Ask Me About Blood Pressure

‘If you don’t know your blood pressure, it’s like not knowing the value of your company.’

Dr Mehmet Oz

If you have any questions about blood pressure, please use the comments box below and I will do my best to answer as soon as possible. Please note, I can only give general advice. If you have any persistent symptoms or health worries, or are concerned about your own blood pressure readings, it’s important to consult your own doctor.

I am often asked about the effectiveness of natural remedies for high blood pressure, so I’ve given all the evidence based figures for how well different approaches work at this link: Natural Remedies For High Blood Pressure.

Let me know what remedies you’ve found most helpful!

Please leave any comments or ask me a question ...

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35 thoughts on “Ask Me About Blood Pressure

  • lawrence

    I’ve been back and forth trying several natural remedies for my high BP (148/89) and I’m either exhausted all the time with very moderate gains or I have no change at all. I’m in good health, I exercise and dont add salt to anything. I’m currently on fish oil, garlic, cq10. I was doing celery/hawthorne but I was tired. Any suggestions I’m very frustrated.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Lawrence. Some people find increasing their intakes of magnesium and calcium is helpful, while others find that hibiscus tea, black seed or switching to sesame oil for cooking makes the difference. Tiredness and frustration can cause stress that puts blood pressure up and you may be in the middle of a vicious cycle that needs medication to control your blood pressure. Do see your doctor as you may need to start taking a low dose medication. Once your readings come down, your doctor may be willing to monitor you while you stop medication if you prefer a fully natural approach. Don’t see this as a failure – many people need medication in addition to making healthy diet and lifestyle changes which help to prevent their hypertension from progressing. Best wishes, Sarah B

      • lawrence

        Last night I woke up and after taking Garlic, hawthorn, fish oil and CQ10 I was at 127/74 but this was at 3am, this morning I was 132/84 but after those pills I’m tired. I really want to do it naturally but this fatigue to get these results is making it hard.

      • DrSarahBrewer Post author

        HI Lawrence, It’s important to see your doctor to look for other causes of fatigue. A raised blood pressure in itself does not normally cause fatigue, nor do the supplements you are taking. You doctor can screen you for other causes of tiredness such as underactive thyroid, iron deficiency or undiagnosed diabetes, for example. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Geoff

    Hi Sarah – and thank you for this very helpful site. I am being treated for hypertension and take a diuretic among my meds. This puzzles me a little as, on one hand, good hydration is, I believe, important for blood pressure but, on the other, the diuretic is working to dehydrate the patient. No doubt the biochemistry is more complex than that, but there does appear to be a paradox here and I would like to understand it better! Thanks 🙂

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Geoff, A good question! The interesting thing is that, while thiazide-like diuretics have an initial diuretic action to flush away excess fluid, this effect normalises the circulation within a couple of weeks, and the need to keep running to the loo then declines. The also have an effect to dilate blood vessels and this is thought to be their main long-term action. When you only need one antihypertensive drug, latest evidence suggests that a thiazide diuretic is the best blood pressure medicine and I suspect guidelines will change to reflect this. Best wishes, Sarah B

      • Geoff

        Thanks for explaining that, Sarah – I like, in a general sense, to understand how my medication works and this had been a conundrum but is no longer! :}

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Roger, Boiling beetroot is one way to reduce the oxalate content of beetroot – one study found that boiling beetroot reduced the amount of soluble oxalates below that of raw or steamed beets (but don’t reuse the boiling water). Maintaining good hydration is also important. Check with your doctor however before including boiled beetroot in your diet. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Jay

    Hello Sarah, Firstly may I thank you for a very informative and helpful website.

    Ten days ago, on a visit to the doctor for another matter, we discovered my husband’s blood pressure was extremely high (around the 180/100 mark). It was a shock, to say the least, since up until eighteen months ago he’d always had readings around 120/80. Complacency on our part meant he hadn’t had it checked in the interim, which of course we now regret because we don’t know when it started to rise. Anyhow after monitoring at home his BP was still high so yesterday his doctor prescribed Lisinopril (10mg). I’ve scared myself silly today, reading about the side effects of Lisinopril, so much so that I daren’t test my own blood pressure today because I’m sure it would be high! I’ve now just read on your site that a low dose thiazide might have been a better option…?

