High blood pressure is a concern for nearly 1 in 2 adults in the United States. Also called hypertension, if left untreated, this condition can result in heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
Although medications such as diuretics and beta-blockers can help lower high blood pressure, they’re not the only option. Natural remedies like some herbs show promise to help manage blood pressure, and lifestyle changes including a healthy diet and regular physical activity often can help control high blood pressure.
To help you narrow down the best treatment options for you to discuss with your healthcare provider, in this article, I’ll review 10 herbs for high blood pressure as well as other ways to naturally lower blood pressure. Before trying anything, always consult your doctor, because some supplements can interfere with how certain medications work.
Your doctor will also likely want to check blood pressure readings on a regular basis to monitor if your treatment plan needs any changes.
10 Herbs and Plants That May Lower Blood Pressure
For a variety of reasons, many people prefer to try natural treatments before using medication to manage everything from a sore throat and seasonal allergies to anxiety and depression. In the case of high blood pressure, the 10 plants below are thought to provide some benefit.
However, not all of these treatments have scientific evidence that they work, so talk to your healthcare provider trying any of them, and use of supplements should never replace the medication recommended by your doctor
Buchu is a plant native to parts of South Africa. Two compounds found in buchu, isomenthone and diosphenol, are believed to have diuretic properties.
That means buchu may help your body excrete excess water and salt through urine. When this happens, blood volume and pressure on the arteries reduce. However, there are no human studies to prove that buchu can help manage hypertension.
Studies suggest that garlic supplements may help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension: on average, adults who consumed 300 milligrams (mg) of dried garlic extract reduced systolic blood pressure by about 7 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by about 5 mm Hg.
It’s important to note that garlic is best used as a complement to hypertensive medication; garlic alone does not appear to have the same benefits.
Prickly custard apple
Prickly custard apple, also known as soursop, is a tropical fruit long used in some cultures for managing hypertension and type 2 diabetes. In one recent study, people with prehypertension who took soursop supplements had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure after three months compared to people who received no treatment.
Soursop seems to reduce the activity of enzymes that help regulate blood sugar (glucose). Reducing blood sugar contributes to reduced insulin production, which can keep blood pressure levels under control.
But more research is necessary to prove how effectively prickly custard apple may help lower blood pressure, the right dose to use, and how long the benefits last
Celery is thought to help with blood pressure regulation due to a natural chemical called 3-n-butylphthalide, which has been found to lower blood pressure in animals. However, only very small human trials have tested celery juice’s effects.
Although the results of the two studies are promising, it’s not enough evidence to support using celery or its juice to treat hypertension.
Basil has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating various cardiovascular diseases and conditions like hypertension. The herb is known to be high in eugenol, a plant compound that is linked to lowered blood pressure.
Sweet basil essential oil may also have angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibiting properties, which are linked with antihypertensive benefits. But while some small, preliminary studies on basil supplements and blood pressure in humans are promising, it’s far from solid proof that the herb works.
Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Consuming high levels of ALA is associated with lower blood pressure.
That may be why studies suggest that consuming flaxseed oil or whole flaxseed may help reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Sesame seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is linked with protective factors for heart health. Research on the antihypertensive properties of sesame is still ongoing. So far, studies suggest that eating sesame seeds or sesame oil may help reduce blood pressure.
Parsley is another known diuretic. One study found that parsley extract reduced systolic, diastolic, and average blood pressure—in rats with and without hypertension. More human trials are necessary to confirm these benefits.
One study found that consuming wild thyme supplements led to significant drops in blood pressure in antihypertensive rats.
Previous animal research also suggests that thyme may be beneficial for reducing blood pressure and reducing the risk of hypertension. But these findings are yet to be studied in humans.
Ginger seems to have antihypertensive properties, with studies using ginger treatments suggesting an average 6 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure and 2 mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure for people younger than 50.
Researchers believe ginger contains components that inhibit angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE), in turn easing pressure on the blood vessels.
Other Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
Medicinal herbs aren’t the only natural treatment option to lower blood pressure. Several lifestyle changes have strong scientific evidence that they prevent and control stage 1 hypertension (systolic pressure between 130-139 mm Hg or diastolic pressure between 80-89 mm Hg).
The following treatments are more effective than herbs to manage hypertension.
Both aerobic exercise (like walking, running, and cycling) and resistance training (such as lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercise) significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the short term. That benefit becomes long-term if you make physical activity a regular part of your life.
Exercise strengthens the heart so it doesn’t have to work as hard, and therefore doesn’t exert as much pressure. It can also help with weight loss, which may reduce the risk of hypertension.
Smoking boosts blood pressure each time you light up and is linked to a higher risk for hypertension.
Quitting the habit leads to an almost immediate drop in blood pressure and, in the long term, reduces the risk of heart disease.
Doctors often recommend that hypertensive people follow the DASH diet, a flexible, balanced eating plan centered on:
- Whole grains
- Fat-free and low-fat dairy products
- Skinless poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Legumes (beans and peas)
The diet also limits saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. Studies show that the DASH diet reduces blood pressure whether or not someone has high blood pressure.
Stress and anxiety can cause spikes in blood pressure, which can be dangerous if you already have hypertension. Try to manage your stress by exercising regularly, improving your diet, and quitting smoking.
Also consider relaxation techniques like:
- Progressive relaxation
When to See a Doctor
Talk to your doctor before starting any herbal supplement or medication. Whether or not you try herbal remedies, if your blood pressure continues to fluctuate, see a healthcare provider, who can assess your health and work with you to create a treatment plan.
If your blood pressure rises above 180/120 mm Hg and you have any of the below symptoms, you may be having a hypertensive crisis.
Seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Chest and/or back pain
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness or weakness
- Change in vision
- Difficulty speaking
How K Health Can Help
K Health offers affordable and convenient access to highly qualified doctors to treat and manage high blood pressure, as long as you are not having a hypertensive crisis.
You can meet with your K Health doctor from the comfort of your own home via the K Health app, all while knowing that you’re getting individualized and expert care.
Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
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