I've had high blood pressure all my life, at least since my early 20's when it was first discovered. I was in the Navy, and had been playing a vigorous game of air hockey at the mall when I stopped at one of those "check your blood pressure" stations (probably stopped because of a cute nurse or something like that
). 145/110. I figured it was the air hockey.
Fast forward about 20 years. Coming back from Oregon I have blinding headache, so bad that I have to stop at a Motel 6 for the night. Upon my return home I set an appointment to see my doctor. 160/115. He puts me on meds, alpha blockers or whatever. They make me tired (but I can really hold my breath underwater now, almost 2 minutes! Pulse dropped to about 40bpm.). Two years later I switch to ACE inhibitors, the most benign of bp meds, and I stay with them for the next several years. In late 2006 my bp starts to creep up again (never dropped below 130/90, now it's up to 140-145/95), so doctor wants to add a diuretic. Not good; they whack out your blood chemistry, so I pass. He prescribes anyway, I fire him.
In the process of dicussing my problem with some of my friends in China, I'm told that Pu'er tea can be very helpful in reducing blood fats (oh, my cholesterol has gone from 170 to 225 over the past 5 years) and potentially lowering bp. I figure "you yi si...". I've always enjoyed Pu'er and some fine Bai Cha that I bring in directly from China, so I continue that but commence to drink my Pu'er in earnest. 1 liter per day, brewed first thing in the morning, starting right after the second week of January, 2007.
Now, please understand... I lead a very confused and tormented life. I am the single father of 3 kids (two teenage girls!!), am self employed in an industry that just tanked (mortgage broker), went through an ugly divorce over the past 3 years (yes, it took that long) and get my exercise walking from my bedroom to my kitchen, 3 times per day. I weighed 220 pounds in January of this year (2007) and haven't had the time nor the energy to work out (is anyone interested in a VERY slightly used Bowflex?). My life has always been this way and my bp has always been high; fat, skinny (I weighed a rock-hard 165 when in the Navy), single, married, divorcing, divorced, with kids, without kids, vegetarian (when the high bp was first discovered!!), non-vegetarian, lots of money, NOT lots of money... I've lived it all and I've lived it all with high blood pressure.
After firing the aforementioned doctor for his diuretic "trick", I went looking for a new doctor.. I found her in March, 2007, a very cute young woman of Chinese extraction (THAT should cause a spike in the ol' bp!!) and we had a 'new recruit' interview. In the process, the nurse took my bp. 110/85. No, I said, you made a mistake. My bp has NEVER been that low. She obliged me and took it again. 110/85, even with Dr. Gigi standing there. I explained that this was simply impossible. Dr. Gigi herself takes my bp (I figure, now it should REALLY spike!!!
). 110/85. I explain my history to her (my medical records hadn't reached her yet). She is unfamiliar with Pu'er tea, but tells me "Stranger things have happened...".
OK. I do a little experiment. I cut WAY back on the Pu'er for 2 months and go back in for another exam. BP up slightly, 125/95. I start my "liter per day keeps the undertaker away" regimen again, 1 liter daily, first thing in the morning, and call on Dr. Gigi again after another 2 months. 110/80. Dr. Gigi is getting cuter, but the bp is going down.
This is an honest, no BS account of what has happened in my life. I want to stress the fact that absolutely nothing else has changed. Well, OK. I've lost about 35 pounds, something I have been trying but unable to do for about 10 years. My cholesterol is below 200. I suspect it will continue to drop, just as I suspect I will probably weigh in at about 175 (10 pounds less than today) within the next few months. There have been NO dietary changes (I eat less but I eat the same things; still addicted to Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers and Butterfingers), NO change in exercise habits, NO change in meds, although Dr. Gigi is going to start gradually reducing my prescription for the ACE inhibitor.
Oh yeah, I gave a couple of bricks of Pu'er tea to the mother of my younger daughter's best friend. Her blood pressure also dropped significantly, but I don't know anything about the other factors in her life. (Conversely, I've given some Pu'er to another hypertensive friend who noticed no difference at all).
Psychosomatic? I really doubt it. Nothing else has changed. In fact, I have been living with MORE stress over the past year than ever before in my life. Changes in diet? No. Changes in exercise? No, although I am planning to start an exercise program (
). Changes in attitude about life? No, same as before. I can't stress enough how clearly I feel it's the Pu'er tea. My hypertension was discovered when I was in my early 20's, in the best shape of my life. My blood pressure has ALWAYS been high, now it's not.
Anyway, YMMV, but if I were you and you have the same problems I've had, I would definitely give the Pu'er Cure (OK, I KNOW, it DOESN'T rhyme!!) a shot. If nothing else, you will develope a taste for fine Chinese tea!!