High blood pressure is a very common condition that is usually treated with one or more medications. For the most part, people don’t have a lot of trouble with diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) or chlorthalidone. However, all drugs have the potential to cause side effects. Diuretics may lead to a loss of electrolytes along with the fluid, possibly causing muscle cramps or even more serious problems. One reader reported success with dandelion extract.
Dandelion Extract to Control Blood Pressure:
Q. I took myself off HCTZ years ago because I had muscle cramps that literally dropped me to the floor screaming. I switched to dandelion root extract to control my blood pressure. Now it’s fine and I have no more cramps. My PA knows about this and she’s ok with my choice.
A. Diuretics such as HCTZ can deplete the body of essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium and zinc. This may explain why you suffered terrible muscle cramps.
There is a paucity of data on dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) to control blood pressure. One study in rats demonstrated that dandelion leaf extract is effective for lowering blood pressure under experimental conditions (Antioxidants, Aug. 2019). Unfortunately, however, we could find no clinical studies of this herbal product.
Another Reader Likes Dandelion Extract:
Q. I discovered after eating dandelion greens that they act as a mild diuretic. A web search confirmed my experience and suggested that they provide many vitamins and minerals. I am wondering if their diuretic properties would help to lower blood pressure. Is there any information to confirm this hypothesis? Also, would dandelion supplements work as well as freshly cooked dandelion greens?
A. Americans might think it is strange to eat dandelion greens. Europeans appreciate them as nutritious greens. They have long attributed dandelion roots or leaves with mild diuretic action. A small study in 2009 suggested that there is some basis for this belief (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, August).
Other Ways to Manage Hypertension:
People with elevated blood pressure could utilize other non-drug options as well as dandelion extract. We discuss a number of them in our eGuide to Blood Pressure Solutions. In this online resource, you can learn about weight control, exercise and stress management as effective approaches to hypertension. A DASH diet has been carefully studied, and scientific data also support beet, pomegranate or Concord grape juice to help reduce blood pressure.
You might also wish to listen to our interviews with hypertension experts. It is Show 1134: Can You Control Your Blood Pressure Without Drugs?