Gastrodia Complex ™
* Hypertension (deficient-type) with dizziness, vertigo, blurred vision, headache, and/or generalized weakness
* Prevention of seizures, epilepsies and convulsions in hypertensive patients
WESTERN THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS
* Antihypertensive effect to lower blood pressure
* Vasodilating effect to increase blood perfusion and lower blood pressure
* Diuretic effect to increase water elimination and lower blood pressure
* Antiseizure, antiepileptic, and anticonvulsant effects to prevent seizures, epilepsies and convulsions
CHINESE THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS
* Extinguishes Liver wind
* Calms Liver yang
* Clears heat
* Nourishes Liver and Kidney yin
Take 3 to 4 capsules three times daily with warm water on an empty stomach.
Cha Chi Huang (Herba Stellariae Aquaticae)
Chuan Niu Xi (Radix Cyathulae)
Dan Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Salviae Miltiorrhizae)
Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae)
Ge Gen (Radix Puerariae Lobatae)
Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii)
Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis)
Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae)
Sha Yuan Zi (Semen Astragali Complanati)
Shan Zhu Yu (Fructus Corni)
Shi Jue Ming (Concha Haliotidis)
Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae)
Xia Ku Cao (Spica Prunellae)
Zhen Zhu Mu (Concha Margaritiferae)
Hypertension is the sustained elevation of resting blood pressure (systolic BP>140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP>90 mmHg). According to CDC, there are approximately 70 million people (29%) with hypertension in the United States. There are many factors that contribute to hypertension, including heredity, diet, obesity, stress, lack of exercise and pre-existing diseases. Hypertension is usually asymptomatic, but some may experience symptoms such as dizziness, flushed face, headache, fatigue, epistaxis, and nervousness.
Gastrodia Complex is designed to extinguish Liver wind, calm Liver yang, and nourish Liver and Kidney yin. The main clinical applications of Gastrodia Complex are hypertension and headache. It can also be used in hypertensive patients to reduce the risks of seizure, convulsion, stroke, angina, and myocardial infarction.
Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae), Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis), Zhen Zhu Mu (Concha Margaritiferae), and Shi Jue Ming (Concha Haliotidis) are the chief herbs used to calm or anchor Liver yang and extinguish the wind. Together they function to lower the blood pressure and relieve headache and dizziness caused by hypertension. Cha Chi Huang (Herba Stellariae Aquaticae), Xia Ku Cao (Spica Prunellae), and Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae) have antihypertensive effects, which can clear red, painful, or swollen eyes associated with hypertension. Sha Yuan Zi (Semen Astragali Complanati) and Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) are used to alleviate visual problems associated with hypertension. Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae) and Shan Zhu Yu (Fructus Corni) tonify the Liver and Kidney yin to prevent Liver yang rising. Dan Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Salviae Miltiorrhizae) improves microcirculation, myocardial contraction, and heart rate. Ge Gen (Radix Puerariae Lobatae) dilates blood vessels to lower blood pressure. It also relieves neck and occipital stiffness and tension commonly associated with hypertension. Chuan Niu Xi (Radix Cyathulae) directs the blood downward and gives this formula a descending property.
In short, Gastrodia Complex is a great formula that treats many diseases characterized by Liver wind and Liver yang excess with Liver and Kidney yin deficiency.
CAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS
* Some patients may experience mild stomach discomfort, which may be alleviated by reducing the dosage of herbs or taking the herbs with food.
* Herbal treatment is ineffective for malignant hypertension and certain cases of secondary hypertension, such as renal stenosis or pheochromocytoma. Refer the patients to a medical doctor as surgical intervention may be necessary.
* If untreated, hypertension can lead to various complications such as myocardial infarction, cerebral hemorrhage, renal failure, and premature death from these or other developments. Effective treatment must include both lifestyle changes and herbal therapy.
* This formula may be used as an adjunct for prevention of seizure, epilepsy, and convulsion; however, it is not suitable to treat acute onset of these conditions.
* This herbal formula contains herbs that invigorate blood circulation, such as Dan Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Salviae Miltiorrhizae). Therefore, patients who are on anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapies, such as Coumadin (warfarin), should use this formula with caution, or not at all, as there may be a higher risk of bleeding and bruising.
