Which herbs to avoid in case of high blood pressure?

John89August 15, 2005

Hello, I am looking for information on which herbs to avoid in case of high blood pressure.

I find contradictoy data e.g. ginseng can be good or bad.

Is there any place that has a compiled list of herbs to avoid?.


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Number one herb to avoid if you suffer from high blood pressure is Liquorice. Rosemary and Motherwort are 2 herbs which may raise blood pressure (both are used to treat low blood pressure).

The reason you get conflicting information about ginseng (and other herbs) is that it is used to REGULATE blood pressure. If you suffer from high BP, it may help to lower it - if you suffer from low BP, it may help to raise it. In other words, it normalises BP. Other herbs which do the same thing include Hawthorn and Hyssop, Garlic, Parsley, Yarrow, Passionflower, Chamomile, Tomatoes, Scullcap, Wood Betony, Evening Primrose, Chervil, Ginger.

If you suffer from high BP, you could try taking Vitamin E and zinc supplements. But since BP problems (high or low) are potentially very serious, you would of course consult your doctor before starting on any herbal or supplement regime.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 6:59PM
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Thanks Daisyduckworth

I was taking rosemary without knowing it is of care.
Korea ginseng I think it does not go for HBP especially with caffeine. From experience.

Tomatoes? Never heard that.

Can ginger elevate BP, I mean if you already have it high, is it more posible that it elevates or lower it?. I know you say it can balance but I do not want to risk.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 5:48AM
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lundpix(Southern Cal)

Ganoderma lucidum was reported to normalize blood pressure in some of the reference books in my library. I usually have blood pressure in the normal range. but after a long plane trip my blood pressure was higher than I like. The readings I got at home with my auto meter were 138 over 90. So I decided to try it out and see if it did anything. One morning I started with a reading in both arms. Then I took a hot cup of very low caffeine coffee and added 8 capsules of a ganoderma herb powdered and waited for them to mix. I drank the coffee. After finishing the coffee, I waited 20 minutes. The reading then was 138 over 80. So the diastolic number went down.

Of course, this is not a published peer-reviewed study, nor was it repeated. It does show that on one occasion the herb produced a beneficial effect. That is interesting to me.

I decided to take a regular amount of the Ganoderma. I will make appropriate comments in the future if I find that I see long-term results are favorable.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 3:56AM
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As the question was which herbs to avoid in case of high blood pressure, reishi mushroom preparations (which may contain ganoderma) might be contraindicated if one was already on an anti-hypertensive drug. Its known side effects include nosebleeds and upset stomach. As to whether it lowers blood pressure, the main clinical evidence cited in its support is a 20-year-old Japanese study for which I haven't been able to find details online.

BTW, t's pretty common for blood pressure readings to vary slightly, and it wouldn't be unusual for the diastolic number to drop a bit, especially after one relaxes with a hot drink. Similarly, if you're anxious about something (like a visit to a doctor's office) the initial BP reading can be high, but drop markedly later when you've had a chance to settle down.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 11:07AM
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lundpix(Southern Cal)

As I said, I had taken Ganoderma lucidum powdered herb, not a combination product. Just ground up biomass. No additional ingredients. Not an extract.

Would not it be important for a person to avoid any herb known to push down high blood pressure if one were taking a anti-hypertensive drug? Not just Ganoderma lucidum?

My first library reference is as follows: Hong-yen Hsu, et. al. Oriental Materia Medica, Keats Publishing New Canaan Connecticut. ©1986

Historically he notes that it is classed as a superior herb in Shen Nung Pen Tsao Ching. This designation meant that a person could safely use it for a long time in a range of dosages. In his pharmacology remarks he says this,
"(2) Hypotensive effect: Intraperitoneal injections of the extract into anesthetized rabbits and dogs lower their blood pressure and increase their urine volume."

Another book from Kee Chang Huang "The Phamacology of Chinese Herbs, second edition", CRC Press Boca Raton Florida ©1999 does not identify hypotensive action, but does make specific remarks about the heart. "It increases myocardial contractility and systolic volume and can improve cardiac function and reduce oxygen consumption."

Neither book makes any reference to the "known side effects" that you mention. Perhaps you could provide your citations, unless you became confused about which herb I was mentioning. Is your source knowledgable of Chinese herbs?

