Garlic may affect blood pressure

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

April 08, 2001|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

Q. I've had high blood pressure since 1985 and have taken many drugs, including Vasotec, Maxzide and others. All of them have side effects such as dry mouth or hair loss, and none has been effective at getting my lower number below 90.

About two years ago, I heard about taking garlic for blood pressure. I take two pills a day. For more than a year, my blood pressure has been around 135 / 80. I swear by garlic, even though the doctors say it's not very effective.

A. Preliminary research in animals and humans suggests that garlic may have a modest effect, especially on diastolic blood pressure (the lower number). Garlic cannot substitute for prescribed medication, however, and garlic supplements may interact with some prescription drugs to increase the risk of bleeding. Nevertheless, adding fresh garlic to food is certainly a reasonable approach.

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