As I reported yesterday, a recent study found that cannabis use more than triples the risk of dying from hypertension.
But there’s some good news about other natural herbs…
Many actually lower your blood pressure and support overall heart health. In fact, some of these herbs have been used medicinally for centuries, including:
First on the list for heart health is hawthorn (without the e). The Salem, MA author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, in the 1850s added the “e” to his name, to distinguish himself from his ancestor, Judge Hawthorn, who presided over the Salem witch trials in the 1690s. You can still see his house in the square in downtown Salem, MA, across from the statue of Elizabeth Montgomery as “Samantha” from Bewitched.
Hawthorn is a potent herb for heart function. It works by increasing the amount of blood pumped by the left ventricle of the heart in one contraction. (Hawthorn works similarly to another original herbal remedy, digitalis, from the foxglove plant, also known as Purpurea digitalis.)
As a result, it helps the body regulate blood pressure. If blood pressure is too high, hawthorn will lower it. On the other hand, if blood pressure drops abnormally, hawthorn will help keep it up.
This herb also works by increasing the amount of blood pumped by the left ventricle of the heart in one contraction. And it relaxes arterial walls, which lowers blood pressure. It also boosts metabolism by elevating cyclic-adenosine-monophosphate, or cAMP, which promotes the mobilization of glucose and fatty acid reserves.
Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley is a botanical that acts like hawthorn and coleus. It’s typically recommended to treat valvular heart disease and prevent heart failure. It also treats irregular heartbeat and helps the heart function more efficiently.
This herb is referenced in historical traditions, biblical stories, poetry, and mythology, and carries many symbolic meanings. It also goes by several different names including May lily, May bells, and Our Lady’s tears.
Its scientific name is Convallaria majalis. Convallaria derives from the Latin word covallis, meaning “valley.” It is a nod to its tendency to thrive in wooded, shady valleys. Majalis translates to “of May” as a reference to the month in which it blooms. However, despite its name, it’s not a true lily.
Olive leaves are a traditional folk remedy from what today is Tunisia. The Phoenicians settled this area of the Mediterranean during the first millennium B.C., with its center at Carthage. It came into conflict with ancient Rome in a series of three military campaigns, known as the Punic Wars.
Rome finally conquered Carthage when Julius Caesar defeated Hannibal (son of Hamilcar, who had taken Sicily from the Romans for a time). While destroying Carthage (following the advice of Roman Senator Cato the Elder, Carthago delenda est), Rome also adopted much, including medicinal use of the leaves of the ubiquitous olive tree.
In one study, taking olive leaves led to a progressive decline in blood pressure, totaling 18 mmHg for systolic pressure and 10 mmHg for diastolic. Of course, olive oil is good for heart health as well.
A member of the genus Hibiscus in the large Rosacea family of plants, roselle has been used traditionally as a medicinal herb for high blood pressure. It works as a diuretic, drawing sodium and fluids out of the body, thus reducing blood volume and pressure on arterial walls. It also has an effect on angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), a key component of the renin-angiotensin system, which regulates blood pressure and fluid balance.
Of course, garlic is a well-studied food, spice, and medicine. It’s been used for centuries to lower blood pressure. And it’s also a blood thinner.
But cooked garlic, odorless supplements, and aged supplements don’t contain sufficient potency for medicinal purposes.
Basically, if you can’t smell the typical strong garlic odor, it’s not potent as a medicinal remedy. So — always use fresh, raw garlic. One to four cloves of fresh, raw garlic provide a dose that will have a medicinal effect to lower blood pressure and help improve heart health.
Many other herbs help manage blood pressure and heart health, including angelica (used in gin), ashwaganda (winter cherry), bilberry, barberry, borage, dandelion, ginseng, juniper (also in gin), mistletoe, parsley, and yarrow. They’re also known and used for a host of other medicinal benefits.
More to consider
As you can see, there’s a long list of herbs that benefit blood pressure and heart health. But, wouldn’t you know it — the only herb the politically correct politicians seem to promote is the one that actually raises blood pressure.
For high blood pressure, herbs are typically taken at relatively low doses. And they should be monitored for drug interactions and taken under the supervision of a professional health practitioner, which brings me to my next point…
I always recommend working with a trusted physician to keep your blood pressure under control since it’s unquestionably a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and vascular disease. He or she may even recommend a drug treatment.
Fortunately, there are several time-tested, relatively safe and effective generic prescription drugs to manage your blood pressure. Indeed, one of the earliest prescription drugs for high blood pressure, reserpine, derived from an ancient Ayurvedic herbal remedy of India, Rauwulfia serpentina.
You can also use mind-body techniques to reduce stress and lower blood pressure by up to 10 points. To find the mind-body approaches that work best for your personality type, take the quiz at www.DrMicozzi.com and read my book with Mike Jawer, Your Emotional Type.
You can also learn all about the natural, heart-healing pathway to low blood pressure, a stroke-free brain, and… never taking a dangerous heart med again in my new Heart Attack Prevention & Repair Protocol. We’re putting the finishing touches on it now and will let you know as soon as it’s ready. Stay tuned!