* Western medicine classifies hypertension into two types: “red” and “pale” high blood pressure. “Red” high blood pressure corresponds with the TCM diagnosis of excess, and generally occurs in energetic and stressed individuals with marked redness and vascularized skin. “Pale” high blood pressure corresponds with the TCM diagnosis of deficiency, and generally occurs in individuals with compromised kidneys, glands, or metabolism.
* For treatment of hypertension, it is important to monitor the blood pressure and adjust the dosage based on age, body weight, severity of condition, and response to treatment.
Pulse Diagnosis by Dr. Jimmy Wei-Yen Chang:
* Big pulse, a thick, expanding, forceful, and fast pulse on all three pulse positions, cun, guan, and chi. The harder the pulse, the higher the blood pressure and the more severe the condition. In renal hypertension, shaoyin brachial pulse at the elbow may also be thick, forceful and expanding.
* For high cholesterol and triglycerides, add Cholisma.
* For high cholesterol and triglycerides in individuals with fatty liver and obesity, add Cholisma (ES).
* For acute headache, add Corydalin (AC).
* For chronic headache, add Corydalin (CR).
* For hypertension with edema and water accumulation, combine with Herbal DRX.
* For high blood pressure and fast heart rate due to excess heat, add Gardenia Complex.
* For deviation of the eyes and mouth in post-stroke or Bell’s palsy patients, add Symmetry.
* For coronary heart disorders, combine with Circulation.
* For cardiovascular and circulatory disorders throughout the entire body, or for stubborn hypertension with blood stagnation, combine with Circulation (SJ).
* For qi and blood deficiencies, combine with a small amount of Imperial Tonic.
* For stress and anxiety, combine with Calm (ES).
* For insomnia due to stress and anxiety in individuals with underlying deficiencies, combine with Calm ZZZ.
* For insomnia due to anemia, generalized weakness or excessive worrying, combine with Schisandra ZZZ.
* To treat stroke complications, use Neuro Plus.
* For trigeminal neuralgia or hemiplegia in hypertensive patients, combine with Flex (NP).
* For visual disturbances such as redness, pain or blurriness, add Lycium Support.
* Baihui (GV 20), Zusanli (ST 36), Renying (ST 9), Taichong (LR 3)
* Taichong (LR 3), Xingjian (LR 2), Fenglong (ST 40), Ganshu (BL 18), Yongquan (KI 1), Zusanli (ST 36)
Classic Master Tung’s Points:
* Hypertension: Linggu (T 22.05), Dabai (T 22.04), Xinling (T 33.17)*, Quchi (LI 11), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Minghuang (T 88.12), Qihuang (T 88.14), Sanzhong (T 77.07), Yizhong (T 77.05), Erzhong (T 77.06), Sihuashang (T 77.08), Sihuazhong (T 77.09), Sihuaxia (T 77.11), Zhengjin (T 77.01), Zhengzong (T 77.02), Sansheng (T 55.07)*, Weizhong (BL 40), Huoying (T 66.03), Tianhuang (T 77.17), Dihuang (T 77.19), Renhuang (T 77.21), Tongtian (T 88.03). Bleed the back of the neck, LU and HT, LR and SP, ST areas with cupping. Bleed dark veins nearby the ST, BL channels on the lower limbs. Bleed before needling for best result.
* Headache:Linggu (T 22.05), Dabai (T 22.04), Xinling (T 33.17)*, Zhenghui (T 1010.01), Qianhui (T 1010.05), Shuitong (T 1010.19), Shuijin (T 1010.20), Sansheng (T 55.07)*, Weizhong (BL 40), Shenting (GV 24), Shangxing (GV 23), Huozhu (T 66.04), Tongtian (T 88.03), Fuding (T 44.04), Houzhi (T 44.05), Jianfeng (T 44.31)*, Tongshan (T 88.02), Tongguan (T 88.01), Zhitong (T 44.13). Bleed Huoshan (T 33.06), Huoling (T 33.05) or dark veins nearby. Bleed before needling for best result.
