Garden season is officially here. Have you given any thought as to what you will be growing and the impact it could have on your health?
Gardening is not only great for the soul, but you might be surprised to learn it can have an impact on lowering your blood pressure, too. High blood pressure affects 60 million people in the United States and is considered a health epidemic that is highly preventable. When you spend time in the garden, you get to relax in nature—and take a much needed break from the hustle and bustle. You can reduce your stress and as a result, your high blood pressure!
Certain herbs can help you to lower your blood pressure in a natural and delicious way. Here’s a short list that you can take with you when you go shopping for your garden plants and seeds.
Hawthorn trees commonly grow in many parts of the U.S., which is good news for those with high blood pressure. The flowers and extract berries from hawthorn can help improve your heart health and effectively reduce blood pressure. According to a 2002 study from the University of Reading, hawthorn had significantly reduced diastolic blood pressure in patients with type 2 diabetes over a 16-week period.
There were 80 patients in the study with an average age of 60; they had systolic blood pressure levels at 145 to 165 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure between 85 to 95 mm Hg. The patients were given either a 1,200 mg dose of hawthorn extract or a placebo. The patients who took the hawthorn extract had a reduction in diastolic blood pressure numbers compared to the patients who took the placebo (an average drop of 2.6 mm Hg). This is good news because growing hawthorn is easy! Remove the flesh of the seed and plant it in a small container garden pot. Hawthorn is typically taken as a tea, as a liquid extract or in pill form.
The common herb you use for your pasta dishes, soups or salads, can help lower high blood pressure, too. It is better to plant basil before the weather gets too warm. According to the Pharmacognosy Review journal from 2011, basil can lower diastolic, systolic and average blood pressure with the average dose of 30 mg/kg. Sprinkle some aromatic fresh basil on your food when you can. Basil contains antihypertensive nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin C.
Garlic and onions are from the same powerhouse health family known to lower high blood pressure. Garlic matures faster when planted in the fall, but still works in the height of the summer season. The allicin within garlic contains antihypertensive properties, and its vitamin C and calcium also promote blood pressure control. Try it raw, minced in a salad dressing, or roast a bulb or two in the oven and then use the spread for crudités!
This popular immune booster is fairly easy to grow. You can start growing it inside during the winter and then transplant it to your garden in spring. Ginger can prevent your blood vessels and arteries from clotting and improve your blood circulation by helping the muscles around your blood vessels to relax. Ginger is a great addition to chicken, fish, fresh vegetables and iced tea. It also adds zip and health benefits to fresh juices and smoothies.
Fresh herbs from your garden help flavor your food and do so much more. Tending your garden or container pots gives you a moment to relax and enjoy the air, which also does wonders for your stress levels, blood pressure and outlook as well.
Brookes, L., “Which Drugs Have Truly Safe and Effective Effects?: First Randomized Clinical Trail Evidence for Blood Pressure Lowering Effect of Hawthorn, UK Researchers Claim,” Medscape Multispecialty website; http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/537304_6, last accessed May 27, 2014.
Tabassum, N., “Role of natural herbs in the treatment of hypertension,” U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website, January to June, 2011; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210006/.
Mateljan, G., The World’s Healthiest Foods: Essential Guide for the healthiest way of eating (Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation, 2007), 258, 698, 708.
Pearson, O., “The Effects of Ginger on High Blood Pressure,” LIVESTRONG.com web site, Aug. 16, 2013; http://www.livestrong.com/article/297975-the-effects-of-ginger-on-high-blood-pressure/.