`Garlic controls blood pressure`

Washington: Suffering from hypertension?
Try out garlic as an adjunct to conventional drugs, for a new
study claims that it controls blood pressure levels.

An international team, led by Dr Karin Ried at
the University of Adelaide, has found garlic extract can help
treat high blood pressure, the `Maturitas` scientific journal
reported in its latest edition.

However, raw or cooked garlic, and garlic powder
are not as effective in treating high blood pressure as aged
garlic extract, says the study.

In a 12-week trial, involving 50 people, the
team found that those with systolic blood pressure above 140
who took aged garlic extract capsules experienced an average
systolic blood pressure 10.2 mm Hg lower than the control
group, who took a placebo.

"This reduction is clinically significant, as a
drop in systolic blood pressure by 5 mm Hg reduces the risk of
cardiovascular disease by 8 to 20 per cent.

"Garlic is thought to have an antihypertensive
effect because it stimulates production of certain chemical
substances called nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulphide
(H2S), which helps relax blood vessels," Dr Ried said.

He added: "High blood pressure is an important risk
factor for cardiovascular disease. About 30 per cent of adults
in Australia are hypertensive, yet only half that number are
on BP medication and 60 per cent of those who are receiving
treatment are inadequately controlled.

"This shows there is plenty of scope to explore
the use of garlic as an effective treatment option for people
suffering hypertension."


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