Avocado leaves have long been used as a natural remedy by indigenous cultures around the world. It has also been used as an herbal remedy for other conditions such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, and cancer. While they contain several antioxidants and vitamins, they have not been thoroughly studied for their health benefits.
In recent years, researchers have conducted studies to investigate the possible benefits of avocado leaves on the cardiovascular system. Several of these studies have shown promising results.
The following review will discuss some of the findings from these studies and provide an overview of what we do know about the use of avocado leaves as a natural remedy for high blood pressure.
A 2022 study on Avocado Leaves
We know that avocados are good for the heart because they contain monounsaturated fats, which lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. But did you know that avocado leaves can also help reduce blood pressure?
There are approximately 1.28 billion individuals in the world who have hypertension, which is a non-communicable disease that affects the heart and blood vessels. In the past, hypertension was not very widespread, but it has recently become more prevalent (1).
A study published in February 2022 by the University of Ibadan, one of Nigeria's leading research centers, looked at the effects of avocado leaves on blood pressure. Researchers conducted a study on rats to determine whether or not avocado leaf extract could help reduce blood pressure levels. The results were positive: The extract caused a significant reduction in blood pressure levels and heart rate while observing an average drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in rats (2).
Preparation and Method of Research
The researchers began by collecting fresh leaves of Persea americana (avocado tree) from the university campus and identifying them using macroscopic features. Next, they extracted and partitioned the plant material using methanol/distilled water (95/5%). After 48 hours, with occasional shaking, they collected the liquid and tested it to see if it contained any useful compounds.
They found that this process yielded several active ingredients, including phenolic acids and flavonoids which have been shown in previous studies to have antihypertensive effects.
In a lab setting, Wistar rats were given the extract and fractions of a methanol extract of Persea americana leaves. The rats were pre-treated with the extract or fractions and then challenged with noradrenaline, which caused an increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressures. The rats that received the extract or fractions experienced a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate compared to those who did not receive any treatment.
The Findings of The Research
In this study, researchers examined the effects of Persea americana leaf extract on blood pressure in rats. They concluded that the extract lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure and mean arterial pressure (MAP).
The most abundant phytochemicals in the leaves were 8-hexadecenal, 14-methyl-, (Z)-, 11-tetradecyn-1ol acetate, and cyclopropane carboxaldehyde. These findings suggest that these compounds play a role in the antihypertensive properties of avocado leaves.
The researchers noted that this is the first time that scientists have studied the health benefits of avocado leaves. They believe that further research should be conducted to determine whether or not avocado leaf extract can also help humans lower their blood pressure levels.