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February 19, 2003

Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent HypertensionLifestyle Modifications to Prevent Hypertension

JAMA. 2003;289(7):843-844. doi:10.1001/jama.289.7.843-a

To the Editor: Dr Whelton and colleagues1 advocate several lifestyle modifications, such as adequate exercise and conscientious dietary choices, to prevent hypertension. We welcome this greater emphasis on personal choice in maintaining health. It is unfortunate, however, that the authors disparaged the broad class of "herbal or botanical dietary supplements." Their list of 10 "herbs" includes 4 ingredients that are not, in fact, herbs (glucosamine, lecithin, chondroitin, and creatine). Of the 6 substances correctly identified as herbal, 3 (ginkgo, Asian ginseng, and garlic) have been the subject of at least some scientific inquiry in relation to hypertension. While more studies may be needed, it is inaccurate to state that "[f]ew clinical trial reports are available" to support use of these herbs for this purpose.