Understanding Blood Pressure – Do We Really Need Risky Blood Pressure Meds?

High blood pressure is not an instant death sentence. The goal of maintaining blood pressure levels at or near 140/80 (or more recently, 115/75) is based on hype, not science. These numbers are designed to sell drugs by converting healthy people into patients.

Rising blood pressure is a normal process of aging and does not require drug intervention even when it reaches 140/80. The exception would be rising blood pressure resulting from kidney disease. Otherwise, small increases in blood pressure are a completely normal part of the aging process. Medical literature shows that as we age, blood pressure rises slightly, probably to accommodate an increased need for oxygen and nutrients.

For instance, smokers usually carry a higher blood pressure. They are naturally getting less oxygen. The body responds to lowered oxygen intake by increasing blood pressure to deliver oxygen faster. Aging can trigger the same type of response.

Due to a number of hormonal factors, we don’t distribute oxygen or nutrients as efficiently as we age. The best way to compensate for this is with increased blood pressure. The kidneys regulate this with a complex hormonal system that monitors our cardiovascular needs. And the slight age-related increase in blood pressure does not put us at risk of early death. In fact it aids our survival.

If high blood pressure were dangerous, then lowering it with hypertension drugs would increase lifespan. Yet, I couldn’t find a single clinical trial showing that hypertension medications increased lifespan along users of these drugs when compared to nonusers.  In fact, many times, low blood pressure decreased it. It is completely natural for the first number (systolic) to be 100 plus our age.

Before you take on risky meds, you’ll want to know about the naturally occurring medicine that can bust clots, control blood pressure, and at the same time, strengthen the heart!

Hawthorn Busts Clots, Controls Blood Pressure and Strengthens the Heart

While there is never one sure way to avoid blood clots and the subsequent events of heart attack or stroke, you do have an alternative. And using it won’t ruin the quality of life while robbing you of your retirement money. It is called hawthorn, and it is nature’s forgotten cardiovascular cure.

Unlike cardiovascular drugs, hawthorn doesn’t “melt” the cardiovascular system and isn’t toxic, which means it will not cause any adverse effects. 1 It’s also one of the most hottest areas of research because it provides one method for treating the entire array of cardiovascular complications that can arise as we age. Not only does hawthorn bust clots, but it also controls blood pressure and strengthens the heart.

To understand the magnitude of benefit from hawthorn, simply consider one of its ingredients, flavonoids. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a 20 percent decrease in the risk of death from heart disease among those who consumed at least 7.5 milligrams of flavonoids daily. This risk reduction is far better than that seen with the oft-prescribed cardiovascular drugs. You can expect hawthorn to be significantly better.

The flavonoids along with all the other cardiovascular cures in hawthorn, work synergistically to confer total cardiovascular health. Once ingested, they bust risky clots, thanks to their ability to “lightly” prevent the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin. Doing so will not paralyze the blood-clotting cascade as commonly used drugs do, but it will fend off rogue blood clots. Further protection from clots comes from hawthorn’s ability to relax the spaghetti-sized arteries around the heart, leaving space for safe clot passage. Hawthorn’s ingredients also increase the force of heartbeats, Taking stress off the heart, this lengthens the time that the heart rests between beats.

All of the benefits from hawthorn translate into the clinically significant prevention of chronic cardiovascular and heart conditions. 2 Hawthorn can successfully be used to treat heart failure (the heart’s inability to pump blood efficiently), hypertension (artery constriction), angina (chest pain from decreased blood flow to the heart), excess blood clotting, and cardiac arrhythmias (disturbances of normal heart rhythm). 3

Amazon sells Swanson brand hawthorn berry for about $7.98. Manufactured under FDA approved good manufacturing practices, Swanson’s hawthorn berry has no adulterants or excess fillers, based on my independent lab analysis.

Hawthorn is known scientifically as Crataegus oxyacantha. Look for that name when buying the “berry” form. What’s important is that you don’t buy a high-priced extract that contains a large amount of any single ingredient. The synergy of all the ingredients is what makes hawthorn special.

If you are going to take hawthorn, commit to taking it long term because its benefits do not show up immediately. You may need up to six weeks to start feeling benefits. Taking it at the right time and the right dosage can shorten this time.

