Before I go ahead and talk about Aloe vera for blood pressure some basic about blood pressure itself in simple language. When our heart beats, blood is pumped into the arteries. The force with which the blood is pushed against arterial walls is called blood pressure. The pressure is the highest when the blood is pumped during each heart beat and is called systolic pressure. When the heart rests between each beat, the blood pressure drops and is called diastolic pressure.
Blood pressure is high when these two readings is equal to or greater than140/90. This is hypertension. The issue with high blood pressure is that it is not a disease in itself, but if you have high blood pressure you are a risk of having other serious problems. High blood pressure will not display symptoms but could cause serious health problems like heart attack, heart failure, stroke or kidney failure. It can be controlled by adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking appropriate medication. Low blood pressure (equal to or less than 120/80) could cause dizziness or fainting spells. Some people can live normal lives with low blood pressure.
Aloe Vera for Blood Pressure
The aloe vera plant, which grows mostly in tropical and subtropical countries, is a perennial plant that has juicy, spear-like, tough and fleshy leaves which hold plenty of water. This plant has been used for centuries to heal skin conditions like simple irritations, wounds or burns and constipation.
Each leaf contains the thick, clear gel in its inner part and latex which is found under the skin of the plant, both of which have medicinal properties. Aloe vera gel contains 99% water and the rest is made up of polysaccharides and glycoproteins, and other chemical constituents like amino acids, sterols, lipids, enzymes and tannins. Aloe vera also contains vitamins E, C, B12 and A. Vitamin C in particular is good to help with blood circulation and helps maintain normal functioning of blood vessels.
So, can aloe vera really help with blood pressure? I would say the answer is mixed and I am not very sure about it. There are some studies which indicate aloe vera can be of some help, but how much is still debatable. I would say, controlling blood pressure is not one of the key benefits aloe can provide. Anyways, here is what research studies say-
Those with hypertension (high blood pressure) are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Some studies have found that supplements with vitamin C could lower blood pressure. Aloe vera juice contains vitamin C. Collagen is an important factor needed by blood vessels. Vitamin C is required to make collagen. Various doses of vitamin C can lower blood pressure. One study found that 500mg vitamin C taken for 4 weeks caused a 9% lowering of systolic blood pressure. Further larger studies are recommended. Aloe vera juice can strengthen arteries and veins and therefore regulate blood pressure.
Aloe vera could be used as a natural remedy to control hypertension and even lower blood sugar due to the presence of polysaccharides and glycoproteins in it. But aloe vera seems ineffective if taken for short durations. One study was conducted on the effects of a single aloe vera oral dose on blood pressure measurements and electrocardiograph measurements. 16 healthy participants over 18 years were selected and given a placebo or oral aloe vera powder – 1200mg in a single dose. They were studied for one day. There blood pressure and electrocardiograph measurements were taken every 1, 3, 5 and 8 hours. There was not much variation in any measurement in both the placebo and aloe vera group. The conclusion was that aloe vera taken in a single dose for a day did not affect blood pressure or electrocardiograph measurements in healthy patients. Further studies over longer periods and with a different group of patients maybe required.
Some studies (1991, University of San Antonio) have found that when tested on animals, aloe vera taken daily could reduce the risk of kidney disease, heart disease and leukemia. The animals consuming aloe vera juice seemed to live longer than the control group. Since one side effect of high blood pressure is heart disease, aloe vera juice may help maintain a healthy heart when taken in appropriate doses.
Aloe vera is usually safe when applied externally on the skin and taken orally by adults. Anyone with allergy to plants of the Lily family – tulips, garlic, onions – must avoid aloe vera. It is always good to consult a doctor if you wish to consume aloe vera juice for blood pressure. Long term use of oral aloe latex could cause electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised against taking oral aloe vera products. Aloe vera supplements could interact with drugs prescribed for the heart, steroids, diabetes or laxatives.