Q and A: Treat Hypertension and Strengthen Cartilage with Herbs

Health professionals answer readers questions about herbal treatments for hypothyroidism, hypertension and loss of cartilage.

| September/October 1997

  • Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) may aid in treatments for mild to moderate hypertension.

In every issue of Herbs for Health, professionals from a variety of health-care fields ­answer your questions about using medicinal herbs. Medical doctor Robert Rountree and herbalist Daniel Gagnon responded for this issue.  


I would like to know if there are herbs to take for hypothyroidism, hypertension, and loss of cartilage.
C. S.
Seaside, Oregon

If your hypothyroidism is caused by an iodine de­ficiency, this could be cor­rected by taking seaweeds such as kelp. Otherwise, I haven’t found any herbs that correct this problem.

For mild to moderate hypertension, you could try an extract of hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha), forskolin (Coleus forskohlii), and maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa). Raw garlic (1 to 3 cloves daily) and high doses of magnesium (500 to 1,000 mg daily) also can be helpful. However, if your blood pressure is higher than 150/100, I recommend that you receive medical supervision.

While conventional medicine holds that cartilage cannot be regenerated, several studies suggest that 1,500 mg daily of glucosamine sulfate, a naturally occurring sugarlike substance, can actually repair damaged joints. I usually prescribe it in combination with curcumin—an extract of turmeric (Curcuma longa) —which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
—Robert Rountree 

Hypothyroidism can be helped by taking two types of seaweeds; kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) and bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus). If the thyroid is underfunctioning as a result of a lack of iodine, these seaweeds will activate the thyroid gland and metabolism will increase within a couple of weeks.

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