High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a health issue that affects an estimated one-quarter of the adult population of the world, according to a 2005 study published in the Lancet medical journal. Many times, it presents no obvious symptoms, but can leave individuals at a greater risk of developing heart attacks, stroke, and other potentially lethal health issues. There are a number of effective medications available that may control this condition, but many people are seeking out alternative treatments for high blood pressure as well. Reasons for finding natural treatments for hypertension include their lower cost and a potential lack of side effects.
Certain alternative treatments for high blood pressure have some scientific evidence to support them. Coenzyme Q10, a compound involved in energy production in the body, could reduce hypertension when taken twice daily. A study performed at the University of Western Australia looked at an experimental group taking 100 milligrams (mg) of this supplement daily for three months. Afterward, the individuals in this group had significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The terms systolic and diastolic refer to the pressure inside the arteries when the heart contracts and relaxes, and lower levels of both types of pressure can indicate better overall health.
Folic acid is one of the alternative treatments for high blood pressure that shows some evidence of being effective. A Harvard Medical School study compared women taking 1,000 mg of folic acid per day and those taking 200 mg per day. The group of women taking the larger dose were found to have a 25 percent reduced risk of developing high blood pressure. Other studies indicate that it may decrease blood pressure in smokers, a group that is at a much greater risk for developing hypertension, after just four weeks of use.
Caution must be used when taking any alternative treatments for blood pressure. Even naturally occurring substances may have powerful effects on the body, or interact with other medications or herbs taken at the same time. Garlic supplements, for example, has been shown by a number of studies, including a 2010 experiment at the University of Adelaide in Australia, to lower blood pressure. Many medications that affect blood clotting, including warfarin and aspirin, may have dangerous side effects when combined with high-dose garlic, however. For this reason a doctor should always be consulted before taking any alternative treatments for high blood pressure.