* Vertigo: Linggu (T 22.05), Dabai (T 22.04), Zhenghui (T 1010.01), Shuitong (T 1010.19), Shuijin (T 1010.20), Tongshan (T 88.02), Tongtian (T 88.03), Lieque (LU 7), Taiyuan (LU 9), Yongquan (KI 1), Quchi (LI 11)
* Epilepsy: Linggu (T 22.05), Zhengjin (T 77.01), Zhengzong (T 77.02), Zhenghui (T 1010.01), Qianhui (T 1010.05), Houhui (T 1010.06), Tianhuang (T 77.17), Dihuang (T 77.19), Renhuang (T 77.21), Yizhong (T 77.05), Erzhong (T 77.06), Sanzhong (T 77.07), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Minghuang (T 88.12), Qihuang (T 88.14), Tongshan (T 88.02), Tongguan (T 88.01), Sifuyi (T 1010.11), Sifuer (T 1010.10), Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18). Bleed du (governing) channel, temporal region and back of the knee for dark veins. Bleed before needling for best result.
Master Tung’s Points by Dr. Chuan-Min Wang:
* High systolic pressure, hypertension due to Liver deficiency, dizziness: Fuding (T 44.04), Houzhi (T 44.05)
* High diastolic pressure, hypertension due to Kidney deficiency: Tianhuang (T 77.17), Tianhuangfu [shenguan] (T 77.18)
* High systolic and diastolic pressure: Bleed Wuling (T DT.04) first. Then needle Quchi (LI 11), Huoying (T 66.03).
* Left side: Xuanzhong (GB 39), Fenglong (ST 40), Chengshan (BL 57), Lieque (LU 7), Tongli (HT 5)
* Right side: Taichong (LR 3), Rangu (KI 2), Gongsun (SP 4), Waiguan (TH 5), Binao (LI 14)
* Left and right sides can be alternated from treatment to treatment.
* Bleed the depression groove in the back of the ear to lower blood pressure.
* Use magnetic ear seeds. Switch ear every five days. Advise patient to massage the points until he/she feels a hot or distended sensation.
* Adrenal Gland, Heart, Shenmen, Endocrine, Taiyang, Liver, Kidney. Bleed the depression groove in the back of the ear to lower blood pressure. Select four or five points for each treatment, which lasts three days. Ten treatments equal one treatment course. Rest for one week in between treatment courses.
Auricular Medicine by Dr. Li-Chun Huang:
* Reducing blood pressure: Heart, Shenmen, Kidney, Liver, Occiput, Forehead, Decrease BP Point, Sympathetic, Coronary Vascular Subcortex. Bleed Ear Apex.
* Auditory vertigo: Internal Ear, Dizziness Area, Occiput, San Jiao, Liver, Kidney, Gallbladder. Bleed Ear Apex.
* Dizziness and vertigo from cerebral arteriosclerosis: Brain, Dizziness Area, Coronary Vascular Subcortex, Neck Triangle, External Sympathetic, Liver, Occiput. Bleed Ear Apex.
* Eliminate salt from the diet in cases of hypertension. Avoid MSG, baking soda, meat, fat, aged foods, alcohol, diet soft drinks, preservatives, sugar substitutes, meat tenderizers, and soy sauce.
* Over-the-counter medications that contain ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin, should not be used.
* Aspartame should also be avoided, since a high level may increase blood pressure.
* Increase the intake of fresh, raw vegetables and fruits to control blood pressure. Nuts and seeds should be consumed daily as a source of protein.
* Vitamin C and bioflavonoids help to reduce blood pressure by stabilizing the blood vessel walls.
* Garlic is effective to lower blood pressure and thin the blood.
The Tao of Nutrition by Dr. Maoshing Ni and Cathy McNease:
§ Recommendations: celery, spinach, garlic, bananas, sunflower seeds, honey, tofu, mung beans, bamboo shoots, seaweed, vinegar, tomatoes, water chestnuts, corn, apples, persimmons, peas, buckwheat, jellyfish, watermelon, hawthorn berries, eggplant, plums, mushrooms, lemons, lotus root, chrysanthemums, and cassia seeds.
