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High Blood Pressure

Fresh garlic & high blood pressure

04/04/2008

Question:

I have high blood pressure and am on medication to control the blood pressure. However, periodically I have blood pressure spikes for a few days of up to 160/90 even while on medication 100/12.5 mg Hyzaar, 50mg Toprol Xl and 100mg cozaar. and then after a few days it will go back to the 120/80 range. I heard that fresh garlic can decrease high blood pressure. My blood pressure spiked to 154/84 a few days ago and I did take some fresh garlic. In one hour the Bp decreased to 122/76. Question is it safe to take fresh garlic to lower Bp spikes? Is garlic a blood thinner? Also should I be concerned with these BP spikes that occur 2 or 3 times monthly. My doctor saya that spikes are normal at my age of 60. Thank you.

Answer:

The effect of garlic on blood pressure has been studied, but the experiments were not properly controlled, and solid data are simply not available.  Even if garlic were effective, there is no information as to dose, half-life, side effects etc.   The same is true regarding the effect of garlic as a blood thinner.

In your case, you could consider switching from Toprol XL to a calcium channel blocker.  It is usually best to use long acting drugs that can be taken once a day, to minimize blood pressure variations.  Rare isolated spikes of blood pressure are generally harmless.

For more information:

Go to the High Blood Pressure health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati