Hypertension Treatments Alternative Natural Medicine

Alternative medicine offers some possible treatments for hypertension, including nutritional supplements, relaxation techniques and herbal remedies. While some elements of holistic medicine are understudied, others are proving themselves to be possible treatments of hypertension.

Nutrition and Complementary Medicine

Changes to diet and nutrition can lower high blood pressure. Dietary changes are often the first line of treatment in Western medicine’s approach to hypertension. Eating a low fat, low sodium diet high in fruits, vegetables and fiber is a cornerstone of blood pressure control.

It’s not surprising, then, that holistic medicine often turns to dietary supplements to treat hypertension. While nutritional supplements are no substitute for a healthy diet, a number of supplements have been identified that may lower blood pressure, including:

  • Calcium
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Vitamin C.

Omega-3 fatty acids and the dietary supplement L-arginine have also been linked to minor reductions in blood pressure. Be aware that, while generally considered safe, these nutritional supplements could interact with hypertension prescription medications, and high doses could prove harmful. Also, some of these supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Talk to your doctor before taking any natural medicine supplements.

Herbal Remedies and Alternative Natural Medicine

Herbal remedies for hypertension should be approached with caution. While complementary medicine places great importance on herbal remedies, few studies prove the safety and efficiency of herbal treatments of hypertension.

Herbs used to lower blood pressure include:

  • Ginseng
  • Hawthorn
  • Mistletoe
  • Snakeroot
  • Tetrandrine.

All of these herbs come with potential health risks, especially in high doses (mistletoe, for instance, can be toxic). Herbs can also interact dangerously with some hypertension medications, and the purity of herbal products is often suspect. Be cautious that some of these compounds may have different names or slang terms. It’s important that you consult with your doctor before attempting to treat high blood pressure with any herbal remedy.

Be aware, as well, that many herbal remedies can actually increase your blood pressure. People with hypertension should avoid ephedra (Ma Huang), licorice and yohimbine because of the herbs’ potential blood pressure raising properties.

Meditation and Natural Medicine

Meditation techniques hold promise as treatment for hypertension. Transcendental meditation, for instance, appears to have an effect on hypertension. As far back as 1995, a study in the journal Hypertension indicated that transcendental meditation reduces systolic blood pressure by over ten points and diastolic pressure by over six points in older African Americans (a high-risk group for hypertension).

Further study is needed to prove or disprove the efficiency of relaxation techniques as a treatment of hypertension. Medication, tai chi, yoga, Qigong and progressive relaxation are, however, noninvasive and come with minimal risks, making them worth pursuing for their possible benefits.

As gentle tai chi, yoga and Qigong may seem, it’s still recommended that people consult with their health provider before starting any exercise program. Exercise is itself recommended for lower blood pressure. These activities are often well-suited to older patients and those with limited mobility.

Chiropractic Therapy and Acupuncture

Other natural medicine therapies claim success in the treatment of hypertension. Both chiropractic therapy and acupuncture claim to lower blood pressure. As with many holistic medicines, however, few formal studies support or deny these claims.

Ultimately, the most effective natural medicines for hypertension are lifestyle changes already recommended by doctors. A proper diet, regular exercise and stress reduction are healthy, natural treatments for anyone with high blood pressure.

Resource

Cardiology Channel Staff. (2009). Naturopathic treatment. Retrieved February 2, 2010, from the Cardiology Channel Web site: http://www.cardiologychannel.com/hypertension/treatment_naturopathic.shtml.