Chinese Herbal Medicines for Hypertension

Hypertension is a common clinical chronic disease and one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Long-term hypertension can lead to systemic arteriolar disease and atherosclerosis of the large and middle arteries of the whole body, which in turn leads to target organ damage, leading to diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, hypertensive nephropathy, atherosclerotic obliterans.

According to statistics, there are approximately 130 million hypertensive patients in China. At present, patients with hypertension are increasing globally. Hypertension and its complications seriously endanger people’s health.

Clinically, hypertension can be divided into primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. 90% of hypertensive patients suffer from primary hypertension.

At present, the treatment of hypertension focuses on the rational use of antihypertensive drugs to control blood pressure, reduce the occurrence of various heart, brain, and kidney complications, reduce mortality, and prolong life.

After a large number of clinical observations and laboratory studies, many Chinese herbal medicines with certain antihypertensive effects have been summarized.

Gou Teng (Ramulus cum Uncis Uncariae)

Gou Teng commonly known as Ramulus cum Uncis Uncariae is the vine stem and thorny branches of Uncaria rhynchophylla, U. macrophylla, U. hirsuta, U. sinensis, or U. sessilifrudus, which is a perennial climbing vine belonging to the family Rubiaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Mingyi Bie Lu> around 420-589 AD.

It contains isorhynchophylline and rhynchophyllin, which can cause blood vessel dilation and lower blood pressure.
In addition, it also has the effects of anti-platelet aggregation, inhibition of thrombus, and relaxation of vascular smooth muscle.

Clinically, it is used to treat dizziness, headache, hypertension, children attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and severe hand foot and mouth disease. A small number of patients taking it may cause chest tightness, palpitations, or skin rashes.

Xia Ku Cao (Spica Prunellae)

Xia Ku Cao commonly known as Spica Prunellae is the spike of Prunella vulgaris, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Lamiaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

Its saponins can lower the systolic and diastolic blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

In addition, it is often used to treat hypertension, lymphatic tuberculosis, infiltrating tuberculosis, simple goiter, mumps, and mastitis. At present, there is no literature report that Xia Ku Cao has a toxic effect.

Ge Gen (Kudzu Root)

Ge Gen commonly known as Kudzu Root or Radix Puerariae is the root of Pueraria lobata, which is a perennial herbaceous vine belonging to the family Leguminosae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

It can inhibit β-adrenergic receptors, reduce endothelin, epinephrine, and isoproterenol-induced blood pressure increase.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to treat viral myocarditis, cerebral infarction, neurological deafness, tinnitus, vascular nerve headache, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and angina pectoris. At present, there is no literature report that Ge Gen has a toxic effect.

Jue Ming Zi (Cassia Seed)

Jue Ming Zi commonly known as Cao Jue Ming, Semen Cassiae or Cassia Seed is the mature seed of Cassia obtusifolia or Cassia tora, which is an annual herb belonging to the family Leguminosae. It is a commonly used Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

Studies have found that its injection can reduce the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of hypertensive rats. Its antihypertensive strength and duration are better than compound reserpine.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to treat migraine, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, habitual constipation, glaucoma, night blindness, corneal softening, and acute conjunctivitis.

Animal experiments have shown that long-term use of Jue Ming Zi may cause diseases such as kidney, rectum, colon, and other organs.

Luo Bu Ma Ye (Apocyni Veneti Folium)

Luo Bu Ma Ye commonly known as Apocyni Veneti Folium or Dogbane Leaf is the leaf of Apocynum venetum, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Apocynaceae. It first appeared in <Jiuhuang Bencao> (Materia Medica for Relief of Famines) in 1,406 AD.

Its total flavonoids can dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. It has good therapeutic effects on symptoms such as headache, dizziness, insomnia, and dreaminess.

In addition, it can treat hyperlipidemia, colds, chronic bronchitis, and heart failure. Overdose may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or upper abdominal discomfort.

Shan Zha (Hawthorn Fruit)

Shan Zha commonly known as Fructus Crataegi or Hawthorn Fruit is the ripe fruit of Crataegus pinnatifida Bge. var. major N.E.Br. or Crataegus pinnatifida Bge, which is a deciduous tree belonging to the family Rosaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu>(Collection of Commentaries on the Classic of the Materia Medica) at the end of the 5th century.

Studies have found that its total flavonoids can significantly reduce the diastolic blood pressure of patients with hypertension.
It also has the effects of lowering blood lipids, strengthening the heart, promoting blood circulation, and removing blood stasis.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to treat hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, bacillary dysentery, hepatitis, chilblains, pyelonephritis, and Keshan disease.
At present, it has been widely consumed as a health food.

Du Zhong (Cortex Eucommiae)

Du Zhong commonly known as Cortex Eucommiae is the bark of Eucommia ulmoides, which is a deciduous tree belonging to the family Eucommiaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

It contains pinoresinol diglucoside, which can dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Its hypotensive mechanism may be related to the regulation of plasma, ET, and NO.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to treat hypertension, knee osteoarthritis, and habitual abortion.
Overdose may cause dizziness, fatigue, or drowsiness.

Ye Ju Hua (Wild Chrysanthemum Flower)

Ye Ju Hua also known as Wild Chrysanthemum Flower or Flos Chrysanthemi Indici is the flower head of Chrysanthemum indicum, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Asteraceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Jing Yue Quan Shu> in 1,624 AD.

Studies have found that its extract can reduce blood viscosity, relax vascular endothelial cells, and lower blood pressure.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to treat pneumonia, tuberculosis, hypertension, aphthous, chronic prostatitis, neonatal impetigo, and tinea capitis. A small number of patients taking it may cause stomach upset, loss of appetite, bowel ringing, or loose stools.