How to lower your blood pressure with African herbs and spices
African herbs and spices have been used for centuries to treat various health conditions, including high blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are among the leading causes of death worldwide. According to some studies, certain African herbs and spices may help lower blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels, reducing inflammation, and improving blood flow. Here are some examples of African herbs and spices that may have antihypertensive effects:
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner bark of trees from the Cinnamomum genus. It may help dilate and relax the blood vessels, which can lower blood pressure. You can add cinnamon to your oatmeal, pap, coffee, tea, or baked goods. Get your Cinnamon sticks from My Sasun African Market if you are in the US or Canada here
Garlic is a herb that contains allicin, a compound that may help relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. A review of 12 trials and 553 hypertensive participants confirmed that garlic supplements lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure similarly to standard anti-hypertensive medications. It was found that garlic can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, especially when taken for more than two months. Garlic may also have other benefits for heart health, such as lowering cholesterol and preventing blood clots. You can enjoy the benefits in garlic in so many ways. Here are 4:
- Raw garlic: Eating fresh, raw garlic is one among the herbal remedies for controlling high blood pressure.
- Garlic powder: Including garlic in your daily diet can lower your blood pressure.
- Salads: You can also add thin slices of garlic directly to your favourite salads.
- Garlic milk: This drink works as a medicine and is beneficial for your overall health.
Turmeric is a spice that gives curry its yellow color. It contains curcumin, a compound that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It may help lower blood pressure by preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries. You can use turmeric to spice up your rice, lentils, vegetables, or meat dishes. My Sasun African Market has a variety of original brands of turmeric. Find them here.
Hibiscus is a flower that can be brewed into a tea. It is known in Nigeria as Zobo or Sobo. It may help lower blood pressure by acting as a diuretic, which means it helps the body get rid of excess water and salt. You can drink hibiscus tea hot or cold, with or without sweeteners.
- Bitter leaf:
Bitter leaf is a herb that is native to Africa. It may help lower blood pressure by reducing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. You can eat bitter leaf as a salad, in soups and stews, or as juice. If you are in the US or Canada, you can get bitter leaf at My Sasun African Market.
- Soursop (Graviola):
Soursop is a fruit that comes from a small evergreen tree. It may help lower blood pressure by dilating and relaxing the blood vessels. Researchers discovered in a 2012 experiment on rats that graviola can lower blood pressure without affecting heart rate. The scientists explained that the herb’s ability to reduce blood pressure is related to its impact on calcium ions. You can eat soursop as a fruit, juice, or tea. However, soursop may also have some side effects, such as lowering blood sugar and causing uterine contractions, so it should be used with caution. Pregnant women especially shouldn’t eat this without medical guidance.
Baobab is a fruit that grows on a large tree native to Africa, Arabia and Australia. It may help lower blood pressure by providing potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. Baobab powder is a versatile ingredient that you can use in various ways. You can add it to your breakfast bowl, blend it with your smoothies, or bake it into your treats. You can also enjoy baobab juice or tea, which are popular beverages in some African countries. Baobab has a delicious, sour-sweet taste that goes well with many kinds of foods and drinks. Read more about its miraculous properties in relation to high blood pressure here.
Moringa is a plant that has edible leaves, pods, and seeds. It may help lower blood pressure by supplying antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and calcium. You can eat moringa as a vegetable in your soup/stew, as a herbal tea, or supplement. According to Dr. Tiago Bittencourt Espindula, There is preliminary evidence from some scientific studies showing that foods derived from the Moringa plant can help reduce blood pressure. A study also published in Phytotherapy Research found that Moringa leaf extract has a significant effect in reducing blood pressure levels in test subjects. Check here for some varieties of Moringa products if you are in US or Canada.
Aloe vera is a plant that has a gel-like substance inside its leaves. It may help lower blood pressure by enhancing blood circulation and reducing cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose. You can drink aloe vera as a juice or take it as a supplement. A study conducted recently involved 90 non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients who took either 100 mg or 200 mg of aloe vera gel powder in capsules daily, or nothing, for three months. After three and six months, the researchers checked the subjects and saw that both aloe vera groups had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures, unlike the no-treatment group. The researchers attributed this to two anti-inflammatory substances in aloe vera — aloe-emodin and aloin.
These are some of the herbs and spices that may help lower your blood pressure, but they are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. You should always consult your doctor before using any herbal remedies, especially if you have any health conditions or take any medications. Some herbs and spices may interact with your medications or cause side effects. Also, remember that lowering your blood pressure requires a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and avoiding smoking and alcohol. Herbal remedies should be used as a supplement to, not a replacement for, a healthy lifestyle and prescribed treatment plan.