Affordable drug to treat hypertension from Indian spices

Chennai, June 25, 2014:

An animal study done by scientists in Chennai has revealed that spices and condiments that are commonly used in Indian soups, curries, and rasam, when taken in a specific proportion with white lotus petals, can lower blood pressure.

The Siddha drug ‘venthamarai chooranam,’ which is a mixture of cardamom, ginger, cumin seeds, long pepper (thippili), dill (sada kuppi), licorice (adimadhuram) and white lotus petal was able to lower blood pressure in rats during laboratory experiments. Doctors at the Sri Ramachandra University are now preparing for a more extensive animal study and clinical trials of the Siddha drug. The findings have been published in the science journal Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Indians are genetically predisposed to hypertension as one in four Indians in cities suffer from the disorder. The incidence is about 15 percent in the rural population. Cardiologist Dr. S Thanikachalam, who led the research, stated: “Every time I see a patient’s case sheet, I underline four causes – smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.” People with hypertension are mostly treated with allopathic drugs, but dropouts are high because many find the drugs expensive, and some suffer from side effects. “So, we decided to look at the ancient Indian medical literature for answers,” he said.

Scientists had first tried out the Siddha powder on rats and have found it useful. “When we gave this chooranam for 63 days, and the blood pressure dropped,” said C Saravana Babu, a toxicologist who was a part of the research. The drug was successful in making healthy changes in the genes, tissues, and blood vessels as per pathological reports. The herbal medicine will be put to further animal and human tests before it can be given to humans, Dr. Thanikachalam said.