Natural Remedies for High Blood PressureMarch 24, 2009 Written by JP [Font too small?]
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Currently blood pressure readings of 120/80 and lower are considered normal. 120-139/80-89 are referred to as “prehypertension” and 140/90 and above is classified as high blood pressure.
The incidence of hypertension is staggeringly high. It’s estimated that 1 out of every 3 adults in the US have high blood pressure. That accounts for over 70 million people. Even more disconcerting is the fact that over half of these hypertensives do not have their blood pressure under control.
In today’s blog I’m going to share some information about two little known natural remedies that may help manage blood pressure that is out of the healthful range. These natural options can be considered in addition to other safe methods to reduce hypertension, such as: losing excess weight, eating a healthful diet rich in magnesium, potassium and low in sodium, staying physically active, properly managing your blood sugar, engaging in stress management, getting adequate sleep, not smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
Over the past few decades evidence has been piling up about the health benefits of hibiscus extracts and tea. At the top of the list is its effect on lowering blood pressure. A new study published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension further strengthens that notion. This particular experiment compared the activity of hibiscus tea and black tea in a group of 60 diabetic patients with hypertension.
The design of the study called for 30 of the participants to drink hibiscus tea twice a day for a one month period. The other 30 volunteers drank black tea in the exact same manner. Blood pressure readings were taken at the beginning of the trial and at days 15 and 30. Here are some of the findings of the study:
- Those drinking the hibiscus tea began the experiment with an average systolic blood pressure of 134.4, the top number in the blood pressure reading. By the end of the study, the hibiscus group saw an average drop of almost 22 points in systolic blood pressure.
- The black tea volunteers had a modest rise in systolic blood pressure, from 118.6 to 127.3.
- The mean pulse pressure also changed for the better in those consuming the hibiscus tea, but not in the black tea users. Pulse pressure refers to the changes in blood pressure that occur when the heart contracts. High pulse pressure is considered a risk factor for heart disease.
This study is supported by other recent findings such as a 2007 study in the journal Planta Medica. In that experiment, a standardized hibiscus extract was compared to a prescription antihypertensive medication. The goal was to determine the relative efficacy of both the natural and prescriptive therapies, and look out for any differences in terms of side effects.
The results of this study were quite favorable with regard to the hibiscus. It significantly lowered blood pressure (from about 146/97 to 130/86) without causing any signs of safety concerns or intolerance among the patients using it. The authors of the study noted that the hibiscus, “exerted important antihypertensive effectiveness with a wide margin of tolerability and safety”.
Go for the Gold!
A few days ago, a presentation about hypertension and kidney disease was given at the American Chemical Society’s 237th National Meeting. A group of Canadian scientists reported that proteins found in yellow garden peas may provide a novel treatment for those suffering from high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease (CKD).
The proteins in question are referred to as “pea protein hydrolysates”. When researchers from the University of Manitoba fed these proteins to a group of rats with polycistic kidney disease, they found a 20% drop in blood pressure within the course of an 8-week trial.
In addition to lower blood pressure, the scientists also found that the pea protein allowed for the rats to better eliminate urine – which is a function that is limited in those with kidney disease. Dr. Rotimi Alunko, one of the lead authors of the study, explained the importance of this by stating, “This is significant because a majority of CKD patients actually die from cardiovascular complications that arise from the high blood pressure associated with kidney malfunction”.
Dr. Aluko suggested that this research may lead to the development of a pea extract that could be used in the human population. But it may not be necessary to wait until then. Currently there are yellow pea protein powders available at select health food stores. They’re generally marketed to those who are allergic to other more common forms of protein, such as egg, soy and whey protein (from milk).
For most health concerns, there are a multitude of natural options available. The key is finding the right remedy for your individual circumstance. This often requires some detective work and patience. In hibiscus and pea protein we now have a few more possibilities to call upon if blood pressure gets out of control.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
Tags: Hibiscus, High Blood Pressure, Kidney Health
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Heart Health