What's Cooking with Garlic: Is This Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Hypertension?

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PurposeTo define complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); describe one type of CAM, garlic (Allium sativum L); and discuss its effects on blood pressure as a treatment for hypertension.Data sourcesLiterature review from professional journals, abstracts, natural therapy books, and the World Wide Web (Internet). Information from the following professional organizations and agencies: The World Health Organization, Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, National Cancer Institute, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, American Botanical Council, and Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.ConclusionGarlic is widely used throughout the world as a CAM. It is one of the most popular herbal products sold in the United States. However, while some studies have shown small positive effects in reducing blood pressure, there are insufficient scientific data to draw conclusions regarding its efficacy on clinical blood pressure outcomes. Thus, healthcare providers should be cautious in recommending this herbal product as an antihypertensive CAM.Implications for practiceCAMs may be used by clients for a variety of conditions including hypertension. Healthcare providers must be cognizant of the use, efficacy, adverse affects, and scientific evidence concerning CAM in order to provide safe and effective practice as well as appropriate and accurate information to their clients.

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