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The Herbs for Healthy Blood Pressure, According to Experts

Hypertension or high blood pressure can trouble your body in several ways. However, there are certain herbs for blood pressure to lower it.

A treatment plan involving alternative medicine may be effective for some people with high blood pressure. Learn about the herbs and supplements that could be beneficial.

People around the world have known for centuries about the healing power of herbs and spices. Here’s the science behind why they are so good for you.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the power with which blood flows from your heart through your arteries. This constant blood flow helps deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout your body to keep it functioning at its prime. Medical professionals measure blood pressure to help identify how efficiently the force of blood is flowing through your body.

Blood pressure levels that are used to diagnose low, normal, and high blood pressure include:

Low Blood Pressure:

<90/60 mmHg

Normal Blood Pressure:

<120/80 mmHg

Pre-Hypertensive (at risk of high blood pressure):

120-139/80-89 mmHg

Hypertensive (considered high blood pressure):

>140/90 mmHg

The signs and symptoms of the disease are often undiagnosed, which increases the risks of further complications. Fortunately, dietary and lifestyle changes can help manage blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart diseases.”

14 of the World’s Healthiest Spices & Herbs You Should Be Eating
herbs for blood pressure

1. Black Peppercorns

May help: Reduce cancer risk

Piperine, a naturally occurring compound that gives peppercorns their kick, may reduce the risk of certain cancers, including those of the breast, lung, prostate, ovaries and digestive tract, according to a 2019 Applied Sciences review. There are several mechanisms at play, but one of the key benefits of piperine is that it can trigger apoptosis, a biochemical process that tells cells to self-destruct before they have the chance to grow out of control and form tumors.

2. Cardamom

May help: Support heart health

Cardamom is an aromatic spice commonly used in Middle Eastern, Indian and Arabic cuisines, among others. It may provide numerous health benefits due to its high levels of antioxidants. A 2020 study in Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy found that cardamom helped decrease blood pressure in patients with hypertension. While other studies have looked at cardamom’s effects on gastrointestinal discomfort, type 2 diabetes and blood glucose and more, further research is needed before recommendations can be made, according to a 2022 review in Nutrition Today.

3. Cayenne Pepper

May help: Maintain a healthy weight and improve heart health

Capsaicin is a plant chemical in the cayenne pepper that gives the pepper its kick. And it may do good things for your heart. In a review of four observational studies, chile pepper eaters had a 25% reduced risk of dying from any cause compared to those who rarely or never dined on hot peppers, per the Annals of Medicine and Surgery in 2021. (More research is needed to assess just how much or often to eat is ideal for these potential longevity benefits, according to the researchers.) Capsaicin activates certain receptors in the body that increase fat metabolism, which may help individuals maintain a healthy weight, decreasing one risk factor for heart disease. In addition, capsaicin may also aid in blood clotting, which supports heart health.

Of course, hot peppers may not be right in everyone’s diet. For example, if you have acid reflux, spicy foods in general can trigger symptoms and are best avoided, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

4. Cinnamon

May help: Reduce added sugars in your diet, control blood sugar and blood pressure

The American Heart Association recommends using sweet spices like cinnamon to add flavor instead of using sugar and other sweeteners. Most Americans eat more than the recommended limit of added sugar, which can contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some studies suggest cinnamon may help lower fasting blood glucose and measures of insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, according to a meta-analysis of 16 studies in a 2019 issue of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. It’s possible that cinnamon may improve insulin sensitivity, leading to the aforementioned benefits, note researchers.

What’s more, adding cinnamon may provide another potential strategy to lower blood pressure (with reducing salt intake being the primary dietary strategy). A 2020 Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition meta-analysis reported that consuming 2 grams of ground cinnamon daily (about 3/4 teaspoon) lowered blood pressure by an average of 7.2/2.8 mmHg, similar to effects from low-dose meds. This spice doesn’t work its magic overnight; the best results came from studies lasting at least three months. Experts aren’t sure how cinnamon controls blood pressure, but they suspect that it may open blood vessels, improving blood flow to the heart, so it doesn’t have to work as hard.

5. Cloves

May help: Reduce arthritis risk, decrease oxidative stress, support eye health

Cloves are valued as a sweet aromatic spice that provides warmth and flavor to various recipes. Used in traditional Chinese medicine for years, they have numerous potential health benefits. Cloves contain a compound called eugenol, which acts as a natural antioxidant. Eugenol has been linked to helping reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis by helping decrease oxidative stress and inflammatory responses in the body.

Cloves are also a great source of beta carotene, which is what gives them their rich, dark brown color. In the body, beta carotene is converted into vitamin A—an important nutrient for keeping our eyes healthy.

6. Coriander

Pictured recipe: Sauteed Spinach with Coriander Chutney

May help: Protect against cognitive decline, cancer and mood disorders

You’ll find these dried seeds of the cilantro plant in sausages and curries, soups and stews. The compound of note in coriander is linalool, an antioxidant that may have anti-cancer properties and may protect the brain from diseases of cognitive degeneration, such as Alzheimer’s disease, as well as mood disorders like anxiety, according to a 2018 review in Food Research International. (Further research needs to be done in humans, however.) Some research suggests that the coriander plant is a more potent antioxidant than vitamin C, the researchers say.

7. Garlic

May help: Lower high blood pressure, support immunity

With its potent bioactive compounds and other nutrients, garlic may be good for much more than warding off vampires. Treatments with garlic extracts, powders and supplements have been found to significantly lower high blood pressure. In one meta-analysis of 12 trials on more than 550 people with hypertension noted in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine in 2020, garlic supplements lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure by about 8 and 5 points, respectively, which is similar to typical results from high blood pressure medications.