§ Take black or white mushrooms and cook soup daily.
§ Steam or bake jellyfish about 12 minutes, add vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil; take daily for about two months.
§ Make tea from chrysanthemum flowers and cassia seeds and drink daily.
§ Avoid smoking, alcohol, spicy foods, coffee, caffeine, all stimulants, fatty or fried foods, salty foods, potatoes, pork, and overeating.
§ Recommendations: chrysanthemum flowers, mint, green onions, oyster shells, pearl barley, carrots, prunes, buckwheat, peach kernels, and green tea.
§ Avoid spicy food, alcohol, and smoking.
* Normal bowel and urinary functions help to reduce blood pressure. Diuretics and stool softeners should be taken as needed.
* Maintain a positive attitude and outlook. Control emotions and reduce stress. Emotional fluctuations should be reduced whenever possible.
* Individuals who are aware of circumstances or activities that trigger tension and hypertensive responses need to initiate patterns in their lives that help them avoid or reduce the impact of those triggers.
* Stop alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking.
* Weight loss is highly recommended to help lower blood pressure.
* Exercises such as swimming and brisk walking are excellent for hypertension.
* Practices such as meditation, tai chi chuan [tai ji chuan], and yoga are beneficial to relax, reduce stress, and lower blood pressure.
* M.M., a 53-year-old female patient, presented with high blood pressure. Her blood pressure was 150/80 mmHg. The patient works in a high stress environment and lives a fast-paced lifestyle. Her energy is high but her sleep is sometimes restless. Other findings included elevated yet still favorable HDL and LDL levels. The diagnosis according to traditional Chinese medicine was Liver and Kidney yin deficiencies with Liver yang rising. Gastrodia Complex was prescribed at 4 spoonfuls twice daily for two months’ duration. After two months, the patient’s blood pressure was measured at 125/82 mmHg, she was sleeping better and her energy level increased. Submitted by M.M., Alameda, California.
* A 29-year-old male patient presented with chronic headaches, which he had been experiencing lifelong. Additional symptoms included lower back ache, dry eyes, neck tension, and slight dizziness. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as Liver and Kidney yin deficiencies with Liver yang rising. Gastrodia Complex was prescribed at 4 capsules three times per day. As a result of taking the herbs, the patient had reported relief of his headaches within four days. After taking only one bottle of the herbs, the patient had noted his relief lasted for about a month. Submitted by C.V., Concord, North Carolina.
* A 45-year-old male presented with headache, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The patient was diagnosed with Liver yang rising with stagnation of qi and blood. Cholisma and Gastrodia Complex were prescribed for the patient with positive results reported by the physician. Submitted by R.C., MD, Ph.D., New York, New York.
* J.L., an 86-year-old male, presented with hypertension, insomnia, anxiety, and high cholesterol. His blood pressure was 180/90 mmHg and the heart rate was 60 beats per minute. The blood pressure was higher in the morning (180-190/90-95 mmHg) than in the evening (170-180/85-90 mmHg). The TCM diagnosis was damp-heat accumulation. Gastrodia Complex at 4.5 grams a day and Cholisma at 1.5 grams a day were prescribed. This patient also received acupuncture. After six weeks of treatment, both morning and evening blood pressure were down to an average of 147/80 mmHg. Submitted by W.F., Bloomfield, New Jersey.
* S.O., a 51-year-old female patient, presented with extremely painful migraine headaches four to six times a month for three years. The pain developed during a time of intense involvement with a job that required serious focus and long hours. The pain was pounding and throbbing at her temples and behind her eyes. Her head itself felt “big” and each headache was accompanied by photosensitivity and occasionally nosebleeds and nausea. The patient didn’t want to take any pharmaceutical drugs so she “rode out” the headaches by sleeping all day. Objective findings included sogginess and softness with palpation at the vertex where one would expect to feel only bone hardness of the skull. Blood pressure was 128/78 mmHg with a heart rate of 76 to 80 beats per minute. Tongue was red and peeled, especially at the sides. Pulse was wiry/floating and the left side was very thin. The patient appeared debilitated. Her diagnosis according to traditional Chinese medicine was Liver yang rising with Liver and Kidney yin deficiencies. The practitioner felt her episodic stress-related migraine headaches probably were due to poor regulation of blood vessel dilation/constriction in the head. Gastrodia Complex was prescribed at 4 capsules three times a day. After six weeks of herbal treatment, the patient reported that her headaches diminished in ferocity. During the next four weeks, the patient reported only one headache and it lasted only a few hours instead of putting her to bed for the entire day. Over the months that the patient continued the treatment, headaches became a rare event and she felt stronger overall. Submitted by H.H., San Francisco, California.
