Basil is a delicious herb that goes well in a variety of foods. It is originally native to Iran, India, and other tropical regions of Asia, but now it is widely available throughout the world. Basil’s has antioxidant, antimutagenic, antitumorigenic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It also helps lower your blood pressure. Extract of basil has been shown to lower blood pressure. Adding fresh basil to your diet is easy and certainly can’t hurt. Keep a small pot of the herb in your kitchen garden and add the fresh leaves to pastas, soups, salads, and casseroles.
Cinnamon is another tasty seasoning that requires little effort to include in your daily diet, and that may bring your blood pressure numbers down. Cinnamon combined with magnesium, diet and lifestyle changes may lead to overall reductions in blood pressure up to 25mm Hg. Consuming cinnamon every day has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with diabetes. Include more cinnamon in your diet by sprinkling it on your breakfast cereal, and even in your coffee. At dinner, cinnamon enhances the flavor of stir fries, curries, and stews.
Cardamom is a seasoning that comes from India and is often used in the foods of South Asia. As with many spices, cardamom has been demonstrated to have antioxidant properties. Kikuzaki, Kawai, and Nakatani (2001) examined extracts from black cardamom (Amomum subulatum) for their ability to scavenge radicals. A study investigating the health effects of cardamom found that participants given powdered cardamom daily for several months saw significant reductions in their blood pressure readings. You can include cardamom seeds or the powder in spice rubs, in soups and stews, and even in baked goods for a special flavor and a positive health benefit.
Hawthorn is an herbal remedy for high blood pressure that has been used in traditional Chinese medicines for thousands of years. Decoctions of hawthorn seem to have a whole host of benefits on cardiovascular health, including reduction of blood pressure, the prevention of clot formation, and an increase in blood circulation. You can take hawthorn as a pill, a liquid extract, or a tea.
5) CELERY SEED
Celery seed is an herb used to flavor soups, stews, casseroles, and other savory dishes. James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds, including a substance called apigenin, which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action. Celery has been long used to treat hypertension in China, and studies o have shown that it is an effective agent with cardioprotective properties. You can use the seeds to lower blood pressure, but you can also juice the whole plant. Celery is a diuretic, which may help explain its effect on blood pressure.
Danshen is actually not technically and herb or plant but a dried root of Salvia miltiorrhiza, and has been widely used in China and, to a lesser extent, in Japan, the United States, and other European countries for the treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Danshen has been used for millennia in Chinese Medicine for circulation problems, stroke, chest pain, and other diseases of the heart and blood vessels. It is also used for menstrual disorders, chronic liver disease, and trouble sleeping caused by complaints such as rapid heartbeat and tight chest.
7) FRENCH LAVENDER
The beautiful, perfume-like scent of lavender is not the only benefit of the plant. Oil of lavender has long been used as a perfume ingredient and also to induce relaxation. The herb may also lower your blood pressure. Although not many people think to use lavender as a culinary herb, you can use the flowers in baked goods and the leaves can be used in the same way you would use rosemary.
Hibiscus tea (from the plant Hibiscus sabdariffa) and supplements have been found to lower blood pressure in human studies. A systematic review of four randomized controlled trials found that in two studies testing the effects of hibiscus tea to black tea, hibiscus tea was associated with reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Two studies comparing hibiscus extract to angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (captopril or lisinopril) also showed reductions for hibiscus tea groups, but the effects were generally less than those of the ACE-inhibitor groups.
9) CAT'S CLAW
Cat’s claw is an herbal medicine used in traditional Chinese practice to treat hypertension as well as neurological health problems. Studies of cat’s claw as a treatment for hypertension indicate that it may be helpful in reducing blood pressure by acting on calcium channels in your cells. It also contains an anti-inflammatory agent that blocks the production of the hormone prostaglandin, which contributes to inflammation and pain. You can find cat’s claw in supplement form from many health food stores, but it is also widely available as a tea.
John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.