The Connections Between Herbs And Lowering High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition in the US. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 47% of US adults are currently diagnosed with high blood pressure, with only 24% having the condition under control.¹

When it comes to such an important part of your body's function, like carrying blood from your heart to other organs in your body, this can be a shocking revelation. This is particularly true since the condition played a primary or contributing role in the deaths of 41,907 people in 2020 alone despite uncontrolled high blood pressure being preventable.²

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Can taking herbs help treat or manage high blood pressure?

Relying on herbs alone to treat or manage your high blood pressure is not recommended. While research has supported the added benefit of herbs and spices to lowering your high blood pressure, they must not be viewed as a primary treatment. Still, they are a natural and healthy addition to your diet that may help your blood pressure come down to the American Heart Association recommended level.³

Just because herbs are natural does not mean they're entirely safe for you to take. It’s always best to discuss your options with your physician first, as some herbs may interfere with some blood pressure medications.

Herbs that can disrupt some blood pressure medications include the following:

  • Coenzyme Q10 can reduce the effects of warfarin (Jantoven)⁴

  • Danshen can increase bleeding if you take an anticoagulant (ex: aspirin), increase the risk of low blood pressure when combined with calcium channel blockers, and potentially cause irregular heartbeats when consumed while taking digoxin (Lanoxin).⁵

  • Evening primrose has been linked to bleeding when taking aspirin, warfarin, and clopidogrel.⁶

  • Licorice has also been linked to negative interactions with digoxin and warfarin.⁷ Notice that some red licorice-like strawberries and cherries do not often contain licorice extract — confirm ingredients before eating.

These herbs are by no means the only herbs known for interacting with high blood pressure medication. Never increase your intake of any herb in your diet without discussing the potential effects it may have on your high blood pressure medications and any other treatments you may be currently participating in. 

What herbs work best for high blood pressure?

Research has linked the following herbs to lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Make sure only to consume these herbs once your doctor has approved their use and after discussing the pros and cons with you.

As mentioned before, these herbs should not be a primary source of treatment. As Luke Laffin, MD, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic said, "plants offer vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to help you maintain good health, but it's a mistake to think you can eat only those substances as supplements and really get the same benefits."⁸ Instead, it's a combination of proven solutions discussed and created with your doctor. 

Garlic

Although it is most commonly known for being highly nutritious and low in calories, it can also act as an additional supplement in your diet to contribute to lower blood pressure. According to a 2020 review that analyzed 12 trials (553 participants with a hypertensive condition), taking garlic supplements can lower both your systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The study documented an average of 8.3±1.9mmHg reduced in systolic blood pressure and 5.5±1.9mmHg in diastolic blood pressure. If you're struggling with high blood pressure, discussing the potential benefits of adding more garlic to your diet with your physician may be beneficial. 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is another delicious addition to your diet that can make a difference when managing high blood pressure. According to the Journal of Hypertension, cinnamon was linked to substantial weight loss (which reduces the risks of obesity on hypertension) and lowers high blood pressure among the 200 male participants.¹⁰

An additional 12-week study on 52 participants with Type-2 diabetes found that 1,200 milligrams of cinnamon reduced systolic blood pressure by 3.4mmHg on average and diastolic blood pressure by 2.6 mmHg on average. Before increasing your intake of cinnamon, consult your doctor.¹¹

Parsley

Parsley is a common herb found in dishes today, from pasta and roasted vegetables to soups and salads. It often pairs well with garlic, too.

Like garlic, parsley has also been linked to lower blood pressure. While there haven't been as many notable human studies on parsley, an animal study found a connection between parsley and systolic and diastolic blood pressure reduction.¹²

Additional research connected parsley compounds like dietary carotenoids and vitamin C as a contributing factor to lower blood pressure in humans.¹³ As always, discuss parsley intake with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet. 

Basil

Aside from adding incredible flavor to chicken dishes, pasta, and pizza, basil is also nutrient-rich in essential compounds such as eugenol.¹⁴ According to one review, basil reduced systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure at a median dose of 30mg/kg.¹⁵ The effects were temporary, lasting two minutes before returning to normal. This can be due to basil's high content of eugenol.

With that being said, another study directly examined the connection between eugenol and blood pressure.¹⁶ The research found that the eugenol dilated constricted arteries, reducing systolic blood pressure. Discuss the potential use of this ingredient/compound in your diet with your physician. 

Thyme

From potatoes to meat, thyme is another important herb that makes its way into most American meals. Though not as flavorful as some other herbs, thyme is important for normalizing arterial blood pressure.¹⁷

According to another study, herbs like thyme can also provide cardiovascular help.¹⁸ This study notes that increasing the seasoning of your meals with thyme — as well as cumin, dill, rosemary, oregano, sage, coriander, caraway, basil, and cilantro — can make a substantial difference for individuals struggling with impaired blood flow, blood clots, hyperlipidemia, and more. 

Celery seeds

Although you don't hear about celery seeds as much as other herbs that improve your health, the plant is known to have many vitamins and minerals associated with a healthy, nutrient diet. It has also been linked to healthier blood pressure levels. In 2013, animal and human studies revealed that celery extract and seeds were shown to have lower blood pressure among participants.¹⁹ ²⁰

In the animal-model study, heart rate was increased, and blood pressure was decreased among hypertensive rats when consuming celery seeds while their counterparts saw no effects. The human trial reported notable improvements among individuals with mild-moderate blood pressure elevations.

Ginger

Ginger has been a tasty flavoring agent long before we have recorded it and a medicinal root for at least 5000 years for the Indians and Chinese.²¹ In the years to come, it would make its way into the mainstream of most cultures as an ingredient in meals and as prescribed medicine. Heart health, in particular, has been known to improve with higher intakes of ginger in your diet.

