Indian Spices Found to Reduce High Blood Pressure in Rats

September 15, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. hypertension /ˌhaɪ pərˈtɛn ʃən/ (n.) – a medical condition in which the blood pressure is very high
Example: My mother takes medicine for hypertension.

2. spearhead /ˈspɪərˌhɛd/  (v.) – to lead or head an event, activity, or project
Example: The doctor spearheaded the campaign to promote herbal medicine. 

3. regenerate /rɪˈdʒɛn əˌreɪt/ (v.) – to reproduce or to replace something
Example: Human cells have the ability to regenerate by themselves.

4. susceptible  /səˈsɛp tə bəl/ (adj.) – likely to be influenced or affected by another thing
Example: Studies suggest that people who are always stressed are susceptible to cancer.

5. treatable /ˈtri tə bəl/ (adj.) – referring to something that can be cured, especially by medicine
Example: The diseases that were formerly incurable are now treatable, thanks to advanced technology.


Read the text below.
A group of Indian researchers have proven that a mixture of curry spices could reduce hypertension after a successful laboratory experiment in rats.

Cardiologist S Thanikachalam, who spearheaded the experiment, and his team combined five common Indian ingredients, including ginger, cardamom, cumin, pepper, and lotus petals. His research team then tested the mixture on rats induced with high blood pressure.

Positive results were visible in the rats induced with high blood pressure. Thanikachalam stated that after trying the medicine on rats, their blood pressure dropped and their oxidative stress was also reduced. The researchers also found that the spices could also lower renovascular hypertension—a medical condition in which the arteries in the kidneys are narrowed.  

A study conducted in February 2011 also suggested that Indian spices may have health benefits. In that particular study, the scientists developed a hybrid drug made from turmeric powder and tested it on animals. Results showed that this ingredient could help regenerate brain cells after a stroke.   

Genetically, Indians are susceptible to high blood pressure. According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four people in Indian cities are diagnosed with the disease. Although hypertension is considered a treatable illness, the medicine is usually costly. In addition, the side effects prevent other patients from regularly taking medication.

This is why Thanikachalam and his team looked at ancient Indian medical literature for a possible remedy. Thanikachalam added that the treatment they found has not been scientifically approved, but it has been handed down from one generation to the other.

If this medicine is developed, it could offer a cheaper alternative to many people who suffer from hypertension.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you take the medicine mentioned in the article if you had hypertension? Why or why not?
·         What do you think could be the disadvantage of taking this medicine? Please explain.

Discussion B

·         What ancient treatment do people in your country still use as alternative medicine?
·         Do you think alternative medicine is effective? Why or why not?

September 15, 2014