* A 39-year-old female presented with elevated blood pressure, palpitations, hot flashes, anxiety, and swelling in her neck, with a heart rate of 92 beats per minute. The Western diagnosis was hyperthyroidism; the TCM diagnosis was Liver and Kidney yin deficiencies. After she began taking Thyrodex, the patient experienced diminished hot flashes and anxiety. Her blood pressure remained unchanged but the goiter diminished in size. After Gastrodia Complex was added to the herbal treatment, the patient noticed improvement after just one bottle. Submitted by P.W., Paulet, Vermont.
* A 47-year-old female acupuncturist presented with one-sided severely debilitating migraines, which occurred particularly during the weekends. The TCM diagnosis was Kidney yin deficiency leading to Liver yang rising. A dose of Corydalin (AC) relieved the pain especially when the drug Imitrex (sumatriptan) was unsuccessful. Within two weeks of taking Corydalin (AC), she was free from headaches. She supplemented her treatment with Gastrodia Complex in addition to acupuncture treatments. She has experienced no migraine episodes for more than six months, and continues using the herbal combination of Corydalin (AC) and Gastrodia Complex. Submitted by D.W., Hashbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
PHARMACOLOGICAL AND CLINICAL RESEARCH
Gastrodia Complex is an herbal formula that has significant influence on the cardiovascular system to treat hypertension. It contains herbs with marked effects to decrease heart rate, reduce peripheral vascular resistance, dilate blood vessels, and promote diuresis.
Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) and Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) are the two primary ingredients in this formula. Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) has many positive cardiovascular effects. It increases the volume of blood flow to the cardiac muscle, increases resistance to hypoxia, and therefore reduces the risks of myocardial ischemia and myocardial infarction. Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) has a potent and prolonged antihypertensive effect. The decrease in blood pressure is attributed to decreased heart rate and a reduced peripheral vascular resistance. Specifically, the vasodilative effect of Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) can be attributed to its α-adrenoceptor blocking and calcium channel blocking activities., Rhynchophylline and isorhynchophylline, two indole alkaloids from the hook of Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis), exert hypotensive and vasodilatory effects. Administration of Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) has been shown to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as slowing the heart rate.,Clinically, the use of these two herbs has been shown to effectively treat hypertension. One study reported marked effect using an herbal formula for 30 days to treat hypertension characterized by yin deficiency and yang excess. The herbal formula contained Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae), Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis), and others. Of 60 patients, the blood pressure was reduced in 76.67% of patients. The average reduction was 20.87 mmHg for diastolic, and 10.21 mmHg for systolic blood pressure. According to another study, 245 patients with hypertension were treated with a preparation of Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis), with marked effectiveness in 38.2%, and an overall rate of effectiveness of 77.2%. Effectiveness was defined as significant and prolonged reduction of blood pressure.
Gastrodia Complex contains many other herbs with significant influences over the cardiovascular system. Ge Gen (Radix Puerariae Lobatae) has shown marked effectiveness in lowering blood pressure by dilating coronary artery and relieving spasms of blood vessels.,, In one study, 222 patients with hypertension accompanied by neck stiffness and pain were treated with Ge Gen (Radix Puerariae Lobatae) with a rate of effectiveness between 78 and 90%. Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) has a significant effect to prevent the increase of blood pressure by decreasing vascular contraction and tension., Xia Ku Cao (Spica Prunellae) illustrates the rapid onset of an antihypertensive effect through vasodilation.,It has been used as a single herb to treat hypertension in 42 patients with good results. Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae) and Shan Zhu Yu (Fructus Corni) lower blood pressure through their diuretic effect., Sha Yuan Zi (Semen Astragali Complanati) exerts its antihypertensive action through a decrease in total peripheral resistance., Dan Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Salviae Miltiorrhizae) dilates blood vessels and increases blood perfusion to peripheral blood vessels. It has a significant protective effect on conditions such as cerebral infarct, coronary artery disease, angina, and many others. Lastly, Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) has a significant cardioprotective effect for the prevention and treatment of vascular proliferative disorders. Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) is also an effective herb for inducing angiogenesis, accelerating vascular wound healing, and promoting the growth of collateral blood vessel in ischemic tissues.
