Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine for Hypertension

March 3, 2019 Joe Brady

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long history, literally thousands of years, and abundant experience with regard to treating hypertension or high blood pressure (BP). TCM also has a unique way of diagnosing and treating this disease with a variety of techniques including Chinese herbal formulas, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, qigong, Tai Chi, diet and exercise therapy. Current research demonstrates that Chinese herbal formulas possess the advantage of treating the whole person including the stress and other factors that can aggravate hypertension. Chinese herbal formulas have been shown to help stabilize BP but also improve related symptoms, such as insomnia, constipation, mood swings, obesity, and pain. Antihypertensive therapy research on Chinese herbal formulas for treating hypertension has made rapid progress over the past 30 years, but certain problems remain that seriously limit the progress of this research the clinical hypertensive treatment trials using TCM have been limited to small samples and multicenter, large-scale random samples with controlled methods are rarely employed.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Tianma Gouteng Yin Formula

A very famous prescription, contains eleven commonly used herbs (Gastrodia Elata, Uncaria, Abalone Shell, Eucommia Ulmoides Oliv, Achyranthes Root, Loranthus Parasiticus, Gardenia, Scutellaria Baicalensis Georgi, Leonurus Japonicus, Poria Cocos, and caulis polygoni multiflori). It could suppress liver yang hyperactivity, clear heat, activate blood, and nourish the kidney; it has been widely used to treat hypertension-related signs and symptoms in clinical practice for centuries in China. 

Two systematic reviews have assessed the efficacy and safety of this for treating primary hypertension with high safety and beneficial results.


Acupuncture has been reported to have potential effectiveness for treating cardiovascular diseases including hypertension, with few reported adverse effects. Results of the trials showed a tendency that acupuncture can improve the conditions of essential hypertension and it is necessary to perform more Random Control Trials (RCT’S) of high quality in the future.


Qigong, as an ancient Chinese healing exercises meditation [74]. It increases the healthy flow of qi throughout the body to heal itself. Several Random Control Trials have shown that qigong has therapeutic effects on blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Two systematic reviews showed some encouraging evidence of qigong for lowering BP.

Tai Chi

Recent studies also suggest that it may have beneficial effects for patients with cardiovascular conditions and some cardiovascular risk factors, including hypertension. There are few trials on the effectiveness of Tai Chi in the management of hypertension. One systematic review including 5 randomized clinical trials with 318 hypertensive patients reported some positive findings for Tai Chi on treating essential hypertension. It is also pointed out that different exercise time of Tai Chi has an impact on hypertension. 

Hypertension and Chinese Dietary Therapy

Basic recipe for foods that help lower blood pressure in studies done on Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Celery Soup

Wash & cut up 60g of celery and 60 g of rice add water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Consume for 10 day’s as one course of treatment.

Other foods that help lower blood pressure include:




shepard’s purse





royal jelly

hawthorn fruit



mung beans


seaweed root powder

These can be substituted or added to the above recipe.

Read More 

Chinese herbal formulas for treating hypertension in traditional Chinese medicine: perspective of modern science


Hypertens Res. 2013 Jul; 36(7): 570–579.

Published online 2013 Apr 4. doi: 10.1038/hr.2013.18

Xingjiang Xiong,1,3,* Xiaochen Yang,1,* Yongmei Liu,1 Yun Zhang,1 Pengqian Wang,2,3 and Jie Wang1,*

Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine for Hypertension

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 978398.

Published online 2013 Jun 3. doi: 10.1155/2013/978398

Jie Wang and Xingjiang Xiong*