High Blood Pressure and Eastern Medicine
Healthy Living Blog
By Rachelle Tetreault
There are approximately 70 million people with hypertension, commonly refereed to as high blood pressure, in the United States. Hypertension is considered to be a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher. Over the age of 80 years of age, 150/90 mmHg or higher is deemed hypertension. To maintain a systolic and diastolic of 120/80 mmHg and below is recommended as the target level. With an elevated blood pressure, there is a greater risk for stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and other circulatory disorders. Hypertension is often asymptomatic but some may also experience symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and flushed face. Other signs can be nose bleeds (epistaxis), fatigue, and/or nervousness.
The main therapeutic actions for treating hypertension are induce vasodilation to increase blood perfusion, and diuretic effects to increase water elimination thereby lowering blood pressure. Eastern Medicine therapeutically treats hypertension by nourishing liver and kidney yin, clearing heat, calming the liver yang, and extinguishing liver wind. Herbal remedies for hypertension help decrease peripheral vascular resistance, dilate the blood vessels, promote diuresis, relieve spasms of blood vessels, and thereby effectively lowering blood pressure while nourishing the liver and kidney yin deficiency which often exists. There are many acupuncture points and clinical research herbal pharmaceuticals which can effectively keep blood pressure in normal range and treat the underlying causes rather than just eliminating the symptoms.
There are many factors which contribute to hypertension. These include diet, obesity, stress, lack of exercise, and pre-existing conditions. We know stress plays a big role in our blood pressure and how we react to situations. Meditation and tai chi practices will be helpful in lowering these trigger points as well as maintaining a positive outlook. Regular exercise, like walking, will improve circulation and help maintain proper weight to help reduce the risk of hypertension. Avoid smoking, spicy foods, excess caffeine, and fatty or fried foods are vital to maintain normal levels.
A lot can be accomplished with nutrition like eliminating salt, MSG, aspartame, and many preservatives. Having a diet full of fresh, raw vegetables and fruits is a key role in using vitamin C and bioflavonoids to lower blood pressure and stabilize blood vessel walls. Celery juice and mushroom broth soup daily is a regimen utilized by sages of Traditional Chinese Medicine to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Chrysanthemum flower tea is also very helpful especially if the individual is showing signs of heat.
Though Western Medicine can be very potent in suppressing blood pressure, there are a great many side effects and ultimately do not change the underlying constitution of the patient. Medications like beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, Ca+ channel blockers must be used continuously actually without treating the patient as a whole. In TCM, hypertension may be characterized by both excess and deficiency. Excess refers to Liver yang rising, and deficiency refers to both Liver and Kidney yin deficiency. Both conditions are often combined and can be treated effectively with both acupuncture and herbal therapy.
Acupuncture points are selected on both the liver and kidney meridians to help balance the body. Other meridians are also often utilized to clear heat, nourish liver and kidney yin, calm liver yang, extinguish liver wind, and overall lower blood pressure. Treatment of Masked Hypertension with a Chinese Herbal Formula from Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that in Traditional Chinese Medicine was effective in lowering blood pressure published originally in October 2020. In the Journal Medical Acupuncture, a study at the University of California showed that acupuncture can indeed lower blood pressure.
Research in acupuncture is becoming more available in an ancient medicine that has been in use for over 3,000 years. Acupuncture uses thin, cat whisker size needles to stimulate one or more out of hundreds of specific points on the body. Board certified Eastern Medicine physicians utilize research-based protocols to help treat certain disorders like hypertension. Utilizing herbal therapy combined with acupuncture helps expedite the results. Regular logging of blood pressure is important and self monitoring is encouraged at home as well. With combined efforts of balancing the body, nourishing the deficiencies, lifestyle modifications, nutrition additives, much can be accomplished to maintain normal blood pressure.
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To learn more visit: The National Library of Medicine: Role of Natural Herbs in the Treatment of Hypertension