According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension is a type of heart disease consisting of a series of symptoms characterized by an increase of blood pressure in the arteries. Hypertension often strike adults whose systolic pressure is above 140 mmHg and/or diastolic pressure is more than 90 mmHg.
The Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the Treatment of Hypertension
In traditional Chinese medicine, hypertension is similar to vertigo and dizziness. Hypertension is often believed to be the result of various factors such as stress, diet, constitutional deficiencies, and emotional factors that lead to imbalance in kidney, spleen, liver, and yin and yang. In time, this disease can cause the failure of yin to control yang, frequent weakening of kidney, phlegm disturbing the upper, or hyperactivity of phlegm.
How does TCM usually treat hypertension?
It’s important to distinguish hypertension that is the result of deficiency from the one caused by an excess. Usually, TCM addresses hypertension through herbs, auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture), and body acupuncture, but what kinds of herbs are used, and what acupoints and acupuncture technique is used will be based on the cause. Treatment approach for hypertension due to deficiency is to replenish blood and qi, while nourishing the kidney and liver. For underlying excess, the aim of treatment is to resolve phlegm, eliminate fire, and stop wind by calming the liver.
Mr. Jones, 65 years old, has been diagnosed with hypertension for 12 years. He complained to his acupuncturist about having poor sleep, irritability, restlessness, a bitter taste in his mouth, red eyes, headaches, and dizziness. His practitioner has prescribed certain Chinese herbal remedies and received acupuncture treatment two times a week for four weeks.
The acupuncturist needled the following acupoints: HT7, LR 3, ST 40, SP 10, LI 4, and GB 20. The prescription herbal formula was a modified Longdan Hsiegan Tang formula. Four weeks after the treatment, his blood pressure stabilized and all his symptoms disappeared.
TCM Tips for Hypertension Patients
Besides acupuncture and Chinese herbs, some TCM practitioners will also recommend qigong exercises to aid the body in replenishing qi and blood, clearing fire, calming the liver and restoring balance to yin and yang. From the viewpoint of TCM, hypertensive patients would benefit better by eating less spicy and greasy foods, and eating more vegetables and fruits. Patients are also advised to avoid seafood which according to TCM is cold in nature and stimulating. Eating cold foods only increases phlegm and dampness in the body, which can worsen vertigo and dizziness. Fish is a much better alternative to crab and shrimp.
Herbal Foot Soak
Hypertension symptoms including insomnia, limb numbness, headache, tinnitus, and vertigo can be relieved with herbal foot soak. In preparing a foot-soak treatment, cut the Gouteng herb (stems from the Gambir vine) into small pieces and wrap in a cloth with a little Borneol (Bingpian) and soak them in warm water. The feet is soaked in the herbal preparation two times a day before going to bed and after getting up from bed, continue with the treatment for 10 days for 30minutes to 45 minutes each time. An herbal prescription is required for these herbs.
Customized Herbal Prescriptions
As every person is unique, high blood pressure sufferers should consult with a licensed herbalist and acupuncturist who can recommend a plan of treatment that can addresses the specific needs of the patient. Your TCM will take a full medical history and do a tongue and pulse and diagnosis to determine the best herbal prescription and acupuncture plan.
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10875 Grandview St #2200
Overland Park, KS 66210