    I’ve been researching lowering BP naturally and my husband has been taking magnesium, co-enzyme Q10 and fish oil supplements for the last six days or so which I’m assuming are still ok to take alongside Lisinopril? Our diet is generally pretty good but we’ve turbo-charged it since finding out with pretty much all the foods/drinks associated with lowering BP. Been out today and bought aromatherapy oils too! My husband is 59 and exercises fairly regularly, when work permits. I’m trying to remain upbeat but from what I’ve read here it seems unlikely that 10mg of Lisinopril will bring his BP down sufficiently. I hate the idea of him being on meds for the rest of his life with all the possible side effects. I’d love to think we could lower it and then control it naturally through lifestyle rather than drugs but realise that is probably wishful thinking. Any reassurances gratefully received 🙂

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Jay, Glad you find the info helpful. Going to the doctor is always stressful, and blood pressure can go high as a result (so-called white coat hypertension). NICE guidelines recommend offering a 24-hour blood pressure monitor with a device worn throughout the day and night (ambulatory monitoring) to confirm persistent hypertension. Once this is confirmed, then current guidelines recommend different treatments depending on age, risk factors, ethnicity and other factors. You doctor will have weighed these all up before deciding on the right treatment approach. Things may well change, however, as these guidelines are being reviewed based on changes in the definition of hypertension now used in the US, and the new analysis that suggests that some treatments are associated with better long-term outcomes than others. It’s important to trust in your doctor – general practice is an art as much as a science and finding the right treatment for each patient can take time. Only 10% of people with hypertension only need one medication to properly control their blood pressure – most need 2 or 3. In the meantime, lifestyle changes can help, such as cutting out salt, following a DASH diet, regular exercise such as walking, deep breathing exercises and more. Magnesium, coenzyme Q10 and omega-3 fish oil are great choices to supplement normal diet. Blood pressure readings usually improve quite quickly once medication, diet and lifestyle changes are started. Best wishes, Sarah B

      • Jay

        Thanks for your reply. Feeling a bit calmer about it all now. Blood pressure is lower. We’ve had readings in the 160’s, a couple in the 140’s and even one at 130/75. Highest diastolic 95.

  • Sandra

    I found out that someone’s daughter is suffering with very high blood pressure and has been taken to the hospital a few times because of it. I have been reading about Coconut Water and many other things to help her. I told her Mother I would try to get information about it. I have two questions. In your opinion does it make a difference if the coconut Water is pasteurized? I would think it would. Second question, I saw on the internet that High Blood Pressure can be caused by tumors. Is that correct? I have been thinking a lot about this problem and what the reason is for her High Blood Pressure. Since I do not know her I can only give the Mother information and hope it helps. I have other information to give her too, about weight, foods to eat, foods to avoid, vitamins and other stuff. I know that garlic sure helped me. My Doctors do not talk to me about High Blood Pressure medicine anymore.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Sandra, the blood pressure lowering effects of coconut water are due to the presence of potassium, magnesium, calcium and l-arginine – while the salts are not affected by the temperature used during pasteurisation to kill bacteria, l-arginine may be ‘denatured’ and converted to another amino acid called ornithine although this is less likely to happen during brief pasteurisation processes. Your second question is a difficult one to answer. In most cases, high blood pressure has no obvious underlying cause and is known as essential hypertension. In the few cases that are due to other causes, it is known as secondary hypertension. While tumours can produce hormones that raise blood pressure, this is relatively rare. The most important thing is to take any prescribed medical treatments and to follow the dietary and lifestyle advice provided by her doctors (eg low salt, DASH diet). There is lots of information about complementary approaches and natural remedies for high blood pressure to support medical treatment on this site, too. I’m glad you found that garlic helped! Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Keshavji

