Ask The Pharmacist: Five natural remedies for high blood pressure

Suzy Cohen

While waiting for a prescription, a friend of mine decided to check his blood pressure.  He was dealing with a bout of walking pneumonia and his blood pressure (BP) spiked to 140/100.

A common misconception is that high blood pressure, or hypertension, mostly affects the elderly. The truth is high blood pressure affects all ages.

Has this ever happened to you where you checked your BP at the pharmacy and it was suddenly high?

More:Ask The Pharmacist: Grow a new brain with blueberries, chewy food and Super Mario

More:Ask The Pharmacist: The secret nutrient that helps Graves’ disease

You can blame stress, the modern diet, lack of exercise or a bad infection like my buddy had. You can blame other lifestyle factors, too, like smoking. Or it could simply be your genes, as high blood pressure, termed hypertension, tends to run in families. If left untreated, hypertension can cause or lead to blindness, stroke, kidney failure, atherosclerosis and heart failure.

Now, the good news: here are five natural remedies that are proven to really (really!) work.

Hibiscus tea

Hibiscus tea is a wonderful remedy for high blood pressure. It’s been used to lower blood pressure in other countries for decades, and it really works. In one study, researchers found that drinking hibiscus tea for just 12 days reduced systolic pressure by an average of 11.7 percent and diastolic pressure by 10.7 percent. You can buy commercially-prepared teabags or you can easily make your own fresh hibiscus tea each morning. It’s fabulous for memory; in fact, if you email my customer service team (, I’ll send you the recipe card by email for “Memory Mint Hibiscus Tea.”

Magnesium threonate

Some forms of vitamins are better for certain conditions. With hypertension, look for the mineral magnesium threonate because this form of magnesium leaves ‘the tube,’ meaning it leaves your gut. This type of magnesium can get into the bloodstream and get across your blood brain barrier, is easily absorbed by the cells and has been proven to lower blood pressure and be stroke preventative, as well. Magnesium threonate is also great for helping promote good, healthy sleep and relaxation, as well.


Garlic cloves and garlic supplements have been proven to lower blood pressure. Garlic is an allium vegetable that is rich in antioxidants, good-for-you phytochemical and polyphenols, and sulfur-containing compounds called allicin (which are wonderful for collagen promotion, too). Garlic is especially effective at lowering systolic blood pressure.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish and some plant foods like nuts, seeds and cruciferous vegetables. Fish oil is wonderful for lowering high blood pressure, because it contains EPA and DHA, two wonderful compounds for lowering blood pressure and for keeping your heart healthy overall. Fish oils help reduce triglycerides and that reduces risk for heart attack and stroke.

Berries and dark chocolate

I saved the best for last: berries and dark chocolate…mmm! This sounds like a wonder-combo all of you can get on board with, right? Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, goji and acai are rich in compounds called polyphenols, which are blood pressure lowering, and dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which dilate blood vessels and thereby reduce blood pressure. A tasty combo comes to mind...try chocolate-covered blueberries or dark chocolate-dipped strawberries.

More:Ask The Pharmacist: Measure reverse T3 and get thyroid healthy

More:Ask The Pharmacist: You will never look at pumpkin pie the same

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit