Many people today are curious as to how effective natural remedies are in treating common health conditions. One such popular supplement is turmeric.
Turmeric is the spice found in curry powder. It gives the curry its bright yellow color.
People have reported a variety of health benefits of turmeric for conditions like stomach bloating, heartburn, loss of appetite, cancer, headaches, colds, lung infections, diarrhea and gallbladder disorders and liver disease.
When applied to the skin it has been used to treat ringworm, inflammation of the skin, infection, wound healing and sores in the mouth.
Here, will look at the scientific evidence on whether taking turmeric could potentially help to lower high blood pressure.
Read on to get the facts without the hype.
Turmeric, which contains the active ingredient curcumin, has received worldwide praise for its ability to protect the body against certain types of cancer, defend against cellular damage and for treating stomach complaints.
There are several studies published showing that turmeric potentially can lower high blood pressure.
Rats given turmeric (based on their body weight) had significant drop in blood pressure in just 6 weeks of treatment along with improved blood circulation.
How does turmeric does its wonders? The researchers proposed two mechanisms.
One. Curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric possesses the ability to reduce oxidative stress.
Two. Curcumin seemed to boost nitric oxide (NO) production at the blood vessels. NO is a very potent substance that causes blood vessels to relax (dilate). This improves blood flow through the vessel.
Here's the reference to this study:
OK, so far, we know that it worked in a small animal, but are there any evidence that this blood pressure reduction seen in rats would actually work in humans?
This is the question we are looking for the answer to. Fortunately, there is one study that was done. And it showed that it could lower the systolic blood pressure in people suffering from a type of kidney disease (lupus nephritis).
Twenty-four patients were randomly assigned to either take a match placebo capsule ("sugar pill") or 500 mg of turmeric (containing 22.1 mg of curcumin) three times daily.
The look-a-like matching placebo capsule was used to eliminate possible psychological effects. (This is always an essential factor to isolate out in any quality research study.)
At the one, two and three month time, volunteers taking the turmeric showed a significant drop in their systolic blood pressure. Those taking the placebo capsule did not have any changes in their blood pressure.
This is good evidence that that turmeric supplements does seem to lower systolic blood pressure.
Moreover, as an added bonus, none of them reported any side effects.
Here's the reference to this study:
Given these results, it seems like a great idea to give turmeric a try. It is shown to lower systolic blood pressure, has little side effects and has several other health benefits. Looks like win-win situation.
Since blood pressure is easy to measure, this could be an experiment that you can carry out at home safely (but don't stop your prescription blood pressure medication without checking with your doctor first).
You can track your blood pressure readings daily using a blood pressure monitor that you can buy at most pharmacies. This is a very useful if not essential diagnostic tool that everyone with hypertension need to have at home.
Get readings before you start taking turmeric and while taking turmeric. Track your blood pressure daily. All you need is a simple blood pressure monitor which you can buy at any pharmacy for between $50 and $100.
Indeed, you should be doing this anyway if you have suffer from high blood pressure.
See if there is a noticeable drop in your blood pressure. In discussion with your doctor, it may be possible for you to lower your dose of your prescription blood pressure medication.
In the study referenced above, the volunteers took turmeric for three months. Granted, they were using it for more than just lowering blood pressure.
In your situation, you could expect results in less time (although I would not say for certain since no studies have been done directly looking at this benefit).
Thinking of trying turmeric in hopes of lowering your blood pressure natural?
Go for it.
Keep a journal of your daily blood pressure readings. It will form the basis of your discussion with your doctor on your next visit.
Continue for up to three months. If you don't see any decrease in your blood pressure, then you can decide if you want to continue with taking turmeric supplements or not.
At the worst, you'll gain many of the other health benefits from taking turmeric.
If you are currently taking prescription blood pressure medication do not make any changes. It is important to discuss your approach to managing your high blood pressure with your doctor first.