OCT 07, 2019 7:00 PM PDT

The Three Common Herbs Combating High Blood Pressure: Molecular Mechanism Revealed

WRITTEN BY: Nupur Srivastava

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a severe health condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 of 3 U.S. adults—or about 75 million people—have high blood pressure. Many young people, too, are diagnosed with high blood pressure. High blood pressure patients are at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease and stroke, leading to death.

Dietary and lifestyle changes help in lowering blood pressure, but medications are more effective. Conventional blood pressure medications or anti-hypertensives have several side effects. 

Why are herbs considered more effective than conventional antihypertensive therapy?

The drawbacks of using antihypertensive medications are:

  • higher costs of antihypertensive drugs 
  • not readily available and accessible
  • the undesired side effects the drugs, and
  • the reduced patient compliance to consuming more than a pill per day 

The medical researchers are, therefore, making serious efforts towards identifying local plants with high blood pressure reducing therapeutic values. The researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), US, identified a group of plants used in treatment for hypertension since ancient times. 

"Lavandula angustifolia, commonly called lavender, was among those studied. We discovered it to be among the most effective KCNQ5 potassium channel activators, along with fennel seed extract and chamomile,” says Geoff Abbott, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the UCI School of Medicine and senior investigator on the study. 

Molecular mechanism of the antihypertensive action of the herbs 

The research group found that the identified herbs activate a particular potassium channel called KCNQ5. This potassium channel and other channels, KCNQ1 and KCNQ4, are expressed in the vascular smooth muscles lining the arteries.

With the vascular smooth muscle contraction, blood pressure increases; and blood pressure drops with their relaxation. The activation of KCNQ5 channels results in muscle relaxation. The authors believe that this might help explain some herbs' antihypertensive properties.

Abbott hopes that the discovery of these botanical KCNQ5-selective potassium channel openers may enable the progression in future targeted therapies for diseases including hypertension and KCNQ5 loss-of-function encephalopathy. The scientists noted that this action was not present in new anti-hypertensive medication, and unrecognized by most conventional screening techniques used to build chemical libraries.

The extracts from these and other such ancient plants activating the potassium channels can lead to the development of new antihypertensive medications in the future.

Sources: CDC, UCI School of Medicine, PNAS

About the Author
You May Also Like
SEP 05, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
SEP 05, 2019
Muscular Dystrophy Drug by Sarepta Therapeutics: Approval or Rejection by Drug Regulating Authorities?
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD is a rare, genetic disorder that hampers muscle movement and is the most common pediatric muscular dystrophy. I...
SEP 09, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
SEP 09, 2019
Brush Your Teeth for a Better Memory
What is good oral hygiene??? What will happen if you do not follow this important healthcare ritual? You are right.......DENTAL CAVITIES and GUM DISEASES.&...
SEP 13, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
SEP 13, 2019
Apple Watch New Research App: A Boon to Women's Health
The Apple company, in 2018, enrolled more than 400,000 people in its Apple Heart Study conducted in partnership with Stanford University researchers....
SEP 22, 2019
Technology
SEP 22, 2019
Blood Incubation Using Laser Technology
The world’s first ever blood incubator was developed using laser technology and could someday prevent fatal blood transfusions in critically ill pati...
FEB 05, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 05, 2020
A new CRISPR-based test for coronavirus infections
A surge in infections has caused panic surrounding the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak to reach a fever pitch. Despite being only moderately infective, 20...
FEB 21, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 21, 2020
Diagnosing COVID-19
Diagnosing coronavirus is done through next-generation sequencing, real-time RT-PCR tests, cell culture, and electron miscopy. For patients, that translate...
Loading Comments...