High blood pressure, or hypertension, is also known as the "silent killer" because there are few symptoms that indicate you have it. Left untreated, hypertension can increase your risk of two of the leading causes of death -- heart disease and stroke. Prescription high blood pressure medications are among the treatments your doctor may recommend. But if you like to enjoy a cup of ginger tea now and then, it may interact with these medications. Talk to your doctor before using ginger or any other herb.
Anticoagulants and Ginger
Although often referred to as "blood thinners," anticoagulants do not actually thin blood. They're often recommended for high blood pressure because they help to decrease the blood's ability to clot. High blood pressure increases your risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. Ginger can also decrease blood clotting and may interact with anticoagulants such as warfarin, warns the University of Maryland Medical Center.
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Calcium Channel Blockers and Ginger
Calcium channel blockers treat high blood pressure by inhibiting calcium from entering heart and blood vessels. In doing so, they relax blood vessels and help to decrease heart pumping strength. Some of these medications include amlodipine, diltiazem and verapamil. According to MedlinePlus, a website of the National Institutes of Health, ginger might also lower blood pressure in a way similar to calcium blockers, so taking them together may cause your blood pressure to drop to dangerously low levels or lead to an irregular heartbeat.
If you have hypertension and are being treated with medications such as anticoagulants and calcium channel blockers, do not take ginger without your doctor's advice. Other safer complementary therapies for blood pressure that you can try include the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, or DASH diet, which is low in salt, fat and refined carbohydrates and features fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy. You should also be exercising regularly most days of the week after getting the green light to exercise from your doctor.
If you are treating high blood pressure without medications under your doctor's guidance, ask for advice about taking ginger tea. If your doctor approves of using this herb, you should use fresh, raw ginger, as it contains more nutrients than powdered ginger. Also, liquid ginger extract is high in sugar, which is one of the foods you should be limiting when you have hypertension.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.