Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood on the walls of blood vessels. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is responsible for a considerable amount of health-related problems, some of which can lead to death. In fact, the American Heart Association calls hypertension "the silent killer" because the symptoms of high blood pressure are relatively indiscernible. While spices are not be a substitute for prescription medicine or lifestyle changes in controlling hypertension, there is a long history of their moderating effect on blood pressure.
Garlic has a long history of being used as an antihypertensive medication, but is not a replacement for medical treatment or care. In China, garlic has been used for centuries for reducing blood pressure, and the Japanese government officially recognizes garlic as a blood-pressure depressor, notes Jean Carper in her book “The Food Pharmacy: Dramatic New Evidence That Food is Your Best Medicine.”
Garlic consumption may reduce systolic pressure by 20 to 30 points and diastolic by 10 to 20 points, according to author and clinical herbalist Terry Willard, CI.H, PhD, of Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. A study in the January 2013 issue of "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" reports that after using two, 240 milligram capsules of aged-garlic extract for eight weeks, patients saw a significant reduction in blood pressure.
Cinnamon is known to reduce serum cholesterol level and maintain good blood glucose levels in type II diabetics. More recently, positive effects of cinnamon on blood pressure were reported. Dr. Richard Anderson, lead research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a physiologist at Georgetown University, published a study in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" in 2006 that demonstrated for the first time that cinnamon can lower blood pressure. While cinnamon may complement medical treatments for high blood pressure, it should not replace them.
Ginger has had a significant place in traditional Chinese, Japanese and Indian medicine since the 1500s, notes MedlinePlus. Ginger is a traditional remedy for nausea and digestive upsets, but also for high blood pressure, notes Willard, who often prescribes a ginger mix for high blood pressure. Dr. Ghayur and collegues from the department of biological sciences at the Aga Khan Medical Center in Pakistan conducted a study on ginger and its effects on the cardiovascular system that was published in the Journal "Vascular Pharmacology" in 2005. Ghayur's research demonstrated that ginger may be effective when used in the treatment of hypertension and heart palpitations. Although, this research highlights ginger's potential for affecting high blood pressure, more research is needed before it can be considered a stand alone treatment; standard blood pressure treatment should still be followed.
- The Food Pharmacy: Dramatic New Evidence That Food is Your Best Medicine; Jean Carper
- Wild Rose College of Natural Healing: High Blood Pressure
- Vascular Pharmacology: Cardiovascular Effects of Ginger Aqueous Extract and its Phenolic Constituents are Mediated Through Multiple Pathways
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Whole Cinnamon and Aqueous Extracts Ameliorate Sucrose-Induced Blood Pressure Elevations in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Aged Garlic Extract Reduces Blood Pressure in Hypertensives