Primary hypertension does not have a singular cause but many contributing factors, such as obesity, stress, anxiety, and dyslipidemia. Therefore, Gastrodia Complex contains many herbs to manage these contributing factors. Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae) has been used in an herbal formula to successfully reduce body weight in 79 of 96 patients. Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) has a marked anxiolytic effect to treat stress and anxiety. According to one study, it has a therapeutic effect comparable to Buspar (buspirone). Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae) has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels in both animal and human studies., According to one study, 48 patients were treated with 20 mL of Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae) preparation three times daily for two months. The study reported reduction in blood cholesterol in 95.8% of the patients, reduction in triglycerides in 86.7%, and reduction of beta-lipoprotein in 89.5%. According to another study, daily administration of Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae) helped to lower serum lipid status in type II diabetic subjects without serious adverse effects.
In addition to treating hypertension and related conditions, Gastrodia Complex also contains herbs with excellent effects for prevention and/or treatment of seizures, epilepsy, and convulsions. Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae), given via intraperitoneal or intravenous injection, has a marked effectiveness in treating seizures and convulsions. Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) has also demonstrated an antiepileptic effect to prevent post-traumatic epilepsy. Studies have shown Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) to have a positive effect in the treatment of seizures, cranial-cerebral injury, cervical spondylosis and cerebrovascular diseases., Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) has a preventative effect in the management of seizures. The duration of action was approximately three days following subcutaneous injection. Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) also has an anticonvulsant effect by suppressing the lipid peroxidation in the brain. Rhynchophylline, a major component of Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis), is believed to be the main anticonvulsive compound., Lastly, it has been shown that the combination of Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) and Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) has a synergistic anticonvulsive and free-radical scavenging action, as demonstrated in laboratory studies. Clinically, the use of Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) and Gou Teng (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) in formulas has shown a marked effectiveness to treat seizures.,
In summary, Gastrodia Complex is an excellent formula to treat hypertension and related conditions and complications.
Hypertension is one of the most common disorders in developed countries. In Western medicine, many different categories of drugs may be used to treat hypertension, including but not limited to diuretics [Lasix (furosemide) and hydrochlorothiazide], beta-blockers [Tenormin (atenolol) and Inderal (propranolol)], calcium channel blockers [Procardia (nifedipine) and Calan (verapamil)], ACE inhibitors [Vasotec (enalapril)] and Capoten (captopril)], and vasodilators [hydralazine and minoxidil]. All these drugs have benefits and risks, and may be given individually or in combinations to control blood pressure.
The main advantage of drug therapy is its potency to suppress blood pressure. The main disadvantages, however, are that the drugs cause a great number of side effects, and they do not change the underlying constitution of the patient. Therefore, while they are effective to suppress blood pressure, they must be used continuously and cannot be stopped. Discontinuing use of these drugs often leads to rebound hypertension.
In TCM, hypertension may be characterized by both excess and deficiency. Excess refers to Liver yang rising, and deficiency refers to Liver and Kidney yin deficiencies. Both conditions may be treated effectively with herbal medicine. The main advantage of using herbs is the effective ability to change the fundamental constitution of the body, thereby achieving long-term efficacy to reduce blood pressure, even after the herbs are discontinued. The main disadvantage, however, is that herbs are less immediately potent than drugs for the treatment of hypertensive crisis, or secondary hypertension, thus they should not be used in lieu of drugs in these cases.
Both drugs and herbs are effective for treating hypertension, and they have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. In addition to choosing either drugs or herbal therapy, it is also important to make diet and lifestyle changes to ensure successful long-term management of hypertension.
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