What About Natural Remedies for Hypertension?

Non-drug therapies for hypertension examined by cardiologists

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Cardiologist John Bisognano, M.D., Ph.D. has patients coming in "carrying bags full of 'natural' products that they hope will help lower their blood pressure." He wanted to know which ones work.

In an effort to educate patients and healthcare professionals, Dr. Bisognano, professor of medicine and director of Outpatient Cardiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Kevin Woolf, M.D. a cardiology fellow at the Medical Center, conducted a thorough research of non-drug treatments for high blood pressure.

"Talk to your doctor about supplementing your BP meds."

Here's what the doctors found about natural treatments:

Dietary supplements

  • Coenzyme Q10 supplements show promise in increasing the level of enzyme that's low in patients with high blood pressure (BP).
  • Potassium helps, too and can be obtained through foods or supplements.

Herbal remedies

  • Mistletoe extract, a traditional Chinese medicine remedy, reduced BP in animals, but may be toxic in high doses.
  • Extract from Hawthorn slightly reduces BP.
  • Dr. Wolfe said some herbal remedies, including t. John's wort, ephedra/ma huang, yohimbine and licorice may actually increase BP.


  • Acupuncture given to patients taking medications, transcendental and Zen Buddhist meditation and Qi Kong also lowered BP slightly.


  • The RESPeRATE breathing device and Zona Plus hand grip device seem to work and Dr. Bisognano has suggested them to interested patients.

When asked by dailyRx if he recommends natural remedies to his patients on a routine basis, Dr. Bisognano said, "I generally do not recommend CoQ10 or natural remedies for my patients. We are living in a very fortunate time when there are numerous great medications available for the treatment of hypertension that have undergone rigorous testing for safety and efficacy, and have a track record, sometimes decades long, of great success in preventing heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease."

Dr. Bisognano continued, "The data on natural remedies has generally not been rigorously obtained, and I generally see no reason for patients to avoid tried and true successful therapies just to say that they're on something 'natural.'"

He concludes, "The word "natural" is not synonymous with 'preferable.'"

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 2, 2011
Last Updated:
September 5, 2011