A review linked ginger with lower blood pressure and healthier circulation and cholesterol levels.²² This is significant for individuals concerned about their cardiovascular health. Another study found that ginger acts as a natural ACE inhibitor and calcium channel blocker, two of the many ways the herb is known to impact healthier blood pressure.²³

What is the most effective natural remedy for high blood pressure?

Aside from incorporating some tasty herbs and spices into your meals more often, there are at least two more natural remedies to consider when managing your high blood pressure. The sweet mix of the appropriate blood pressure medications, herbs and spices in your diet, and lifestyle changes such as the following can make a difference in lowering your blood pressure to a healthy level. 

Diet

Diet is one of the first treatment options your doctor will recommend if you are overweight or obese or at risk of being overweight or obese. A healthier diet will help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight while supplying your body with all the nutrients it needs.

According to a study that explored the increasing relevance of obesity in hypertension cases, researchers concluded that at least two-thirds of the risk of developing hypertension is directly linked to obesity.²⁴

Exercise

Exercise is another helpful method for keeping your blood pressure down. While aerobic exercise is often associated with the treatment of hypertension, strength training is also an effective type of exercise to help manage blood pressure.²⁵ Still, combining aerobic and resistance exercises seems to be a great choice.

Another academic journal advises that individuals with hypertension perform exercises that strengthen their muscles two days a week.²⁶ In addition, patients are recommended to do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise a week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. The report emphasizes that the most important message to get from the study is to "sit less, walk more, and exercise."

Always consult your doctor before committing to a routine to ensure it's both safe and beneficial for your goals. Your doctor may adjust the type of exercise, frequency per week, and length of workouts.  

How can I lower my blood pressure fast and naturally?

It's important to remember that there are cases where a 'quick and easy' natural solution to lower blood pressure is not the only treatment you should be relying on. Depending on age, conditions, and other factors, every individual differs by blood pressure average, so it's always better to discuss potential solutions with your physician before committing to any treatment.

Contact your doctor immediately if you are concerned about your blood pressure or suspect they're at dangerous levels. However, if you have already met with your doctor and discussed safe measures moving forward, you may want to consider exercising most days of the week, reducing sodium intake, and relaxing like meditating or reading a book. This approach will naturally lower your blood pressure in a safe length of time.

IMPORTANT: Lowering your blood pressure too quickly can be dangerous for your health. The 'quickest' solutions, such as exercising, relaxing, and developing healthier diet routines, may not produce immediate results but will yield positive results in a safe length of time. 

The lowdown

Overall, herbs offer an additional boost to your health, particularly as a blood pressure-lowering agent. However, you should never stop taking blood pressure medications or increasing herb intakes to treat your high blood pressure without consulting your doctor.

Although more studies need to be conducted, especially in humans, there are research-backed herbs linked to lowering blood pressure, such as:

  • Garlic

  • Cinnamon

  • Parsley

  • Basil

  • Thyme 

  • Celery seeds

There are also herbs known for interacting with common blood pressure medications, often lowering the positive effects the medication can have on your treatment:

  • Coenzyme Q10

  • Danshen

  • Evening primrose

  • Licorice

While this guide can be a great source for lowering your high blood pressure, your doctor will ultimately know what's best for you. Every person is unique in age, circumstance, and conditions when it comes to what works and what doesn't. Speaking with a medical professional will ensure you get the best treatment possible for you specifically.

  1. Facts about hypertension | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  2. FastStats - hypertension | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  3. Recent guidelines for hypertension: A clarion call for blood pressure control in India (2019)

  4. [Interaction between warfarin and coenzyme Q10] (1998)

  5. Danshen: Health benefits, side effects, uses, dose & precautions | RxList

  6. Evening primrose: Health benefits, side effects, uses, dose & precautions | RxList

  7. Licorice: Generic, uses, side effects, dosages, interactions, warnings | RxList

  8. Celery may help bring your high blood pressure down | Cleveland Clinic

  9. Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, improves arterial stiffness and gut microbiota: A review and meta-analysis (2020)

  10. Efficacy of cinnamon consumption for reducing blood pressure in adult hypertensive males (2021)

  11. Cinnamon effects on metabolic syndrome: a review based on its mechanisms (2016)

  12. Antihypertensive activity of petroselinum crispum through inhibition of vascular calcium channels in rats (2019)

  13. Carotenoids: Potential allies of cardiovascular health? (2015)

  14. Basil: Uses, benefits and nutrition | Medical News Today

  15. Role of natural herbs in the treatment of hypertension (2011)

  16. Eugenol dilates rat cerebral arteries by inhibiting smooth muscle cell voltage-dependent calcium channels (2015)

  17. Thyme extract improves blood pressure and oxidative stress in spontaneously hypertensive rats: PP.29.156 (2010)

  18. Health-promoting properties of common herbs (1999)

  19. Antihypertensive effect of celery seed on rat blood pressure in chronic administration (2013)

  20. A pilot study to evaluate the antihypertensive effect of a celery extract in mild to moderate hypertensive patients (2013)

  21. The amazing and mighty ginger | NCBI Bookshelf

  22. Ginger on human health: A comprehensive systematic review of 109 randomized controlled trials (2020)

  23. Does ginger supplementation lower blood pressure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials (2019)

  24. Obesity and hypertension—the issue is more complex than we thought (2006)

  25. Exercise training for blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis (2013)

  26. Physical exercise for individuals with hypertension: It is time to emphasize its benefits on the brain and cognition (2019)

Have you considered clinical trials for High blood pressure?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for High blood pressure, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Joining community groups and exercise programs for my condition made me feel empowered – but I want to be part of finding a cure.
Peter, 64

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