The Hawthorn berry has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and, now, science is supporting its archaic use as a herbal remedy for high blood pressure. One 16-week study monitored 79 people with high blood pressure and results showed those who had taken a daily dosage of 1,200mg of hawthorn extract had greater improvements in blood pressure than those who didn’t.
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everal animal studies have also highlighted that hawthorn berry can act as a vasodilator, meaning it can relax constricted blood vessels – ultimately lowering blood pressure.
Hawthorn berries are packed with nutrition and have a tart, tangy taste and mild sweetness.
They can range in colour from yellow to deep red to black, and are often available as supplements in health stores.
The nutritious hawthorn berry can be seen as a dietary supplement that can contribute towards lowering blood pressure.
And anything that can help lower blood pressure is highly regarded.
Why is high blood pressure so bad?
The British Heart Foundation describes how high blood pressure causes your “heart to work harder to pump blood around your body”, which is why it is so dangerous.
Arteries – that are normally stretchy to accommodate the ebbs and flows of blood pressure throughout the day – become stiff or narrow when blood pressure is consistently high.
The narrowing of the arteries makes it easier for fatty material (atheroma) to clog them up.
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And clogged and damaged arteries result in less blood being able to reach vital body parts, such as the brain and heart.
This can be fatal, leading to heart attacks and strokes.
Other health conditions that can come about from high blood pressure include:
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
- Sight problems
- Vascular dementia
Most people develop high blood pressure (medically known as hypertension) because of their diet and lifestyle.
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People are at an increased risk of hypertension if they do any of the following:
- Drink too much alcohol
- Are overweight
- Don’t do enough exercise
- Eat too much salt
Hypertension rarely has any noticeable symptoms and so the British Heart Foundation urges people to get their blood pressure checked by a health professional.
If your blood pressure is considered to be high or very high – 180/110mmHg – your doctor will offer you medicines to help lower your blood pressure.
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer – a digital electronic monitor, which is connected to an inflatable cuff that is wrapped around your upper arm.
Blood pressure readings consist of two numbers: the systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.
A true example of a normal reading is 140/90mmHg (with 140mmHg being the systolic pressure and 90mmHg being the diastolic pressure).
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