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Chinese External Herbal Remedies for Hypertension

Hypertension is a worldwide health problem, and the numbers are still growing. This “silent killer” often causes no symptoms, people tend to neglect it until some bad complications develop, including heart attack, stroke or eyesight problem. We must change the attitudes towards hypertension, that recognize the importance and potential benefits of aggressive treatment for it. Antihypertensive medications are now effective and affordable to help control blood pressure. While lifestyle changes such as being active, heart-healthy diet and nutrition, and losing weight are the basic for long-term management, there are still more we can do to keep the blood pressure in a safe range.

Acupoints and meridians of the body
Acupoints and meridians of the body

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the meridian system provides the distribution channels for fundamental substances, they branch out collaterals that further connect and network the entire body. The functions of the twelve regular meridians are reflected as skin segments on the superficial body, in addition, numerous acu-points are located on the skin that facilitate qi (vital energy) to spread and gather. Clinically, external or topical TCM therapies such as herbal washing, hot compresses, herbal dressings and moxibustion are based on this principle that target on selected body surface to achieve a therapeutic result.

As TCM external remedies may take time to see the results, it is better to be part of comprehensive management plan for hypertension.

Herbal Pillows for Hypertension

TCM regards the head as "the house of essential substance", essence from the organs is gathered there, and abundant blood and qi (vital energy) flow through it. The head serves as the highest center for regulating functions inside the body. Since we spend one third a day sleeping, herbal pillows can facilitate the properties of herbs enter through the head and then distribute throughout the body. The selected herbs are mostly aromatic, which help tranquilize, refresh and expand the local blood vessels. Herbal pillows are suitable for conditions like headaches, insomnia, hypertension and neck problems. For hypertension, the pillows can be stuffed with the following herbs:

  • Wide chrysanthemum, common rush, selfheal fruit spike, acorus and silkworm dung (same amount for each), grind into coarse mixtures;
  • Cassia seed and chrysanthemum in equal amount;
  • Magnetite (250g) crash into powder, mix with common rush;
  • Wild chrysanthemum, mulberry leaf, gypsum, white peony root, Sichuan lovage rhizome, magnetite, vitex fruit, and silkworm dung (same amount for each), grind into coarse mixtures;
  • Wild chrysanthemum, white chrysanthemum, mulberry leaf, and Biond Magnolia flower (100g each); peppermint and Chinese safflower (30g each); borneol (20g). Grind the herbs in coarse mixtures.

The herbs need to be specially treated to prevent molding. The pillow fillers can be used for about six months, or replaced anytime. It is better to sleep in horizontal position, so that acupoints like feng chi (Gb 20), feng fu (Gv 16) and da zhui (Gv 14) that located in the back of the head can be stimulated. During spare time, hang the pillow in cool and ventilated place for drying, don’t put it directly under the sun.

Magnetitie      Common rush      Selfheal fruit spike
Common rush
Selfheal fruit spike