comes in various forms. It’s popular as alternative medicine due to it’s rich and powerful compounds.
Basil is high in eugenol. Research has linked this plant-based antioxidant to many benefits that include lowered blood pressure. Studies suggest that eugenol acts as a natural calcium channel blocker. Calcium channel blockers prevent the movement of calcium into the heart and arterial cells, allowing the blood vessels to relax.
Garlic is rich in many compounds that benefit our health. In particular, garlic contains sulfur compounds, such as allicin, which may help increase blood flow and relax the blood vessels. Collectively, these factors may help lower blood pressure.
A review of 12 studies in over 550 people with high blood pressure found that taking garlic reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 8.3 mm Hg and 5.5 mm Hg, respectively. This reduction has similarities to the effects of pressure medications. An additional 24-week study in 30 people found that 600–1,500 mg of garlic extract was just as effective at lowering pressure levels as the drug Atenolol.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a popular herb used in various cuisine. It’s native to the Mediterranean and has an impressive nutritional profile. It contains a variety of compounds, like vitamin C and dietary carotenoids.
Several studies have shown that carotenoid antioxidants reduce blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.
Cardamom is a delicious spice with a slightly sweet, intense flavour. It’s packed with various antioxidants that may help lower blood pressure.
A 12-week study in 20 newly diagnosed adults with high blood pressure found that taking 3 grams of cardamom powder daily reduced their pressure significantly.
5. Celery seeds
Celery seeds (Apium graveolens) are a versatile spice that’s packed with various nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and fiber. Interestingly, some research found celery seeds may help lower high blood pressure. Researchers have suggested that compounds in celery seed extract acts as a natural calcium channel blocker.
Moreover, celery seed is a good source of dietary fiber, which has always been linked to lower pressure levels.
Ginger is incredibly versatile and a staple ingredient in our kitchen. People have used it for centuries to improve many aspects of health, including circulation, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. Both human and animal studies have shown that ginger reduces pressure in several ways.
It acts as a natural calcium channel blocker and natural ACE inhibitors. Calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors are types of blood pressure medication.
A study in more than 4000 people found that those who consumed the most ginger 2–4 grams per day had the lowest risk of developing high blood pressure.
Thyme is a flavorful herb packed with numerous healthy compounds.
Rosmarinic acid is one such compound. Research has linked it to many benefits, such as reduced inflammation and blood sugar levels, as well as increased blood flow. It may also help reduce blood pressure.
Cinnamon is an aromatic spice that comes from the inner bark of trees from the Cinnamomum genus.
A review of 9 studies including 641 participants showed that taking cinnamon reduced systolic and diastolic pressures by an average of 6.2 mm Hg and 3.9 mm Hg, respectively.
This effect was stronger when people took cinnamon consistently over 12 weeks. Cinnamon appears to help dilate and relax the blood vessels, which may help lower the pressure.
Keep in mind that many herbs and spices may interact with common blood thinner medications. And many extracts or supplements discussed above lack sufficient safety research. Due to this reason, always consult a healthcare provider about what herbs and spices you’re considering incorporating into your diet. Never discontinue a medication without consulting them first.