Treat High Blood Pressure with Garlic and Avoid Side Effects

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Written by Dr. Shalini Aul, MBBS, DND | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Jun 13, 2018
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Treat High Blood Pressure with Garlic and Avoid Side Effects

Why is Natural Management Better than Conventional Treatment for High Blood Pressure?

Why go the natural way to treat hypertension? The answer to this question is because of the potential side effects of most commonly used antihypertensive drugs. Comparatively, natural therapy for blood pressure control such as the use of garlic and other herbs can be used quite safely with almost negligible side effects. In addition, certain anti-hypertensives are ineffective by themselves and garlic can be given to improve their effectiveness, this means even if you are on an anti-hypertensive, adding garlic could help with better control and lesser dose of the drug.

One must consume 2-3 cloves of garlic everyday to get the therapeutic benefit for the treatment of hypertension. Preferably, one must take garlic in the natural or raw form so that the active component of garlic called allicin is not destroyed. Allicin can be destroyed by cooking and even by cutting in seconds. Many patients also prefer to take garlic supplements as an odor-free substitute.

It is preferable to take garlic in the natural form rather than supplements, as it gives the maximum benefit. However, garlic is beneficial in any form whether taken raw or added in food taken throughout the day. Evidently garlic sulphides are also useful in the treatment of hypertension, which is not destroyed by any cooking process.

Role of Garlic for High Blood Pressure - There have been numerous clinical trails and research based studies to establish the effect of garlic in the treatment of hypertension. These studies have not only studied the effect of garlic on blood pressure relative to placebo and other antihypertensive agents, but also garlic by itself in blood pressure management.

As a common consensus, garlic has been shown to cause a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) with a slightly lesser reduction in diastolic blood pressure (DBP), as comparable to patients given a placebo, in mild or moderate hypertension. This report is validated when there are other lifestyle changes such as weight loss, reduced salt intake, stress reduction etc; together with taking garlic as a supplement.

However, there is a requirement of more well organized studies without the methodological shortcomings, as there is still an insufficient evidence to recommend its use routinely as a therapy for the treatment of hypertensive subjects.

Nevertheless, the effect of garlic as an adjuvant (drugs used additionally to improve the efficacy of a particular medication) with other antihypertensive drugs have shown a positive difference in blood pressure management.

Mechanism of Action of Garlic:

The hypertension reducing properties of garlic is because of a biologically active substance called allicin and garlic sulphides or s-methyl-1-cysteine sulfoxide.

Evidently allicin not only relaxes the blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure and damage, but it also interferes with the function of angiotensin I which is an enzyme produced by the kidney responsible for smooth muscle contraction and blood pressure elevation.

Garlic might also be hypotensive indirectly by reducing cholesterol levels, reducing the platelet aggregation and thrombosis, because of its blood fibrinolytic (breaks down the fibrin) activity.

The antihypertensive effect of garlic is also because it activates the production of nitric oxide synthase and hydrogen sulphide, which helps relax blood vessels. This is because nitric oxide synthase causes the chronic reduction of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis by Nů-nitro-L-arginine-methyl-ester (L-NAME) responsible for the induction of arterial hypertension in rats.

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Nice post! High blood pressure and hyper tension can be effectively managed by frequent yoga practices.

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Hi. I have very low blood pressure, have been on garlic to help circulation for years but did not know until recently that it can lower blood pressure. Is that true or does it actually regulate blood pressure? Thanks. Bellla

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