According to the western scientific perception of hypertension (high blood pressure) the disorder is considered to be idiopathic (without any known cause). It is however often associated with obesity, advanced age, high cholesterol, alcohol abuse and smoking. The first line of treatment for idiopathic (primary) hypertension is usually with natural remedies for high blood pressure. Underlying conditions like kidney disease, pregnancy, abnormalities in blood vessels and endocrinal disorders may cause secondary high blood pressure. Secondary hypertension is usually treated with conventional high blood pressure medications like diuretics, ACE inhibitors and other medicines.
Alternative therapies provide another mode of treatment and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can prove to be a healthy alternative to allopathic drugs.
TCM perceives the condition of high blood pressure as a problem associated with the circulation of the vital energy, called Qi. TCM does not attribute hypertension to pathology. The treatment is based on the theories of yin and yang and blocking of the vital energy Qi.
Roots of a Chinese herb called danshen are used to treat high blood pressure. The Latin name of the herb is salvia miltiorrhiza and it is also known as Red Sage, Chinese Sage, tan shen or dan shen. It is a perennial flowering plant that grows in the shade and is highly valued for its roots in TCM. TCM uses it for thinning and promoting blood flow in patients with hypertension. In Chinese medicine, it is also the first line of treatment for myocardial infarction and stroke, both of which are associated with hypertension.
Acupuncture, a procedure that is the mainstay of TCM in conjunction with herbs and diet control, is another alternative mode of treatment of hypertension. It focuses on identifying areas and points, called meridians, in the body. It is believed that these points are the areas where the flow of vital energy is blocked. As far as high blood pressure is concerned, these points are mostly found in the scalp and along the spine. An acupuncturist attempts to unblock this vital energy by sticking fine needles to treat hypertension.
Alternative medicines and conventional allopathic therapy have always been at loggerheads with each other. Science demands evidences based on extensive studies, research and trials whereas ancient therapies have nothing but anecdotal evidence to support the efficacy of their remedies, herbs and procedures. There are instances when conventional medicine has relented on its tough stand on production of eye witness accounts and confirmation by doctors but the debate refuses to end.
Considering that herbs normally do not have side effects and the acupuncturists have adopted scientifically approved methodology of using sterilized needles, there seems to be no harm is trying Chinese herbal or acupuncture treatments. However, it is highly recommended that a close watch be kept on blood pressure levels during and after treatment. Consistent high blood pressure can lead to extremely dangerous health conditions just as abnormally low levels also require immediate medical attention.