Turmeric is known as the ‘golden spice’ for its bright orange color. It is highly valued by the ancient science of Ayurveda. It improves memory, reduces inflammation, and boosts brain function. But will turmeric lower blood pressure?
Turmeric is certainly beneficial for those with high blood pressure. It works in numerous ways to potentially boost heart health. Let’s learn more about turmeric and how it can help lower high blood pressure. Here’s what we’ll cover in this article.
Understanding Blood Pressure High Blood Pressure: The Ayurvedic Perspective How Will Turmeric Help Lower Blood Pressure? What Science Says Turmeric Safety
High blood pressure or hypertension is a leading, modifiable risk factor for premature death associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD leads to at least 1.1 million deaths per year all over the world. It is also declared a major public health challenge by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Understanding Blood Pressure
Normal resting blood pressure in an adult is approximately 120 millimeters of mercury (16 kPa) systolic and 80 millimeters of mercury (11 kPa) diastolic. We abbreviate this as 120/80 mmHg.
High blood pressure according to the World Health Organization and the International Society of Hypertension guidelines (WHO/ISH), includes both ‘hypertension’ [defined as 140/90 mm of hg or above] and ‘high normal’ blood pressure [between 130/85 mm of hg and 140/90 mm of hg].
High Blood Pressure: The Ayurvedic Perspective
High Blood Pressure or Raktavata, as it is known in Ayurveda, is considered an ailment involving all the three doshas with a dominance of Vata dosha (Vata Pradhan Tridoshaja Vyadhi). Ayurveda also suggests that blood pressure is greatly influenced by the mind (Mana).
Vata dosha is considered the main cause (pradhan karana) of high blood pressure. According to Ayurveda, the movement of body fluids (Dhatu Gati) is achieved by air (Vayu) itself.1 Pitta and Kapha complement the effect of the vitiated Vata and support the progress of the disease with whole blood (Rasa, Rakta) being the main mediator of vitiation. This suggests the involvement of the Tridosha in hypertension (Raktavata).
Spicing up your diet with turmeric works wonders in reducing high blood pressure. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been known as one of the best natural blood pressure reducers and a cardiovascular spice for years. Its yellow color comes from curcumin—a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound present in it. Apart from this, turmeric also has hypoglycemic, wound-healing, and antimicrobial activities.2
Ayurveda says that turmeric pacifies all the three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha (tridoshashamaka). By virtue of its hotness, it balances Vata and Kapha. Because of its dryness and its pungent and bitter taste, it balances Kapha dosha. Due to its bitterness, it balances Pitta dosha. So will turmeric lower blood pressure?
Since turmeric is a pacifier of all the three doshas, it proves to be the best natural alternative in reverting high blood pressure to its normal state. Moreover, turmeric is an anti-toxic, anti-septic, anti-bacterial agent (Vishghna). Along with this it also acts as an excellent scraping agent (Lekhaniya dravya).
The ancient Ayurvedic sage Charaka included it in two groups of herbs, the most effective herbs for removing toxins (Vishghna mahakashaya)3 and the most effective herbs for scraping (Lekhaniya mahakashaya).4 Both the antitoxic and scraping properties of turmeric help in removing or scraping away the plaque build-up or deposition of bad cholesterol (Medo dushti) in the inner lining of the arteries. Along with this, it also aids in reversing the thickening of the artery walls (atherosclerosis) in both healthy adults and those with a higher risk for heart disease.
That is how turmeric plays an important role in the management of high blood pressure.
Researchers attribute the impressive benefits of turmeric in normalizing high blood pressure to its active compound curcumin. Here’s what modern research found.
Turmeric has excellent natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Inflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of high blood pressure via the progression of arterial stiffness which results in elevation of blood pressure to the hypertensive range.5 Curcumin present in turmeric reduces the release of inflammatory chemicals in the body and has a protective mechanism against hypertension-related inflammation.6
Curcumin also possesses strong antioxidant properties.
It improves vascular dysfunction and is associated with the alleviation of oxidative stress, thereby significantly reducing, and normalizing the increased blood pressure.7
Turmeric safeguards the kidneys and manages the volume of fluids in the body efficiently.
The kidneys play an important role in maintaining blood pressure through the regulation of the volume of blood in the body. Turmeric potentially protects the kidneys from inflammation and benefits kidney health.
Turmeric keeps a check on blood pressure by inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE).
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is a central component which controls blood pressure by regulating the volume of fluids in the body. It converts the hormone angiotensin I to the active vasoconstrictor angiotensin II. Therefore, ACE indirectly increases blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict. Research shows that curcumin present in turmeric has a great ability to manage blood pressure by inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity.8 This in turn relaxes the blood vessels, reduces resistance to blood flow and brings high blood pressure down to a normal level.
Turmeric prevents damage to arteries and modifies the remodeling of the wall of the aorta induced by high blood pressure.
Elevation of blood pressure is accompanied by functional and morphological changes in the vascular wall as during this condition blood is pushing too hard against the wall of the artery.