The age of a citation does not, on its face, discredit it. Twenty years ago for a citation about an herb in use for at least 2000 years is not significantly old to me. Of course, if several studies since that time are contrary, then I could see why a person might object.

Right now I am trying to understand the role of upregulation of c-Jun N-terminal Kinase and drug resistance. And I find a variety of opinions presented in the literature. So I will wait for more studies.

I am sure that your remarks about anxiety and blood pressure are correct. I did the test on myself at home upon arising. I did not feel stressed to begin with, but it is possible that the hot drink and being upright had some effect. I could test that if I cared to. I have understood that taking the blood pressure in the morning after resting all night is a better indicator of condition than taking it late afternoon. Is this correct in your opinion? Also, is a variation in diastolic numbers of 10 points (from 90 to 80) insignificant?


    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 2:52PM
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Hi John,

I hope you are still following this thread.
As a high blood pressure patient myself, my first concern is that you see your GP and get a basic check up and diagnosis, before you take anything at all. This is a subject too near and dear to my heart to pass by.

During the check up, be sure they do a thyroid blood test, as both hyper and hypo thyroid, cause altered metabolism and high blood pressure. What you and I must avoid is a heart attack or stroke. If I have a stroke, I will be forced to watch my garden go to rack and ruin. :-(

As it is now, I am as in control as possible, but I must be careful with all garden tasks, and take much longer to complete projects that in the past. IF I had gone in, and been diagnosed correctly years back, the solution would have been simple, and I could be running at normal speed. Not being able to ever again hike up a steep hill and enjoy the wildflowers is one of my biggest regrets.
Back then, when things were only starting to go bad... I sounded exactly like you do in this first post. I know you fellows think going to the doctor is for girls...but this time you really need to just call and make an appointment. Not knowing does not make it go away. And not knowing but aware...causes stress...which causes long term damage to the immune system, and then the heart.

With no diagnosis... and not knowing your current thyroid status, I will strongly advise against adding any so called safe supplements... the wrong guess and "bad to much worse" is the story. We get new people all the time being diagnosed either hyper or hypo... all because they added the wrong vitamins and herbs, thinking it was harmless and so basic and simple... it wouldn't hurt them. And I have to tell all of you... as a long term support person elsewhere... I am tired of picking up the damaged patients. Let's always insist on a diagnosis before a cure is prescribed.

Don't take me wrong. I am a huge supporter of alternative healing, and my use of supplements and herbals was a HUGE part of my own "rare" success/ remission. But ya gotta' be aware of all the possible problems before hand. Be smart and careful.

AFTER you have a diagnosis, THEN self education and a good, experienced NP will be of great value. We need to enjoy our golden years . Plus... have the opportunity to finally enjoy those tiny little plants we started, the ones that had to grow for years and years to be magnificent. ;) I'm starting to see this... and can not even start to tell you the joy !

Take care of yourself, so we can all enjoy your garden.
-Pam L- my rant for the year ;)
Don't be skeeered... I'm really am nice, *lol*

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 8:34AM
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The ganoderma link contains a lot of vague and unsupported statements like "vitalizing the heart" and "stabilizing the metabolic activities", but comes up short on actual evidence that it does anything useful in treating disease (other than folklore).

There are a variety of bioactive compounds in ganoderma, some of which are being investigated for possible medicinal use (including potential antihypertensive treatment), but there don't seem to be solid findings yet supporting its consumption.

Until there are, ganoderma is just one of a large number of heavily hyped "magic foods", to be taken (figuratively) with a grain of salt. :)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 12:18PM
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After having high blood pressure for several years, I've learned (for myself if not others) that anything that makes you retain water is going to raise your bp. And herbs, supplements, etc that act as diuretics will lower it. There again, you would want to check with dr if in doubt.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 8:27PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

This is an interesting discussion. I would like to see more mention of herbal dosing and frequency of use. For example, one need not go to extremes for managing hypertension by avoiding occasional foods spiced with rosemary and ginger. Swallowing capsules of herbs is much higher dosing compared to flavoring your food with these spices. I have noticed over the years that my hypertension has improved by reducing my consumption of simple carbohydrates and increasing my fiber intake with leafy greens. I use lots of herbs and spices with all of my cooking. Thankfully, I now have a job with a lower stress level as well.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2014 at 8:21AM
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