Using Cocoa in Reducing Hypertension1
Fruits and vegetables have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular health due to their flavonoid contents. Flavonoids influence nitric oxide which regulates vascular hemostasis and is helpful in reducing blood pressure by the relation of smooth muscle that lines our arteries.
Cocoa contains large amounts of flavonoids, the most important ones are epicatechin, catechin, and procyanidins. Studies have shown that epicatechins can be measured in the blood following the consumption of chocolate or cocoa products.
Epidemiological studies of groups with lower blood pressure which could be attributed to their intake of cocoa and chocolate. The blood pressure-lowering effect is connected to the increase in nitric oxide in plasma and urine. In addition there is improvement of flow-mediated dilation which indicates improved vascular function and reduced oxidative stress.
Sufficient amount of Nitrous Oxide bio availability is associated with normal vasodilation and blood pressure, while lowered Nitrous Oxide concentration lead to improved vasodilation and elevated blood pressure.
The Safety of Using Sage in Treating Hyperlipidemia1
Hyperlipidemia (abnormally high cholesterol or triglycerides) can cause cardiovascular disease. Because some people are resistant to conventional treatment, alternative treatment is necessary.
A double blind placebo controlled pilot study has been done that evaluated the efficacy and safety of sage leaf extract in treating primary hyperlipidemia. Male and female outpatients with newly diagnosed with primary hyperlipidemia participated in this study in Iran. Patients were excluded if they were taking antihyperlipidemic agents, estrogen, steroids, beta-blocker or thiazide. Patients were also excluded if they had cardiac disease, renal disease, hepatic disease, hematological disease, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, tachycardia, vertigo, seizure, or a history of gallstones or gall bladder surgery.
Sage was harvested in August from the western Mazandaran province, Iran and its identity was authenticated. The leaves were dried and made into a powder. The dried leaf powder dose of 500mg in a capsule or a placebo capsule was taken every 8 hours for 2 months. Blood was collected at baseline and at the end of the study. Cholesterol, HDL, LDL triglycerides, creatinine and liver function tests were evaluated.
The sage treatment group reduced total cholesterol by 19%, triglycerides by 22.8%, LDL by 19.7% compared to baseline. Sage increased HDL levels by 20.2% compared to baseline. There was no significant effect on liver function and creatinine levels.
1 Taken from Herb Clips from the American Botanical Council