People have used herbs as medicine for thousands of years. Today, with medical researchers continually hunting for better alternative treatments, some are revisiting these remedies. A recent study looks at herbs that people believe can treat hypertension.
For these reasons, researchers are keen to find innovative ways to tackle the growing issue of hypertension.
Some scientists are turning back the clock and looking to ancient herbal remedies. Humans have been self-medicating with the herbs that they find since before history began.
The fact that people have used these treatments for millennia is certainly not evidenced that they are effective, but they are surely worth a second look.
Researchers from the University of California, Irvine recently zeroed in on a group of plants that have, historically, been a treatment for hypertension. They published their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The scientists took herbal extracts from a diverse range of unrelated plants, including lavender, fennel seed extract, basil, thyme, marjoram, ginger, and chamomile.
Not All Herbs Are Equal
When they compared plant species, the researchers found differing levels of KCNQ5 activity. “Lavandula angustifolia, commonly called lavender, was among those we studied,” Prof. Abbot explains. “We discovered it to be among the most efficacious KCNQ5 potassium channel activators, along with fennel seed extract and chamomile.”
Next, the scientists drilled down to determine which plant compound is responsible for activating the potassium channel.
Interestingly, current medications do not target the KCNQ5 channel. Spotting this gap in the drug market, Prof. Abbott hopes that the “discovery of these botanical KCNQ5-selective potassium channel openers may enable the development of future targeted therapies for diseases including hypertension.”