There are a host of environmental factors that predispose individuals to high blood pressure, but diet is an equally important precursor. Foods high in sodium may be detrimental to blood pressure because they cause the body to hold on to water, which exerts pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. Certain types of herbs added to meals have been shown to be highly effective in helping to reduce hypertension risk.
Basil is a herb which adds flavour to most dishes coming in various forms.
It is a popular alternative medicine due to its various powerful compounds.
Sweet basil is high in eugenol with research linking its antioxidant to many health benefits, including lowered blood pressure.
Studies suggest that eugenol may help reduce blood pressure by acting as a natural calcium channel blocker.
Plants high in eugenol, a phenylpropanoid compound, are used as folk medicines to alleviate diseases including hypertension.
READ MORE: Gloria Hunniford health: Presenter’s diagnosis came as a ‘huge shock’
A study published in the National Library of Health, eugenol’s ability to dilate arteries by inhibiting smooth muscle cell voltage-dependent calcium channels was analysed.
The study demonstrated that eugenol dilates arteries constricted by either pressure or membrane depolarisation in a concentration-dependent manner.
“Our data indicate that eugenol dilates cerebral arteries by means of multimodal inhibition of voltage-dependent Ca channels,” noted the study.
Systolic, diastolic, mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate were recorded.
The results indicated that aerial parts of parsley extract decreased the systolic, diastolic, mean arterial blood pressure in normotensive and hypertensive rats.
“The study illustrates the beneficial action of Petroselinum crispum as an antihypertensive agent,” concluded the study.
The study also showed that parsley reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by acting like a calcium channel blocker — a type of medication that helps relax and dilate blood vessels.