Almost three-fourths of all adults with type II diabetes suffer from hypertension, which not only increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, but may cause damage to the eyes, kidneys and nervous system. While many diabetics are prescribed drugs to help control their high blood pressure, the results of a recent trial suggest there may be a safe, natural alternative to these types of prescription medications.
In this randomized, controlled trial, 79 patients with type II diabetes who were already taking blood pressure medication were allocated into two groups. Thirty-nine patients received a daily extract of hawthorn, an herb that has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels without causing any adverse side effects. The remaining patients took a placebo extract. Blood pressure levels were then measured for 16 weeks to determine any changes between groups. Patients taking the hawthorn extract showed an average decrease of 2.6 points in diastolic blood pressure, which the authors of the study termed a "significant reduction." They added that hawthorn could be used with other natural ways to lower one's blood pressure, such as regular exercise and changes in diet and lifestyle.
Hawthorn is considered extremely safe. It has received a class I rating from the American Herbal Products Association, which means that it can be used safely when taken at the appropriate levels. Nevertheless, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking hawthorn or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement. For more information about hawthorn and other herbal products, visit www.chiroweb.com/find/tellmeabout/herbs.html.
Walker AF, Marakis G, Simpson E, et al. Hypotensive effects of hawthorn for patients with diabetes taking prescription drugs: a randomized controlled trial. British Journal of General Practice June 2006;56:437-443.