    I am suffering from High BP with very slow pulse while resting. ( Systolic 165 to 170, Dialostic 70 to 80, Pulse 42 to 50 ). Everyday i walk or cycle for about an hour. My BP taken 5 minutes after walk or cycling seems to be fine ( Sys 135 to 145 Dia 65 to 75 Pulse 52 to 56) . Then after blood pressure starts going up with pulse slowing down while doing work on laptop or watching TV.
    I have been taking black garlic and omega 3 since last year or so. I am pure vegetarian eating lots of fruits and veg and lentils etc. Do have very little alcohol during weekend only. I am on no medications whole of my life. Blood test is negative in respect of kidney, lever and thyroid function.
    What i am concerned about is if i go on some kind of medication to lower BP, My pulse may even go further lower . This has happened when i tried a herbal supplement called Mukta Vati. This herb brought BP down along with pulse ( Sys 125 Dia 65 Pulse 40)
    So i wonder if there is any herbs or modern medications to lower BP without affecting Pulse. OR your opinion on high BP with slow pulse while resting will be appreciated
    Thanks for your time

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Keshavji, Certainly you seem to have an isolated systolic hypertension which is often due to the slow pulse rate itself (bradycardia). A slower pulse rate allows extra time for more blood to fill your heart, so that more is pumped out to cause a raised systolic blood pressure and a low diastolic blood pressure as a result. Your doctor can assess you and either select an appropriate treatment or refer you to a heart specialist (cardiologist), but do see your doctor as soon as possible to find out the underlying cause. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Stewart

    I have been taking 10 drops of Crategus mother tincture for at least 2 years for blood pressure but am still suffering with readings anywhere from 205/107 to 244
    Is Crategus the same as Hawthorn. If so what dosage could/should I be taking?

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Stewart. You need to see your doctor as soon as possible as you need medication to control your blood pressure and to have your kidney function checked. Hawthorn (crataegus oxyacantha) alone is not enough (and should not be combined with prescribed medicines except under medical supervision) The term ‘mother tincture’ is usually applied to homeopathic remedies, which contain low levels of active ingredients (from which homepathic remedies are prepared by further extensive dilution), rather than herbal medicines which contain significantly higher levels of active ingredients. There are lots of natural remedies that can help lower a high blood pressure, and which you can use alongside medicines, such as relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, the DASH diet, magnesium supplements and ubiquinol coenzyme Q10, but you do need medical support with those readings. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Lawrence

    Hello, Are there supplements that contain Garlic, Magnesium and Hawthorne all in one ? (and potent enough to be effective) My BP is normally around 145/90 and I think the fact that I’m pretty high strung may not help me.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Lawrence, There is a supplement called Advanced Blood Pressure Support which include a variety of effective herbs and nutrients, but not magnesium. As magnesium is easily obtained on its own, you could add that in if needed. If your blood pressure remains raised it’s important to see your doctor. Following a DASH diet is also key. You may find relaxation exercises and breathing exercises beneficial, too. And here’s a link to 45 natural remedies for lowering blood pressure. Best wishes, Sarah B

      • Lawrence

        I looked at that one but thought the Hawthorne and Garlic was too low. I thought I had read that you wanted over 1000 mg of hawthorne daily ?

      • DrSarahBrewer Post author

        When taking a combination of herbs and other ingredients which work in different ways you can use much lower doses to achieve a synergistic effect. These lower doses also reduce the risk of unwanted side effects. Hawthorn on its own is used in doses of 500mg to 1200mg per day but I believe these doses are best used under the supervision of a medical herbalist – it is a powerful herb. A lower dose in a combination supplement is a good way to start. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Harry

    Hi— Seems that there are many supplements/herbs that can assist with lowering BP–you list quite a number of them on your very helpful website. There are dozens of different BP formulas on Amazon–hard to know where to start.

    Background–I am 59, developed hypertension 3 years ago-despite very regular exercise (5-6 days/week), regular meditation, a clean diet, and being thin (it runs in my family). Had a bad reaction to amlodipine, as well as a diuretic (and no impact on bp) –but bp lowered quickly with Lisiniprol. Shifted to Losartan after developing the dry cough. Have been maintained on 50/day, but now am having some side effects and would love to be able to lower the dose. However, even a minor reduction results in my bp increasing. My health is otherwise great.

