To get a hold of your favorite spice, you need only drive to your local grocery store. However, only a few centuries ago, spices were not so easy to come by. In fact, spices in many cases were considered a treasure: Trade routes were created, monopolies were established, and wars were even fought for the sake of protecting their value. Spices have long been used in medicine and are well-known for their ability to preserve the body – both before and after death. King Asa, in approximately 800-900 B.C., was buried in Jerusalem and laid “on a bier that had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer’s art.”
Today, spices are regaining popularity for their medicinal and preservative benefits. Research now shows how a variety of spices have the ability to lower blood pressure levels naturally. In part one of this article, you learned about the heart-healthy properties of turmeric and ginger. But, one more spice should also be included in this list of potent high blood pressure remedies:
Garlic has been used as medicine in many cultures, dating as far back as when the Egyptian pyramids were built. In fact, the Egyptians worshiped garlic and placed clay models of garlic bulbs in the tomb of Tutankhamen. Today, garlic is used as a natural remedy to prevent heart disease by protecting against build-up of plaque in the arteries, decreasing LDL cholesterol levels and stabilizing blood pressure. Research published in the medical journal, BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, found that daily garlic supplementation containing between 600 mg and 900 mg produced a significant reduction in blood pressure. Another study published in 2010 found that aged garlic supplements lowered blood pressure by approximately 10 points in people with uncontrolled blood pressure.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds, which boost the immune system. Garlic also contains gamma-glutamylcysteine, a natural inhibitor of angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE). This enzyme is responsible for increasing blood pressure levels in the body. But, the major biologically active component of garlic is allicin, which is the substance responsible for lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure and even preventing certain cancers.
Garlic products are available in tablets, oil, and extracts. However, not all garlic contains the same amount of the active ingredient allicin. When purchasing garlic tablets, be sure to read the label carefully to see if it contains allicin (or alliin). For tablets standardized to 1.3% alliin or 0.6% allicin, take 600 mg divided in 2 to 3 doses per day. (Tablets may also be standardized to 10 – 12 mg/gm alliin and 4,000 mcg of total allicin potential, TAP). For garlic oil, take 0.03 to 0.12 mL, 3 times per day. For garlic extract, take 600 to 1,200 mg divided in 2 to 3 doses per day. You can also buy pure allicin supplements. In this case, follow the manufacturer’s dosage instructions.
For the greatest results, it’s best to use a combination of herbs and spices that benefit the health of the heart. Also, know that garlic and other spices can interact with blood-thinning (or anti-clotting) medications. Do not begin high doses of spices if you are taking one of these type medications without talking with your doctor first.
If you have tried herbs and spices or any other natural high blood pressure remedies and have had success lowering your blood pressure, please write your story in the Comments section below. By sharing your experience, you can help encourage others who are looking for alternative strategies to improve their heart health.
 2 Chronicles 16:14
 University of Maryland Medical Center online.
 “Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2008 Jun 16;8:13.
 “Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension: a randomised controlled trial.” Maturitas. 2010 Oct;67(2):144-50. Epub 2010 Jul 1.