NCCIH Clinical Digest

for health professionals

Complementary Health Approaches for Hypertension

May 2021
Man checking his blood pressure

Some complementary health approaches are showing promise as elements of a program of lifestyle change that can help lower blood pressure. Research results show that some psychological and/or physical practices, such as relaxation techniques and yoga, may help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. There is some limited evidence that supplementation of garlic, omega-3 fatty acids, or green tea extract may have small effects in the reduction of blood pressure. No dietary supplement has been shown to have effects comparable to those of drugs used to treat hypertension.

Modality and Summary of Current Research

Relaxation techniques have shown modest, short-term reductions in blood pressure; however, many of these studies were of poor quality.

Read more about the research of relaxation techniques for hypertension

There is some low-quality evidence that yoga may be a useful adjunct intervention for the management of hypertension.

Read more about the research of yoga for hypertension

There is evidence that garlic preparations may lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, but most of the research consists of small, preliminary, or low-quality studies.

Read more about the research of garlic for hypertension

Results from randomized controlled trials are mixed, but overall, data suggest some benefit of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils in lowering blood pressure.

Read more about the research of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) for hypertension

Results of research suggest that green tea extract supplementation may reduce blood pressure over the short-term.

Read more about the research of green tea supplements for hypertension

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH’s Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH website at nccih.nih.gov. NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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