Alternative treatments

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Answers to the most common questions about alternative and complementary treatments for high blood pressure.

Alternative treatments

What herbal medicines can I take to lower blood pressure?

We get quite a number of enquiries about herbs for high blood pressure, such as hawthorn and ginkgo biloba. The British Hypertension Society Guidelines 2004 say the following about herbal medicines: “Limited and inadequate evidence is available to support the use of garlic, herbal and other complementary medicines to lower blood pressure.”

The fact that herbal remedies are natural does not guarantee that they are safe and you should be very careful about taking herbs to treat your high blood pressure. They should not be used in place of conventional treatments and if you do decide to take them as a supplement to your regular medication, you should tell both your doctor and your herbalist about the other medicines you take. Some herbs can interact with conventional medicines and may be harmful.

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Does RESPeRATE work?

"RESPeRATE" is a device that helps you to slow down your breathing.

Resperate has been granted as an adjunct therapy by the NHS. This means that a patient's GP can now prescribe it to a patient for the price of a normal prescription. As an adjunct therapy, it should be remembered, as with any adjunct therapy, it must not be used as a replacement for any prescribed treatments by a patient's GP. A GP may recommend Resperate as one of the tools, alongside medication and lifestyle advice to help try and lower a patient's blood pressure.

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Do relaxation techniques and yoga lower blood pressure?

Studies on meditation have shown falls in blood pressure, but this is due to the fact that you can learn to lower your blood pressure when it is being measured.  When blood pressure was measured over 24 hours in these studies, disappointingly, there was no overall fall in blood pressure in those who meditated against those who did not.  You should not, therefore, use yoga or meditation as a method to lower your blood pressure.

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