Why these 3 herbs battle high blood pressure

Plants make potent medicine. Our ancient ancestors knew it (there’s evidence that Homo erectus used plants for medicinal purposes 800,000 years ago). And modern scientists know it (why do you think most of our modern medications have their roots in plants?).

But despite the staying power of plant medicine, we still don’t know why a lot of plant folk remedies work. And as a result, many of these remedies get written off as hogwash or nonsense… even when they help a lot of people anecdotally.

So, needless to say, it’s exciting when we can finally pinpoint the mechanism behind a plant’s medicinal power. It means that all the old-timey herb books were right, after all!

If you love those moments when plant medicine gets its props, I have good news for you…

A new study just figured out exactly how three folk medicine herbs with a long history of affecting high blood pressure work.

Lavender, fennel, and chamomile: A recipe for better blood pressure

Lavender, fennel, and chamomile may sound like the recipe for a super-satisfying sleepy time tea. But they’re actually three herbs with a long history of treating high blood pressure. And the latest study from researchers at the University of California, Irvine figured out exactly why all three work…

These herbs have a unique effect on blood vessels.

You see, cells have channels that allow certain things in and out. These herbs activate the potassium channel (KCNQ5) blood vessels. When the potassium channel is activated, it causes blood vessels to relax which — you guessed it — lowers blood pressure.

Researchers found that a wide variety of botanical blood pressure remedies activated this channel to lower blood pressure. But there were three herbs that had the biggest effect on this channel — lavender, fennel, and chamomile.

Related: 5 supplements for naturally healthy blood pressure

Do you know the coolest part about this discovery? There are no medications available that lower blood pressure this same way. So, this is a one-of-a-kind mechanism you can only get from herbs. Although, medical researchers would like to use this information to create a blood pressure pill in the future.

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Putting herbs to work against high blood pressure

It’s fascinating to know how longstanding folk remedies work. But I’m sure there’s something else you’d rather know… like how exactly you can use herbs to lower your blood pressure straight away.

Well, one of the easiest and safest ways to put these herbs to work for you is by inhaling lavender essential oil. A simple sniff has a surprisingly powerful ability to lower blood pressure. In fact, a small 2012 study found that inhaling lavender essential oil had an immediate blood pressure-lowering effect.

Studies show that sipping on chamomile tea can calm you and, consequently, lower blood pressure too. Plus, chamomile contains antioxidant compounds shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure in studies.

Chamomile and lavender are super safe, inexpensive and easy to find at your local health food store. And if you use them regularly, they’ll do more than improve your blood pressure — they’ll help you sleep. Both herbs have been used as insomnia remedies for centuries.

Editor’s note: Uncover the myths surrounding hypertension and get the truth about easy, effective strategies for controlling blood pressure. Click here to discover Natural Ways to Reverse and Prevent Hypertension!

Sources:

  1. New study explains molecular mechanism of botanical folk medicines used to treat hypertension — MedicalXpress
  2. KCNQ5 activation is a unifying molecular mechanism shared by genetically and culturally diverse botanical hypotensive folk medicines — Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  3. The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activityJournal of the Medical Association of Thailand
  4. Do Flavonoids Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Incidence or Mortality in US and European Populations?Nutrition Reviews
  5. Dietary and Policy Priorities for Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity – A Comprehensive ReviewCirculation
  6. Long-term chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trialPhytomedicine
  7. High blood pressure: Drinking tea can slash BP reading — Daily Express
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.