Owing to hectic work schedules, erratic sleeping patterns, and increased consumption of junk foods, hypertension — a condition in which the body’s blood pressure is higher than normal — is becoming increasingly common. The normal range for blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or lower, while “hypertension is a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher,” according to Mayo Clinic. To manage the same, people consume many medicines and foods; but is there a way to control hypertension naturally? Yes, and Dr Dixa Bhavsar Savaliya, shared all about it on Instagram.
“So my dad got diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) in Dec 2021 and ever since I’ve been giving him 1 raw garlic clove to chew first thing in the morning and its really working for him. I’m sharing the remedy with you all only after getting positive follow-ups from more than 500 patients of mine (of all ages from late 20s to late 80s),” the Ayurveda expert wrote on Instagram.
Listing the benefits of this humble vegetable, Dr Savalia mentioned that garlic possesses anti-hypertensive properties due to its piercing, pungent, and vata-kapha reducing qualities which help in clearing the body channels (best for blockages).
Agreed Ishti Saluja, a nutritionist, who said that research has proven garlic to help keep hypertension at bay due to the presence of ‘allicin’ in it. Allicin is the main active compound, which prevents the production of angiotensin — a hormone that is responsible for raising blood pressure by contracting blood vessels.
“By lowering the production of angiotensin, allicin allows blood to flow freely and easily, reducing blood pressure. Garlic is also helpful in reducing the stiffness of arteries, making it a good inclusion in the diet of those with health issues,” Saluja told indianexpress.com.
Additionally, it also helps in reducing joint pain, eliminating worms (krimi), improving cholesterol, warding off cough and cold, improving digestion, boosting immunity, improving brain functioning, balancing blood sugar, and also losing weight. “So, if you’ve got any of these disorders, go ahead and have garlic every day,” Dr Savalia suggested in her post.
Best way to consume it:
According to Saluja, garlic can be consumed in the following ways:
*Eat it raw — It is one of the best ways to consume it. Raw garlic activates alliinase, an enzyme that converts alliin into allicin. “It’s best to consume raw garlic 1-2 hours after a meal or it could trigger indigestion symptoms in the gut,” she added.
*Powder form — Make sure each serving has about 3.5-5.5mg of allicin.
*Garlic milk — Mix 10-12 cloves of minced garlic to warm milk. You can also add a pinch of honey for better results.
“Heating up garlic or putting it in a recipe can change it’s pH balance. The enzymes from the allicin need a few minutes to start working, so let it sit after you mince, crush or chop it!” added Saluja.
However, Dr Savalia suggested chewing one garlic clove daily first thing in the morning for vata-kapha prakriti.
*”For pitta (people with heat issues), either fry it in ghee or have it with breakfast/lunch (and not on empty stomach) as it is hot in nature,” added Savalia.
She further shared that the various bioactive compounds present in this herb, which also help provide various health benefits are: volatile oil – 0.06-0.1%; carbohydrates – arabinose, galactose etc; vitamins – folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin C; amino acids (arinic, Asparagic acid, methionine etc.); enzymes- allinase; volatile compounds – allylalcohol, allylthiol, allylpropyl disulphide etc.
However, the expert warned, “This does not mean you can stop your anti-hypertensive medicines and just have garlic daily. This cannot happen right away. It works best for preventive purposes (like if you have high blood pressure hereditarily, you can sure prevent it with garlic consumption and a healthy lifestyle).”
Continuing, she added, “To manage blood pressure, have it daily for 21 days and then measure your blood pressure. Continuing it for 8-12 weeks along with healthy lifestyle choices (if needed- with herbs like gokshur, Arjun, etc) can reduce the dependency on anti-hypertensive pills for sure.”
“Always consult an ayurvedic doctor before starting the blood pressure medicines,” she concluded.