Celery and high blood pressure have gone hand in hand for many centuries in Asian cultures. But is there any evidence that celery is an effective treatment for hypertension? And how does it compare with beta-blockers?
Dr.William J. Elliott, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Preventive and Internal Medicine and Pharmacology at the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, WA, became intrigued when Vietnamese graduate student Quang T. Le mentioned that his father's high blood pressure had been successfully treated by a traditional Asian doctor who prescribed celery.
After Minh Le, 62 years old, ate two stalks of celery every day for a week, his blood pressure dropped from a high 158/96 to a normal 118/82.
Dr. Elliott made an "educated guess" about what chemical in celery might lower blood pressure.
He extracted the compound and gave it to rats with normal blood pressure. It worked.
Their systolic (upper number) blood pressure sank an average 12 to 14% when the animals were given celery extract for a couple of weeks. The doses were comparable to eating four stalks a day.
Their blood cholesterol levels also dropped seven points - about 14%. The pressure-lowering chemical is called 3-n-butyl phthalide (3nB) and gives celery its aroma.
Dr. Elliott says celery may be unique, because "the active blood-pressure lowering compound is found in rather high concentrations in celery, and not in many other vegetables".
Dr. Elliott speculates that the celery lowers blood pressure by reducing blood concentrations of stress hormones that cause blood vessels to constrict, enabling the vessels to open wider for blood flow.
He suggests celery may be most effective in those whose blood pressure is linked to mental stress, which could be up to half of all the Americans.
Which one would you rather take for the rest of your life?
It's puzzling to see that after more than 30 years of prescribing beta-blockers for high blood pressure, the medical establishment has produced no study showing that using them alone reduces the complications of high blood pressure or of cardiovascular deaths when compared to a placebo.
In all studies showing their effectiveness, beta-blockers were combined with a diuretic, a drug that helps you get rid of excess fluid - which is often one of the reasons for high blood pressure.
It turns out that celery and celery seeds have long been used for their diuretic properties and with no side effects.
Considering the benefits of celery for high blood pressure, why not include it in your diet as much as you can?
To have some suggestions on how to do that, have a look at the page on the health benefits of celery.
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