Pilot study on Hypertension
In spring of 1988, 1104 resident Tibetans of above 30 years of age in and around Dharamsala were screened and 285 people were found to be hypertensive. The incidence of hypertension among Tibetan refugees has been shown to be disturbingly high, and at the same time many positive reports in treating hypertension with the use of Tibetan medicine has been credited in bringing the study of this particular illness to the fore. Therefore this study was undertaken by the Clinical Research Dept. of Men-Tsee-Khang in the year 1989 for a period of six months to test the efficacy of traditional Tibetan herbal remedies in treating hypertension. This pilot study was a blind, placebo controlled, quantitative study. The trial was carried at Gangkyi Branch clinic, Dharamsala, for six months on 83 patients who were non randomly allocated in two arms, one arm receiving treatment (12 different kinds of Tibetan medicines) and other arm receiving a Placebo (4 kinds of Tibetan Medicine having neutral potency).They were accessed to blood pressure reading every week. Statistical comparison between control group and experimental group were performed using a Student's T-test.
There was no significant statistical difference in mean systolic or diastolic pressure between initial values up to any time point within the six months of treatment (p>.1). There were also no significant differences between the initial blood pressure values for the experimental and control groups, and that the control group values also did not change over time. The blood pressure readings of each patient were averaged for a week following the use of each medicine and standard deviation were computed. These data indicate that none of the medicine led to decreased blood pressure in the weeks following its administration, either relative to baseline, to placebo treatment, or to other Tibetan medicines.
The various Men-Tsee-Khang (TMAI) branch clinics have witnessed a significant rise in hypertension cases amongst the Tibetan people within India, which has been attributed to the population's high dietary intake of calories and fats, their relative sedentary lifestyle, and the underlying stress associated with the trauma of adapting with new environments and family separation. These risk factors are also coupled with a lack of public awareness about hypertension, and poor access to health care systems to address this rising prevalence of hypertension. In this study Tibetan people within the age range of 30-70 were asked to come for blood pressure screening and to participate in the Schedule Standardized Interview, which allowed for the collection of people's identification details, physical examinations findings, dietary patterns, behavioral factors, physical & mental activity and prior treatment history. The study results found that 46% of the population screened was found to be hypertensive. The associated factors noted in the survey such as male gender, being overweight, a dietary intake of alcohol, non-vegetarian diet and Tibetan butter salted tea, and physical inactivity were shown to play significant and independent roles in the development of hypertension amongst the Tibetan refugees residing in the northern and southern settlements in India. The detail report has been published in Men-Tsee-Khang News Letter, Vol. XX, March -2011.
The treatment of hypertension in a traditional Tibetan medicine has been a potential hope in Hypertensive patients that is increasing rapidly as per the reports of various branch clinics of Men-Tsee-Khang, Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute and the recent Hypertension survey, a hope of fruitful, holistic treatment and a freedom from the clutches of lifetime allopathic medication. This needs to be demonstrated by showing the efficacy and safety of traditional Tibetan medicine or Sowa Rigpa. Therefore, an Open, single centre, non - randomized, comparative study on 150 participants was initiated by Clinical Research department of Men-Tsee- Khang at Dekyiling Branch Clinic, Dehradun on 26th April 2009. The criteria for the eligibility of participants were of age between 30-70 who were either untreated case or newly diagnosed hypertensive patients with blood pressure of >125/85 mm/Hg and < 159/99. Four selected medicines of traditional Tibetan medicines along with Dietary control & Lifestyles counseling formed intervention arm, where as Dietary & Lifestyles counseling alone was the control arm of this study. One hundred and fifty patients were allocated into one of the two groups. Seventy participants in the treatment group (Group I) and sixty seven participants in control group (Group II) completed the study. It was found that the percentage reduction in SBP was similar in both the treatment and control arm at both 3 and 6 months. Diastolic blood pressure in both the treatment and control arm showed increase at six months. However, in the treatment group, increase in DBP was significantly less at 6 months as compare to control group (p-value=0.0035). There were no adverse effect and adverse event noted or reported during trial period. The detail report will soon publish in sMen-rTsis Journal, 2012