Everyone loves pills. Doctors love to prescribe medicine. Patients love to swallow drugs. We are a pill-taking society. But all medications come with pros and cons. That is true of blood pressure drugs as well as everything else. Even a seemingly simple diuretic like hydrochlorothiazide (HCT or HCTZ) can cause problems for some people (see this link). That’s why many people would like to lower blood pressure naturally. The good thing about this approach is that it’s easy to test. People can measure their blood pressure to see if what they are doing is working.
Hawthorn Fizzled | What Else Can Lower Blood Pressure Naturally?
This reader heard about hawthorn for hypertension. It has been used for heart conditions, including angina, because it helps dilate blood vessels. But this reader was disappointed in the results.
Q. I have high blood pressure and would like to take natural things to lower it. A friend suggested hawthorn, but it doesn’t seem to do much. Can you help?
A. There are a lot of non-drug approaches that can be useful for blood pressure control. Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) is popular in European herbal medicine for cardiovascular health (Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, Aug. 2017).
We don’t see the point in continuing with something that isn’t helping, though.
Other Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
Measuring and Managing Stress:
Have you ever been late to an important meeting? Maybe a doctor’s appointment or a wedding? There’s nothing worse than to be caught in traffic when you know you are running late. If you mess up a job assignment or have to deal with a difficult person it is also highly stressful.
Research has demonstrated that even the stress of video games can have negative consequences. Investigators measured blood pressure changes in young adults while they played really hard video games.
More than a decade later they performed CT scans of their coronary arteries. Subjects who had reacted with elevations in their blood pressure during the psychological stress experiments with video games had an increased risk of developing calcification of their coronary arteries more than 13 years later (Hypertension, March, 2006).
Blood pressure readings are usually lower on weekends than on weekdays (Physiology & Behavior, April 15, 2006). We suspect that is because work can be stressful and weekends can be relaxing.
Tracking Your Stress to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally:
How can you measure your stress level without taking your blood pressure or monitoring your heart rate? This is going to sound simplistic, but we are big fans of mood rings. During the 1970s mood rings were all the rage. The ring is supposed to reflect your emotional state.
The truth is that the liquid crystals in the ring are sensitive to body temperature. Normal skin temperature is right around 82 degrees F. That’s when the ring should be green. If you are really relaxed and having fun with friends, your skin may be warmer and the ring could turn blue.
If you are a bit stressed out, the ring may turn amber. If you are really anxious and your hands are cold and clammy, the ring could go to gray or black. Where can you find a mood ring? It’s as simple as searching mood rings on Amazon. You can get your own stress monitor for $5 to $10.
The point of the exercise is to stay away from people and situations that make your hands cold. Hang out with people that make your hands warm. You can use this simple biofeedback approach to avoid conditions that are likely to raise your blood pressure.
Pomegranate Juice to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally:
Doctors love ACE inhibitor blood pressure medications. The number one ACE inhibitor drug for treating hypertension is lisinopril. At last count 113 million prescriptions were dispensed for this drug annually. But lisinopril comes with a number of side effects. Read more about them here.
Pomegranate juice can reduce ACE activitiy by about 36 percent (Atherosclerosis, Sept. 2001). This may explain why drinking the juice regularly can help to lower blood pressure (Pharmacological Research, Jan. 2017).
In our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment you will find lots of information on other ways to lower blood pressure naturally, including deep breathing, purple grape juice and a DASH diet to maximize your intake of potassium and magnesium. These minerals are crucial for healthy blood pressure. Almonds, cashews and spinach are high in magnesium.
There are many more natural approaches to controlling hypertension. They include regular sauna baths, drinking hibiscus tea and drinking tart cherry juice. You have doubts? Well, there is science to support each of these strategies. Here is a link to learn more about the science behind these and other ways to get blood pressure down.
Perhaps the best studied and most impressive natural way to lower blood pressure is with beet juice.
What Have You Done to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally?
We love to learn from visitors about what has worked for them? Have you managed to lower your blood pressure naturally? Perhaps you lost weight or started exercising. Both have a substantial impact on blood pressure. Share your secret in the comment section below.