More than a quarter of South African’s suffer from hypertension – a disease that requires the heart to pump harder in order to circulate blood through the body. Hypertension is a major cause of premature death and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.
One South African herb can help prevent and treat hypertension. Buchu – an indigenous plant used as traditional medicine by the KhoiSan people – contains a flavonoid called hesperidin, which scientists have pinpointed as playing an important role in preventing and treating hypertension.
Studies indicate that hesperidin can help protect against hypertension in several ways, from strengthening blood vessels to reducing cholesterol levels, explains Professor Patrick Bouic, an immunopathologic and medical researcher.
Healthy blood vessels
The flavonoids in Buchu can help capillaries stay elastic and impermeable, in turn assisting in the prevention of hypertension. Numerous studies have found evidence of this property of hesperidin, and it is thought that the flavonoid may keep blood vessels from becoming narrow and rigid, by inhibiting the action of certain enzymes.
“Studies dating back to 1939 found that hesperidin such as that found in Buchu improved capillary resistance,” says Bouic. “The research has confirmed that plant flavonoids like hesperidin reduce the permeability and fragility of capillary walls and may play an important role in preventing both hypertension and thrombosis.”
Hesperidin has been shown to lower “bad” cholesterol, which is a key ingredient in the plaque that can clog arteries. This build-up has been linked to hypertension and heart disease.
“Research has shown that hesperidin, as found in Buchu, significantly lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – the bad cholesterol – as well as total lipids and triglyceride levels. It simultaneously increases the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol,” explains Bouic.
Flushing out fluids
The diuretic effect of Buchu generally is widely known and documented and helps in the increased production of urine. Not only does this powerful property makes Buchu ideal for aiding in the body’s detoxification process, but it can also aid organs such as the kidneys and lower blood pressure, says Bouic.
“Diuretics can play an important role in managing hypertension. Put simply, excreting more fluid results in a lower volume of blood to pump through arteries, which in turn translates into lower blood pressure,” he explains.
A natural remedy
One of the drugs used to treat hypertension is calcium channel blockers. These drugs slow the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessel walls, in turn preventing build-up and widening blood vessels, making it easier for the heart to pump.
Buchu boasts natural alternative to these drugs, as evidence suggests that hesperidin may act as a natural calcium channel blocker, adds Bouic.
“Hypertension is a lifestyle disease and taking some steps to create healthier habits will go a long way in preventing and treating high blood pressure. These efforts can be supplemented with a natural remedy such as Buchu to offer the best results,” concludes Bouic.
Buchu is NOT a replacement for your medication. Consult with your doctor before stopping any treatment or medication.