Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey: Patient Care home Penn State Hershey: Education home Penn State Hershey: Research home Penn State Hershey: Community home
Penn State Hershey Health Information Library
  Library Home
  Find A Physician
  Find A Practice
  Request An Appointment
  Search Clinical Studies
  Classes and Support Groups
  Ask A Health Librarian
  Subscribe to eNewsletters

Penn State Hershey Health Information Centers
  Bone and Joint

        Follow Us
Answers from Dr. Hart


My doctor told me that my blood pressure is "pre-hypertension" and that I may need to take medication in the future. I would really like to avoid drugs. Are there any herbs or other measures I can take to lower my blood pressure?

Carol S.


In terms of herbs, there is not convincing scientific evidence that any herbs help lower blood pressure. The two that show the most promise include garlic (Allium sativum) and hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), both commonly used by herbal specialists for heart health in general. However, the research for each of these remedies for blood pressure is limited and, again, not compelling.

The information that is much more persuasive is the need to make lifestyle changes in order to lower your blood pressure. So, exercise regularly, lose weight if necessary, lower your salt intake, limit the amount of alcohol you drink, and eat a diet rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and other important nutrients. Such a diet includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish several times per week (although not tuna or others high in mercury which can raise blood pressure), and non-fat or low-fat dairy products. Also, see your doctor regularly and discuss any changes in lifestyle and side effects from medications.

Dr. Hart is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and teaches lifestyle modification programs for people with heart disease. She is currently affiliated with the Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard University. She holds an MD from the George Washington School of Medicine and an AB in psychology from Harvard-Radcliffe University. Dr. Hart completed her residency at Brown University in Primary Care Internal Medicine.


Main Menu

Review Date: 6/8/2011
Reviewed By: Steven Kang, MD, Division of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, East Bay Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Consultants Medical Group, Oakland, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.