Know your numbers

Today, Monday 12th September, marks the start of know your numbers week.This is the  nations biggest blood pressure testing event run by Blood Pressure UK, during the week 12-18th September.  This event raises awareness in UK adults about the need to know their blood pressure numbers.

As the National Institute of Medical Herbalists explain :-
Having high blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for premature death as it can contribute to diseases such as heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and chronic kidney disease. So keeping your blood pressure under control is one of the most important things you can do to extend your lifespan.  Yet over 5 million adults in the UK are unaware that their blood pressure is too high.1

While some people with high blood pressure may require pharmaceutical intervention, herbal medicine can also help to prevent or control high blood pressure.2,3   
 
When putting together an individual formula for their patient a medical herbalist may include some of the following herbs commonly used to treat high blood pressure:

A number of herbs are scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure and a herbalist may well include some of these in a bespoke formulation for a patient.

 Garlic (Allium sativum) is probably the most widely studied herb and has wide ranging health benefits.  Studies show that garlic supplements can modestly but significantly reduce blood pressure in people with existing high blood pressure.4,5

 

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) has been used in the treatment of heart disease for hundreds of years.  Current research methods show that hawthorn can be used effectively in the treatment of heart disease and high blood pressure.6

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is commonly found in herb tea blends, where its anthocyanins impart a deep blue-red colour.  However, the benefits of hibiscus go far beyond the aesthetic.  A recent meta-analysis showed that hibiscus tea has a significant effect on lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.7

Olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract is high in phenolic compounds that reduce LDL cholesterol oxidation and protect against atherosclerosis.  Olive leaf extract was as effective as a pharmaceutical medication in reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.8

Lifestyle choices are also important in the control of hypertension - a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, regular exercise, minimising stress and reducing the intake of cafeine, alcohol and tobacco can all help to manage hypertension.

If you would like herbal support in managing your hypertension why not contact your nearest herbalist. Your nearest NIMH herbalist can be found here

References

  1. Public Health England Press Release. (2014)  New figures show high blood pressure costs NHS billions each year
  2. Al Disi SS, Anwar MA and Eid AH (2016) Anti-hypertensive Herbs and their Mechanisms of Action: Part I. Front. Pharmacol. 6:323. 
  3. Anwar MA, Al Disi SS and Eid AH (2016) Anti-Hypertensive Herbs and Their Mechanisms of Action: Part II. Front. Pharmacol. 7:50. 
  4. Ried, Karin et al.  Effect of Garlic on Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 8 (2008): 13.
  5. Ried K, Travica N, Sali A. The effect of aged garlic extract on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in uncontrolled hypertensives: the AGE at Heart trial. Integrated Blood Pressure Control. 2016;9:9-21. 
  6. Rastogi S, Pandey MM, Rabat AK.  Traditional herbs: a remedy for cardiovascular disorders
  7. Phytomedicine 2016 Oct 15;23(11):1082-9.  ?
  8. Serban C, Sahebkar A, Ursoniu S, Andrica F, Banach M.  Effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) on arterial hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.  J. Hypertens. 2015 Jun;33(6):1119-27.
  9. Susalit E, Agnus N, Tjandrawinata RR, Nofiamy D, Perrinjaquet-Mocetti T, Verbruggen M.  Olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract effective in patients with stage-1 hypertension: comparison with Captopril.  Phytomedicine 2011 Feb 15;18(4):251-8.