This causes damage to the delicate inner lining of the artery walls which ultimately results in the formation of plaque. As the plaque in the arteries increases the arteries become narrower, further raising blood pressure. Curcumin effectively prevents the increase of blood pressure along with any negative changes in blood vessel morphology accompanying hypertensive condition.9
Turmeric prevents alterations in platelet activity caused by elevated blood pressure.
Platelets are a type of blood cell that are essential for blood clotting. Elevated blood pressure levels can make platelets hyperactive resulting in platelet aggregation. Dietary supplementation with turmeric possesses anti-platelet aggregation properties and thus prevents hypertension-linked changes in platelet activity.10
Turmeric has protective effects on the cardiovascular system.
High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Curcumin counteracts the process of cardiovascular disease which may otherwise lead to increased risk of heart attack, aneurysm, and stroke.
High levels of cholesterol and blood sugar also increase the chances of heart disease. Turmeric is a useful remedy in hypercholesterolemia as it prevents accumulation of bad cholesterol and reduces LDL cholesterol oxidation in the lining of the arteries that could lead to multiple heart related problems.
Turmeric also works efficiently in lowering blood glucose levels.
Accordingly it curbs most of the leading aspects of diabetes, including insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and also prevents deleterious complications of diabetes.
Dietary intake of curcumin supplementation ameliorates two clinically important markers of arterial dysfunction with aging, namely large elastic artery stiffening and endothelial dysfunction. It is also used to treat arterial dysfunction with aging thereby reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.11
Turmeric is safe and considered non-toxic even at very high doses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted its own clinical trials with turmeric and has declared turmeric and its active component curcumin as GRAS (generally regarded as safe).12
Due to its lack of symptoms, high blood pressure can inflict damage before you are even aware you have it. There’s a variety of ways to enjoy turmeric. Plus it’s a healthier, cheaper and absolutely safe alternative to prescription drugs and synthetic supplements. So, liven up your daily diet with the Golden Spice and keep your heart healthy for the long run.
Will turmeric lower blood pressure? That and so much more.
References 1. Vaidya Yadavaji Trikamaji, Charaka Samhita, Sutra sthana, chapter 18, verse 49, Chaukhmba surbharati prakashana, reprint 2000. 2. Pharmacological basis for the role of curcumin in chronic diseases: an age-old spice with modern targets. Aggarwal BB, Sung BT rends Pharmacol Sci. 2009 Feb; 30(2):85-94. [PubMed] 3. Vaidya Yadavaji Trikamaji ,Charaka Samhita, Sutra sthana, chapter 4, verse 8-16, Chaukhmba surbharati prakashana, reprint 2000. 4. Vaidya Yadavaji Trikamaji, Charaka Samhita, Sutra sthana, chapter 4, verse 8-3, Chaukhmba surbharati prakashana, reprint 2000. 5. Tomiyama, Hirofumi, Kazuki Shiina, Chisa Matsumoto‐Nakano, Toshiharu Ninomiya, Shunsuke Komatsu, Kazutaka Kimura, Taishiro Chikamori, and Akira Yamashina. “The Contribution of Inflammation to the Development of Hypertension Mediated by Increased Arterial Stiffness.” Journal of the American Heart Association 6, no. 7 (2017): e005729. 6. Akinyemi, Ayodele Jacob, Gustavo Roberto Thomé, Vera Maria Morsch, Nathieli B. Bottari, Jucimara Baldissarelli, Lizielle Souza de Oliveira, Jeferson Ferraz Goularte et al. “Effect of Ginger and Turmeric Rhizomes on Inflammatory Cytokines Levels and Enzyme Activities of Cholinergic and Purinergic Systems in Hypertensive Rats.” Planta medica 82, no. 07 (2016): 612-620. 7. Saowanee Nakmareong, Antioxidant and vascular protective effects of curcumin and tetrahydrocurcumin in rats with l-NAME- induced hypertension, Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology, May 2011, 383:519 8. Lekshmi, P. C., Ranjith Arimboor, V. M. Nisha, A. Nirmala Menon, and K. G. Raghu. “In vitro antidiabetic and inhibitory potential of turmeric (Curcuma longa L) rhizome against cellular and LDL oxidation and angiotensin converting enzyme.” Journal of food science and technology 51, no. 12 (2014): 3910-3917 9. Livia Hlavačková, Spice up the hypertension diet – curcumin and piperine prevent remodeling of aorta in experimental L-NAME induced hypertension, Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011; 8: 72.Published online 2011 Oct 17. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075- 8-72, PMCID: PMC3214182, PMID: 22005253. 10. Akinyemi AJ ,Dietary Supplementation of Ginger and Turmeric Rhizomes Modulates Platelets Ectonucleotidase and Adenosine Deaminase Activities in Normotensive and Hypertensive Rats. Phytother Res. 2016 Jul;30(7):1156-63. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5621. Epub 2016 May 6.PMID:27151061. 11. Bradley S. Fleeno ,Curcumin Ameliorates Arterial Dysfunction and Oxidative Stress with Aging, Exp Gerontol. 2013 Feb; 48(2): 269–276. Published online 2012 Nov 7. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2012.10.008 PMCID: PMC3557759,NIHMSID: NIHMS422808,PMID: 23142245. 12. Sahdeo Prasad and Bharat B. Aggarwal ,Turmeric, the Golden Spice, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.