And, although some experts say the evidence is iffy, several studies suggest garlic supplements may help prevent colds, per a 2020 Cochrane review.

8. Ginger

May help: Soothe nausea, fight arthritis pain, soothe migraines

Ginger is well-known for easing a queasy stomach. Studies show it can help soothe morning sickness, as well as nausea from surgery, chemotherapy and motion sickness, according to a 2018 review in Food Science & Nutrition.

Got migraines? This spice has been found to provide all-natural relief, according to a meta-analysis in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2021. Ginger contains specific pain-relieving chemicals called gingerols and shogaols that work in a similar way to over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen. In addition, ginger’s pain-relieving properties may also extend to providing menstrual and osteoarthritis pain relief, though more research is needed, notes a 2020 review in Phytotherapy Research.

9. Oregano

May help: Reduce inflammation, fight infections

These tiny but mighty leaves boast many nutrients, including vitamins K and E, calcium, iron, manganese and fiber, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Oregano is an herb commonly used in dishes such as pizza and pasta. In addition to lending flavor to food, it has been used to treat medical conditions for thousands of years. Oregano is rich in antioxidants—specifically, carvacrol and thymol. Carvacrol is the most abundant compound in oregano and has been shown to help stop the growth of several different types of bacteria, according to a 2018 review in Phytotherapy Research. Thymol is a natural antifungal component that helps support the immune system by enhancing the production of antibodies, says a 2017 Frontiers in Pharmacology review. Its potent antibacterial properties work to fight against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

What’s more, the antioxidants in oregano have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, says a study in Plants in 2018. All that’s good news for your heart—and more. Antioxidants prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, helping fend off heart disease, stroke and cancer.

10. Paprika

May help: Decrease inflammation and pain

Paprika may be best known for adding a pop of color to dishes, but it also contains capsaicin, a compound found in peppers that has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Capsaicin is well known for its pain-relieving properties. It works by affecting the neurotransmitter that communicates pain signals to the brain, resulting in decreased inflammation and pain.

Once the capsaicin is extracted from the pepper, it can be added to a range of products, such as creams and gels, for effective pain-relief treatment.

11. Peppermint

May help: Boost mood and improve focus, relieve IBS symptoms, ease nausea

Having a bad day? Brew a pot of peppermint tea. Research suggests the minty aroma may help lift mood and sharpen fuzzy thinking, notes a 2019 study in the American Journal of Plant Sciences. Some studies suggest the scent may also soothe an upset stomach, including in patients undergoing chemotherapy, according to a randomized controlled trial in Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 2021. In one small study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2020, surgical patients who sniffed peppermint post-procedure reported much less nausea compared to a control group.

While more research is needed in those areas, multiple studies show peppermint oil can ease pain from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), per a meta-analysis in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies in 2019. Experts think it works by relaxing muscles in the colon and reducing pain and inflammation.

12. Rosemary

May help: Improve brain function and mood

A member of the mint family, rosemary is prized both for its flavor and its fragrance. Studies show its woodsy scent helps improve concentration and may boost mood. In one study on nurses scheduled for shift work, inhaling rosemary oil for 5 to 10 minutes at a time over a 2-hour span was effective in boosting feelings of alertness while decreasing sleepiness, found a 2021 randomized controlled trial in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

13. Turmeric

May help: Ease inflammation, lower type 2 diabetes risk

Turmeric is a plant native to Southeast Asia and has a long history in ayurveda from India and traditional Chinese medicine, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Within turmeric is a specific anti-inflammatory compound found in the rhizome: curcumin, which gives the spice its famous bright yellow hue. Research reveals that turmeric has promise in managing certain inflammatory conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and arthritis, according to a scientific article in Nutrition Today in 2020. One issue, however, is that curcumin is not very bioavailable, meaning the body is not able to use it well. For that reason, there are no conclusions about if using the spice itself in your kitchen has measurable health benefits (such as treating health problems). That said, it’s still a worthy spice to add to your meals on its own or as part of a curry powder, not only for flavor and color, but as part of an overall anti-inflammatory diet. Though it’s not very bioavailable on its own, pairing turmeric with black pepper helps increase our body’s ability to absorb and benefit from curcumin.

14. Za’atar

Pictured recipe: Crispy Smashed Broccoli with Za’atar

A Middle Eastern spice blend, za’atar contains oregano, thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. As such, one of the wonderful things about za’atar is that there are several spices working together synergistically to support health. A 2022 review in the Journal of Functional Foods points out, the polyphenols (plant compounds) in za’atar might help improve balance of gut bacteria by inhibiting pathogenic bacteria and promoting the growth of good-for-you bacteria; it may also decrease inflammation in such a way to support the health of your liver.
The Bottom Line

You may use what seems like a small amount of spices in your cooking, but these are generally rich in antioxidants that can support your body’s defenses against infection, cancer and chronic diseases. Though more research on humans is needed (as well as larger studies), researchers say one thing is clear: these culinary spices are worth eating more of. Here’s to a more flavor-packed life!

Keep these tips handy to bring your high blood pressure down:

* Maintain optimum weight
* Avoid alcohol and smoking
* Keep yourself hydrated always
* Consume a diet rich in potassium
* Manage your stress levels
* Stay active and follow a healthy workout routine
* Reduce sodium intake
* Practice yoga regularly
* Monitor blood pressure regularly
* Consume a well-balanced diet that includes veggies, fruits, and other healthy foods

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