Hypertension and Homeopathy
Homeopathy is a healing system that is available in the United States but is especially popular in Europe. In homeopathy, special remedies--made by diluting specific substances--are used to evoke a healing response in the body. In classical (constitutional) homeopathy, remedies are tailored to the unique symptoms as they are experienced by each patient. A number of homeopathic remedies are recommended for treating hypertension.
Effect of Homeopathy on Hypertension
Homeopathic remedies do not work in a direct or obvious way. Homeopathic theory has some relationship to ancient healing traditions, but in many ways stands uniquely on its own ground, unrelated to other approaches. The term "homeopathy" is formed from the combination of two Greek words: omio meaning “same” and pathos meaning "suffering." This reflects the homeopathic belief that a substance that causes certain symptoms in a healthy person can cure an ailing person of similar symptoms. This belief is the basis for how homeopathic remedies are formulated and recommended.
Research Evidence on Homeopathy
Homeopathic remedies have not been extensively studied for the treatment of hypertension. Most evidence for using homeopathy for this purpose is clinical.
Researchers have completed two studies of homeopathic remedies for treating hypertension. The results of these studies are not encouraging. However, because homeopathic remedies are low-risk (see Side Effects and Warnings), and because they are effective for treating a number of health conditions, they may be worth trying.
A 4-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolling 32 participants evaluated the possible efficacy of Baryta carbonica 15c in the treatment of hypertension.1 This study found no statistically significant difference between the treatment and control groups.
A very small, double-blind, crossover study enrolled 10 people with essential hypertension and compared individualized homeopathic treatment to standard drug therapy.2 These participants were examined on a weekly basis for 16 weeks. Homeopathic treatment was not effective.
How to Use Homeopathy
In classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for hypertension, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment. For instance:
- Baryta carbonica is traditionally used for people with hypertension who are extremely shy, lack concentration, and often display immature behavior. The symptom picture of this remedy includes high blood pressure that is made worse by exertion or lying on the left side, along with a tendency toward gripping pains in the stomach that improve by the person lying on the stomach.
- Aurum is often recommended for people whose high blood pressure is caused by slow-burning, long-term stress, often associated with career or ambition.
- Lachesis may be used for a person with high blood pressure who has a flushed look to the face, overactive behavior, and a tendency for compulsive talking, as if an inner boiler were always about to explode.
For more information, see "What to Expect From a Session With a Homeopathic Physician" in the full homeopathy article.
Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment
Constitutional (or classical) homeopathy is a holistic art that looks at the symptom picture of a person, including psychological, emotional, physical, and hereditary information, and tries to choose an appropriate remedy. Recently, however, a simplified form of homeopathy has developed, disease-oriented (or symptomatic) homeopathy, in which remedies are given based solely on specific diseases. Both types of homeopathy have been studied scientifically, although disease-oriented homeopathy has received more attention for the simple reason that it is easier to study.
Homeopaths, sometimes called homeopathic physicians, practice homeopathy. Homeopathic support is also available from health professionals, such as naturopathic doctors, who use homeopathy as part of their broader medical practice.
Side Effects and Warnings
Homeopathic remedies are, by nature, completely nontoxic.
However, according to the principles of classical (or constitutional) homeopathy, versus disease-oriented (or symptomatic) homeopathy, these remedies can cause problems. On the way toward a cure, temporary exacerbation of symptoms are said to occur frequently. Such “homeopathic aggravations” are supposed to indicate a release of underlying problems, and are therefore seen as ultimately helpful, if temporarily unpleasant. However, there is no meaningful scientific evidence that such aggravations take place at any higher rate than could be accounted for by chance (and patient’s expectation).
- Bignamini M, Bertoli A, Consolandi AM, et al. Contolled double blind trial with Baryta carbonic 15CH versus placebo in a group of hypertensive subjects confined to bed in old people’s home. Br Homeopath J. 1987;76:114–119.
- Hitzenberger G, Korn A, Dorcsi M, et al. Controlled randomized double blind study for the comparison of the treatment of patients with essential hypertension with homeopathic and pharmacologically effective drugs [abstract only]. Wein Klin Wochenschr. 1982;94:665–670.