Saw Palmetto & Blood Pressure

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Saw palmetto plants growing in the wild. (Image: Wirepec/iStock/Getty Images)

High blood pressure is best described as an abnormal level of force being placed on your arterial walls. This can increase your risk of heart failure, heart attack and stroke, which makes treatment essential to your long-term health. While medications are available to lower your blood pressure, some people wonder if certain herbs, like saw palmetto, can improve their condition.

Saw Palmetto

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine fails to list blood pressure as a potential use for saw palmetto. Other than to relieve symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), no scientific evidence exists to support the use of saw palmetto for any alternative purposes, including the treatment of hypertension. This herb doesn't appear to have any positive or negative effect on blood pressure.

Blood Pressure

The reason that some people may believe saw palmetto influences blood pressure is its anticoagulant effect in the body. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, saw palmetto has been known to inhibit the blood's ability to clot. This shouldn't have any bearing on your blood pressure. However, the herb could adversely interact with blood thinners, such as warfarin, clopidogrel and even aspirin.

Dosage

The recommended dosage of saw palmetto is 320 mg a day. The supplement is taken in either a single dose or two 160 mg doses. But this amount is for the treatment of BPH, especially in early stages of the condition. This amount could affect coagulation of your blood, increasing your risk of bruising or bleeding, advises the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Side Effects

Though saw palmetto is considered safe when taken in recommended dosages, this herb has been known to cause some side effects. People have reported experiencing minor stomach discomfort while taking this herbal supplement, explains the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. For others, it may cause periodic headaches.

Treatment

When you're trying to find natural methods of lowering blood pressure, turn to lifestyle changes. Reducing sodium intake, losing weight, following a healthy diet and increasing your level of physical activity can all positively affect your blood pressure, according to MayoClinic.com. Always talk to your doctor concerning your treatment for high blood pressure. He may consider your blood pressure high enough to require medications to reduce it to a healthy range.

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