Herbal remedies for high blood pressure, also called hypertension, have been found to be highly effective. There is a long history of their successful use which is now supported by scientific research (see citations below).
If you have a family history of hypertension or are considered pre-hypertensive, natural remedies along with lifestyle choices can help prevent your blood pressure from becoming elevated. Pre-hypertension is a systolic reading between 120 and 139 mmHg and a diastolic reading of 80 to 89 mmHg.
For those diagnosed with chronic hypertension, this common problem is best addressed with herbs prior to taking prescription drugs. Which herbs you choose depends on the underlying cause of the hypertension.
It’s not always easy to tell what is causing hypertension. Causes to be considered include general aging, genetics, stress, fluid retention and lifestyle. There may also be causes due to complications from other problems.
Hypertension from any cause can lead to blood vessel damage and structural changes in the heart. It should be addressed right away to restore balance to the cardiovascular system.
Note: If you are already taking prescription medication, consult a qualified holistic care practitioner before considering taking any supplements or herbal remedies for high blood pressure.
Herbs that normalize blood pressure:
Herbs that dilate the blood vessels, therefore decreasing pressure against the vessel walls should always be included for hypertension. Hawthorn is at the top of the list. It has been a well-known remedy for cardiovascular issues for thousands of years and is safe to use. While the flowers and leaves have medicinal value, the berries have been used most often historically.
Hawthorn is used in teas, tinctures and even foods as a preventative heart tonic as well as a restorative. It should be taken regularly over time, at least for four weeks or more. Hawthorn helps clear blockages and opens both peripheral and coronary circulation letting more blood through. It gently normalizes contractions of the heart muscle. Another benefit is the berries ability to reduce high cholesterol levels which tend to harden arteries.
Yarrow is another herb that helps to normalize the function of the heart. Similar to hawthorn, it opens peripheral circulation. Garlic is well-known for effectively normalizing both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It’s always best to take garlic raw, however cooked, pickled and capsules are also options.
Stress induced hypertension:
Stress along with anxiety or tension can cause the whole body to tighten, constricting the peripheral blood vessels. If stress is a primary cause of hypertension, look to herbs that benefit the heart as well as provide calming and relaxing qualities.
Linden flower opens up capillary circulation and helps the blood circulate better. The good tasting tea is a lovely relaxant. Lemon balm is another good tasting tea that calms nerves, in particular nervousness of the heart. Motherwort is a relaxing nervine that strengthens and normalizes heart function. Since it is quite bitter, it is best taken as a tincture. Rosemary is indicated for tension along with lack of good peripheral circulation. It can be taken as a tea, tincture or incorporated into food.
Hypertension due to fluid retention:
Heart health is closely related to kidney health. If the kidneys are causing water retention, then blood pressure goes up. Herbs that help the kidneys to pass more water are called diuretics. Marshmallow root is an herbal diuretic ideal for use with elevated blood pressure. Dandelion leaf is another mild diuretic herb. It has the added benefit of being high in potassium which is a kidney tonic.
Hypertension due to unhealthy lifestyle:
To avoid or reduce chances of elevated blood pressure, be sure to live a healthy lifestyle. This includes exercise 20-30 minutes a day to help dilate the blood vessels. This lets more blood flow through resulting in less pressure on the arterial walls.
A healthy diet includes reduced fats which can be deposited in the blood vessels. It also includes low sodium intake. Increase consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This also helps to decrease excess weight, yet another factor in hypertension. Be aware of any food sensitivities that may result in elevated blood pressure.
Tobacco should be completely avoided and alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum.
Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. If you would like to learn more about herbal medicine, check out the Home Herb School at www.homeherbschool.com
 Walker AF, Marakis G, Morris AP, Robinson PA (2002). Promising hypotensive effect of hawthorn extract: a randomized double-blind pilot study of mild, essential hypertension, PubMed
 Asgary S, Naderi GH, Sadeghi M, Kelishadi R, Amiri M (2004). Antihypertensive effect of Iranian Crataegus curvisepala Lind.: a randomized, double-blind study, PubMed
 Tassell MC, Kingston R, Gilroy D, Lehane M, Furey A (2010). Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, Pharmacognosy Review, doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.65324