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Homeopathy and Hypertension

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in stress, originally published in issue 59 - December 2000

I am often asked whether homeopathy can treat raised blood pressure. This can be a rather loaded question, as sufferers are usually keen to avoid prescription medication and are effectively looking for a cure. Hypertension is a multifactorial condition; in other words, there are a number of factors operating which combine to produce raised blood pressure in any particular individual. These factors can include an inherited predisposition, unsuitable diet, kidney disease, past or present pregnancy problems and, of course, stress. It is therefore vital, as in all homeopathic cases, to fully assess the situation of the individual patient before giving an opinion as to whether homeopathy has a role in management.

Mark's case is fairly typical of the type of blood pressure case that arrives at my clinic. He was in his late sixties and had had hypertension for twenty years. It had never been a big problem and he had managed on a single tablet daily until two years previously.

At a routine check-up, his GP found that the blood pressure had gone up significantly. This was a genuine reading, as it remained high on a number of subsequent measurements by the nurse. Mark was examined by his doctor, and blood tests were done to ensure that there was no kidney problem causing this deterioration.

Everything seemed to be in order, and Mark's GP concluded that this was a simple case of worsening blood pressure. The dose of Mark's medication was increased and then a second medication was added. Even then, the blood pressure was not responding as well as it should and Mark was becoming concerned that he would end up on very high doses of medication, a situation which he preferred to avoid. He therefore decided to try homeopathy.

In his first consultation, I established that Mark was a retired Maths teacher. He was a widower, his wife having died of cancer three years before, very soon after he retired. This event had, naturally, hit Mark very hard. He was still furious with fate at having had his chance of a happy and fulfilled retirement snatched away so cruelly. However, this anger was not evident at first meeting Mark. He was the very epitome of controlled pleasantness – the typical English gentleman maintaining a stiff upper lip in the face of adversity. To display upset or undue emotion would have represented a disastrous loss of control to Mark and he hated fuss or consolation of any kind.

He admitted to being something of a headache sufferer – those hammering tension-type headaches that occasionally develop into migraine. He also had some arthritis, with mild pain and stiffness in a number or joints. He had a tendency to an itchy, flaky rash around the nose and hairline, which worsened with stress and had a nasty year-long bout of eczema around the time of his wife's illness and death.

Generally, he could be either too hot or too cold but particularly disliked stuffy rooms. He did not sweat much, even with exertion. He liked spicy food and salty snacks (which he nonetheless avoided) and was thirsty for cold drinks. He loved the seaside but, interestingly, had found that it made his joints and his skin worse. His bowels tended to be slightly on the constipated side despite a healthy diet.

It was interesting to note that the deterioration in Mark's blood pressure coincided with his bereavement. This was particularly relevant as Mark's way of coping with his distress was to conceal it expertly and to avoid anything that might unearth it, such as consolation or sympathy. This is a typical feature of the remedy type, Natrum muriaticum or Nat mur. A number of other features pointed to Nat mur, such as the eczema after grief, the flaky seborrhoeic dermatitis, the constipation, the desire for salt, the worsening of complaints by the seaside and indeed, the tendency to hypertension itself. I therefore gave Mark a dose of Nat mur 30c and reviewed after two months. I asked him to ensure that he remained on his regular medication and had his pressure taken every three to four weeks.

At his review appointment, Mark arrived with a graph of his blood pressure readings over the past year. The last few had fallen, but only very slightly, and Mark's GP was still inclined to feel that the medication should be increased. However, he was willing to wait a little longer. More encouragingly, Mark had noticed a marked initial decrease in his headaches and in his arthritic pains. These were now returning. His facial rash had flared up quite considerably and was only now beginning to settle. Overall, he felt "fine". My assessment of the situation was that the Nat mur had acted by causing an aggravation in the skin and an improvement in the headaches and joints.

He needed another dose, and possibly a regular dose to effect an improvement in the blood pressure.

After a further three months with a single monthly dose of Nat mur, I had the news I had hoped for. Mark's blood pressure was now normal. He was taking his conventional medication but had not needed to increase the dosage any further. In fact, his readings were so good that his GP said that he might let him drop the second agent, if things continued so well. And they did. Two years later, Mark is now back on his original dose of blood pressure tablets plus a monthly dose of Nat mur 30c. He feels well, sleeps restfully and has little problem from tension headache, arthritis or eczema.

The important points from this case are that Mark's hypertension was not cured. However, it was brought back under control by treating the adverse effects of his bereavement, which, in my opinion, were at the root of his worsening blood pressure. Mark was particularly prone to this reaction because of his personality type, which fits in well with the Nat mur picture. However, other personality types can respond in a Nat mur way to a major grief and can be helped with any ailments that they develop from that grief, by Nat mur.

As is clear from Mark's story, it is quite possible to treat people taking conventional medication with homeopathy, without any detriment or interaction. Finally, patients should never alter or reduce any long-term medication without discussing this first with their GP.

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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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