Herbs & Natural Remedies:
Garlic, hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), vitamin C, calcium and magnesium.
Garlic: fresh cloves. Hawthorn: standardized extract. Vitamin C, calcium and magnesium: tablets.
How it Works:
Garlic offers broad cardiovascular benefits. German researchers gave people with high blood pressure a placebo or garlic powder. After twelve weeks, the garlic group had significantly lower pressure. Hawthorn dilates the arteries, which lowers blood pressure. German researchers gave heart disease sufferers a placebo or hawthorn (600 mg per day). Eight weeks later, those taking the herb had significantly lower blood pressure. Vitamin C increases blood vessel elasticity, which reduces blood pressure. Calcium and magnesium relax the muscle tissue in blood vessels, opening them, which lowers blood pressure.
Garlic: 1 or more cloves a day, ideally fresh or lightly cooked. Hawthorn: 600 mg of extract daily. Vitamin C: 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day. Calcium: 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day. Magnesium: 500 mg per day.
Garlic has anticoagulant action. Use it cautiously if taking other anticoagulants including willow bark, ginkgo, aspirin, or vitamin E.
Quit smoking. Lose weight. Limit alcohol consumption. Use less salt or switch to NoSalt, which tastes like salt but uses potassium chloride instead of sodium choloride. Eat fewer processed foods, which tend to be high in salt. Regular, moderate exercise, a relaxation regimen and a near-vegetarian diet also help reduce blood pressure.
San Francisco health writer Michael Castleman is the author of 11 consumer health books. Visit www.mcastleman.com .
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