The best time to take hawthorn is on an empty stomach, about an hour before exercise, and then again at bedtime. This will help ensure the active ingredients are broken down properly in the stomach and distributed in the blood stream. By administering hawthorn before exercise, you are helping to relax the cardiovascular system. That will help maximize your workouts as seen by increased exercise tolerance. Taking hawthorn before bedtime will help to relax your muscles, increase oxygen uptake, and provide deeper sleep.

The best dose for standardized hawthorn (1-3 percent bioflavanoids) is about 15-20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight two to three times per day. That means that a 150 pound person would take two to three capsules, twice daily.

If you are taking any cardiovascular drugs, you’ll want to monitor your cardiovascular system very closely with your doctor. Since hawthorn is so effective, it can potentiate (increase the power, effect, or likelihood of something, especially a drug or physiological reaction) all drugs that target blood clots, hypertension, and the heart and increase their side effects. It’s best to “go natural” first and choose cardiovascular drugs only in emergency situations, at which time you would abstain from hawthorn to reduce the chances of suffering from adverse drug reactions.

Blood Thickness Testing and Blood Clot Risk

If you have existing cardiovascular problems or feel that you may already have a high risk for heart attack and stroke, you should consider having your blood thickness measured. This will help provide you with an evaluation of clot risk. and it can also set an important benchmark as a you work to lower your risk factors.

For the best accuracy, blood viscosity must be measured at peak-systole (when blood is moving the fastest and is thinner) and at end-diastole (when blood moves slowly and red blood cells aggregate).

Meridian Valley Laboratories offers a testing service called “The Whole Blood Viscosity Profile”. It provides the most accurate measurement of blood viscosity available anywhere and can help anyone to determine their risk for heart disease and track the effectiveness of hawthorn or any other treatment.

Magnesium and Aspirin

Hawthorn should only be one part of your total cardiovascular health plan. Supplementing your diet with plenty of magnesium-rich foods like organic sunflower seeds, almonds and cashews, while getting rid of excess body fat, are two proven methods of warding off poor cardiovascular function.

Interestingly enough, aspirin studies prove the cardiovascular benefits of magnesium supplementation. When I read the major studies used to rationalize widespread aspirin use, I noticed that in the studies showing aspirin to be effective they did not use aspirin alone. Most used buffered aspirin that contained magnesium. Early studies sowing aspirin to be dangerous and ineffective used only aspirin. Thus, the magnesium present in the pill may have been responsible for the beneficial effects of heart attack and stroke prevention, not aspirin.

Recent research highlighted by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University indicates that magnesium supplementation (about 500 to 1,000 milligrams daily as magnesium citrate or naturally obtained from pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews and green leafy vegetables) helps arteries relax and constrict as needed. That means rogue blood clots can pass safely if formed. Even better, this regimen also led to a highly significant 35 percent reduction in the ability of blood to clot within the arteries. 12 Aspirin or magnesium? You choose.

Lethargy, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, internal bleeding, and even cancer await regular cardiovascular drug users. Hawthorn supplementation along with magnesium supplementation and a suitable body fat percentage will give you a healthy cardiovascular system that doesn’t have to be complicated, risky or expensive.

Excerpted from “Over the Counter Natural Cures, Expanded Edition” by Shane Ellison, M.S.

Shane Ellison, M.S. – Medicinal Chemist, author of “Over the Counter Natural Cures, Expanded Edition: Take Charge of Your Health in 30 Days with 10 Lifesaving Supplements for under $10 “. Shane is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant for his studies in biochemistry and physiology and has been a contributor and quoted by USA Today, OnFitness, Woman’s World, Women’s Health, and Women’s Day.
Founder of ThePeoplesChemist.com

Medical Disclaimer:

The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained in this article are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your physical health require medical supervision. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this article.


1. Michael Tauchert. “Efficacy and safety of crataegus extract WS 1442 in comparison with placebo in patients with chronic stable New York Heart Association Class III heart failure.” American Heart Journal 2002; 143(5):910-915

2.Ann Walker, et al. “Promising hypotensive effect of hawthorn extract: a randomized double-blind pilot study of mild, essential hypertension.” Phytotherapy research. 2002; 16(1):48-54

3. Marilyn Barrett. The handbook of Clinically Tested Herbal Remedies, Vol. 2. Hawthorn Herbal Press. 2004


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