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Alternative and Complementary Treatments for High Blood Pressure

Alternative and Complementary Treatments for High Blood Pressure

Using a strong medicine is a thing that most people who suffer from high blood pressure dread. Some people may believe that this is their only option. However, high blood pressure could be treated by many types of alternative medicine.

Here are some types of alternative medicine techniques that can be used to control high blood pressure.



Eating a healthy diet is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lower blood pressure. Doctors usually recommend:


  • Eating less red meat and sweets
  • Eating less of foods that are high in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Eating foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium.
  • Eating more low-fat dairy foods, fruits and vegetables
  • Eating more whole grain products, nuts, fish and poultry



A decreased risk of developing high blood pressure is found in men and women of all age groups who are physically active. Exercise has been shown in multiple studies to lower blood pressure as much as some drugs can. People who exercise 30 to 60 minutes 3 to 4 days a week by cycling, walking, jogging or a combination, and have mild and moderately elevated blood pressure, may be able to significantly decrease their blood pressure.


Breathing, stress and blood pressure management:
When someone is under emotional stress and tension, their blood pressure increases. However, it’s still not clear if psychological interventions aimed at stress reduction can decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension.
Recent studies have shown that ancient relaxation methods are also beneficial. These include Tai Chi, yoga and Qigong, in addition to controlled breathing and gentle physical activity. A significant decrease in blood pressure, low levels of stress hormones and less anxiety has been experienced by people with mild hypertension who participated in these healing techniques daily for two to three months.


A recent small study has shown a substantial reduction in blood pressure with daily practice of slow breathing, about 15 minutes a day for 8 weeks. However, before these ancient healing techniques are recommended as effective non-pharmacological approaches to treating hypertension, these findings need to be confirmed in larger and better-designed studies. These gentle practices are made a worthwhile activity to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle because of their possible benefits coupled with minimal risks.


However, before starting a program of any physical activity including yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong, it is quite important that inactive older people or those with chronic health problems be evaluated by their doctor.



Herbal therapies include Crataegus species, Stephania tetrandra, Rauwolfia serpentina and Panax notoginseng. However, their efficacy and safety haven’t been extensively studied for treating high blood pressure. If you are planning to use or are already using these therapies, it is important that you inform your doctor because of the potential health risks that are associated with these herbs. In case these herbs are used in combination with high blood pressure drugs, telling the doctor about it is even more important. Because they can increase blood pressure, some herbs shouldn’t be used by people with hypertension; some examples of those herbs are ephedra (Ma Huang), yohimbine (from the bark of a West African tree) and licorice.


Some of the other herbs that could be used include:


Garlic has been known to have many health benefits, from treating the common cold to serving as an anti-cancer agent. Research has shown that people with hypertension benefit from garlic. It can lower blood pressure by 5 to 10% by thinning the blood. It can also discourage clot formation and lower cholesterol.


In many different cultures, cardiovascular diseases are treated with Hawthorne berries, which are one of the safest herbal remedies. Today, it is one of the most popular herbs used in alternative medicine in Europe. Research has shown that Howthorne berries lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, strengthen the heart’s pumping ability and protect arterial walls. However, for their full effect to develop, the person may have to wait from several weeks to months.

Rauwolfia serpentina:

A small dose of this powerful herb, which is also known as Indian Snakeroot, can significantly lower blood pressure. However, until a few days after the initial administration, the effects of the herb aren’t seen, and they have a cumulative effect. Nasal congestion is the most common side effect of rauwolfia. Dry mouth, dizziness and nausea are some of its less common side effects.



There are some supplements that are evaluated as blood pressure-lowering options:

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10):

Without appreciable side effects, a significant drop in blood pressure is experienced in people with mild high blood pressure who are taking CoQ10. Additionally, it seems that CoQ10 reduces blood pressure by a different mechanism than major antihypertensive drugs.

Omega-3 fatty acids:

Some studies report that in people with mild hypertension, EPA and DHA may reduce blood pressure. However, other studies have had conflicting results. Current evidence suggests that significantly higher doses of omega-3 fatty acids may result in modest reductions of blood pressure.

Amino acids:

The diet supplement L-arginine has been suggested to lower blood pressure. However, it has been suggested that L-arginine may lower blood pressure for only a short period of time, by the few, small and not well-controlled studies that were done up till now. Blood pressure-lowering qualities may also be found in another amino acid called L-taurine.


Before starting any medications, including the ones mentioned above, that are available without a prescription, make sure to talk to your doctor. On an individual basis, the risks and benefits of every medicine should be carefully weighed, including over-the-counter drugs.



Many studies have considerable weaknesses, despite the fact that extensive research has been reported on the effectiveness of acupuncture for lowering blood pressure. In order to determine the value of acupuncture as a treatment for hypertension, more rigorously controlled research is needed.
Right now there is no evidence that it can lower blood pressure reliably.



To treat high blood pressure, magnet treatment can be classified as an alternative medicine. Copper and iron bracelets help reduce the effects of blood pressure, though the reason of which isn’t known. Trying this treatment doesn’t hurt anyone because it doesn’t have any side effects or any type of harm.


Prepared By: Dr. Mehyar Al-Khashroum
Edited By: Miss  Araz Kahvedjian


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