Hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal diseases which are together among the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality in the world. Despite the availability of a wide range of effective medicines, many individuals suffering from hypertension use plant-derived preparations for treating their disease. The choice for these alternatives is often associated with the closer relationship of such approaches to specific social, cultural, and religious perceptions about health and disease. However, in most cases, the scientific evidence for clinical efficacy of such medications is scant. The Republic of Suriname is a middle-income country in South America with a relatively high prevalence of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. This country harbors descendants of all continents, all of whom have preserved their cultural customs including their ethnopharmacological traditions. As a result, many Surinamese are inclined to treat their diseases including hypertension as they have done for centuries, that is, with plant-based preparations. This chapter has compiled the plants used for treating hypertension in Suriname; extensively evaluates 15 commonly used plants for potential efficacy on the basis of available phytochemical, mechanistic, preclinical, and clinical literature data; and closes with conclusions about their potential usefulness against the disease.
Part of the book: Herbal Medicine