    Do you have a recommendation of specific supplements or formulas that might be a support in allowing me to reduce the dose of Losartan successfully? Need to start somewhere–but there are so many options.

    thank you!!! Harry

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Harry, Glad you found the site! Sounds as if you are already cutting back on salt and following a dash style diet which are key. I have listed the most effective natural remedies in a post on natural remedies for high blood pressure; magnesium is often deficient in diets and may help. Co-enzyme Q10 (ubiquinol form) is prescribed in Japan for hypertension. I’m also impressed with the Dr Tobias Blood Pressure formula. Different approaches work for different people, depending on the genes you have inherited, so there are no guarantees. Do check with your doctor before starting supplements. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Stephanie

    Hello, thank you very much for all the precious informations that you share on your website.
    My question is: do you know if Klamath blue green algae (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) is as good as Spirulina to reduce blood pressure?
    Than you for your help. Best regards

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Stephanie, Klamath blue green algae do not appear to have been specifically researched in relation to blood pressure, although they are likely to have similar effects as spirulina according to at least one review. However, there are concerns about levels of pollution in Lake Klamath which might contaminate supplements. Best wishes, Sarah B

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Susan, Do go back to your doctor. You may need to change to a different class of antihypertensive drug, or have another one added in. Most people need 2 and sometimes 3 different medications to control their high bood pressure (often combined in one pill so you are not rattling). It’s important to bring your blood pressure down to target levels. In addition, natural approaches can help your medication to work more effectively. For example, lack of magnesium can reduce the effectiveness of some BP drugs, and correcting this will help you respond better. In the meantime, there are 45 different ‘natural’ ways to reduce blood pressure at this link. Click through on the ones that you would like to try for more details. Posts on the home page provide information too. Hope that helps, Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Roger

    Hi, I have three questions.

    I am taking Ramipril (2.5mg) before bed and Amlodipine (5mg) in the morning for my high blood pressure. I would like to also use Magnesium Bisglycinate and Apple Cider vinegar at meal times as my BP seems to go up, especially in the early evening. I have tried to check for interactions and have read the drug leaflets but can’t see any. I suppose, I am asking for clarification.

    I understand that high potassium from diet could interact with Ramipril, but what is a high potassium diet?

    I would prefer to use natural remedies to relieve or possibly eliminate my high blood pressure. I have started having cold hands and feet and poor libido, which after a year of taking my tablets may be the side effects. I know everyone is different, but is this a common reaction when taking these drugs?

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Roger, magnesium deficiency is common, and adding magnesium supplements to correct this can significantly improve blood pressure that has not previously responded to medication. Depending on how well your blood pressure is controlled, you may wish to start with a low dose and work up. The DASH diet will provide a good amount of magnesium from green leaves, nuts, seeds, fish, beans and wholefoods so you may wish to try this nutritional approach instead. The DASH diet is relatively high in potassium from fruit and veg, but is medically recommended for hypertension. Poor peripheral circulation and loss of libido can result from antihypertensive drugs, and amlodipine is often cited. Do see your doctor to ask if other classes of blood pressure medication might suit you better, control your blood pressure more effectively and not affect your libido. Don’t feel embarassed – GPs deal with this problem regularly. Hope that helps, Sarah B

  • JB

    Hello – the article on red reishi is interesting. I take 32mg of Candesartan each morning, which I assume isn’t an immunosuppressive / anticoagulants or cholesterol-lowering medication, so would I be okay to take red reishi as well? I have got my BP down from the high 170s (at times it was in the 190s!) to mid 140s but am still trying to get it in to the 130s, and doing lots of intense exercise, avoiding all caffeine and alcohol and doing my best to avoid salt, but despite all these efforts, still can’t get it any lower hence my interest in red reishi.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi JB, I’ve checked with the Natural Medicines interaction database and it says: “Theoretically, concurrent use of reishi mushroom with antihypertensive drugs might increase the risk of hypotension.” Having said that, any oral supplement that lowers BP would have the same flag. If you do decide to take reishi – or any other natural approach – it’s important to monitor your blood pressure closely initially, and if taking a supplement, start with a low dose. I’ve just written an overview of all the blood pressure lowering natural remedies HERE. Hope that helps – it includes 39 possible approaches and the evidence behind them. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Arnie T Alcazar

    Is it true that while blood pressure treatments lower hypertension, they also kill the liver slowly, among other side effects.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Arnie, most antihypertensive medicines don’t have adverse effects on the liver, but if you are concerned your doctor can check your liver function for you. The Patient Information Leaflet provided with each medicine will list possible side effects. Best wishes, Sarah B