Managing High Blood Pressure With Chinese Medicine

February 5, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Menispermum has been shown to lower blood pressure  (Borealis55/Wikemedia)
Menispermum has been shown to lower blood pressure (Borealis55/Wikemedia)
Chinese medicine aims to correct the cause of high blood pressure—this is what “keeping blood pressure down in the right way” means.

Specialist in Chinese medicine Dr. Alex Perry from the Blue Sky Clinic, Canberra, says: “Chinese medicine would like to try—particularly in looking at the etiology of disease—[to] determine where the problem is coming from. If you can narrow it down to perhaps lifestyle or emotional factors, then you have a better approach than just lowering the blood pressure. …”

Perry said, “There is a very strong mind-body connection. What is happening mentally, emotionally, [and] physically has a profound effect on physiology; high blood pressure is a good example.”

Lifestyle factors, including alcohol consumption, can influence blood pressure.

Herbal Treatments

There are numerous Chinese medicinal herbs used to treat high blood pressure. Their aim is to make the kidney excrete more urine; dilate blood vessels; regulate the nervous, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems; and regulate the blood supply of the internal organs and the brain.

The Shanghai Institute of Hypertension screened 498 medicinal herbs and found 136—including Stephania root, Apocynus lancifolium, Menispermum dauricum, Clerodendreon trichotomum, Uncaria sinensis, and Pheretima asperillum—and 56 herbal formulas that help lower blood pressure.

Perry said there were up to 20 different herbs that can be used in different combinations that act by soothing or pacifying the liver.

Ginseng has also been studied, and it has been found to either lower or raise blood pressure, so high blood pressure sufferers should consult their physicians before using it. Other treatments include cupping, qigong, and acupuncture.

“We generally do a combination of acupuncture and herbal treatment. Some Chinese medical practitioners use acupuncture alone; some use herbal medicine alone; some use a combination.”

However, Perry said, “In some cases where hypertension is quite dangerous, medication from Western medicine is perhaps more appropriate.”

Dr. Benjamin Kong from Sweden and Dr. Xiu Zhou from Germany are the principal editors of the China Research Group.