• Chinese food therapy;
  • hypertension;
  • quality of life;
  • traditional Chinese medicine;
  • Yin-deficiency

Objectives.  The objectives of this study are to evaluate the effectiveness of Chinese food therapy in correcting the Yin-deficiency and to examine its impact on the patients’ quality of life and hypertension control.

Background.  Epidemiological studies have shown 14–50% of people with hypertension have Yin-deficiency. Whether restoring the Yin–Yang balance by means of Chinese food therapy can help to better manage patients with hypertension has yet to be examined.

Design.  Two groups randomised controlled trial.

Methods.  Eighty-five hypertensive patients recruited from two community health service centre were divided into two groups. The intervention group (n = 48) received specific dietary instructions and corresponding management of their antihypertensive medication if indicated and brief health education, whilst the control group (n = 37) received routine support involving only brief health education. Data were collected at baseline, after intervention at four, eight, 12 and 16 weeks follow-up. Comparisons were made to examine the effects of Chinese food therapy on Yin-deficiency symptoms, blood pressure and quality of life of hypertensive patients.

Results.  The intervention group had reduction in the numbers of antihypertensive medication taken as well as improvement in most of the Yin-deficiency symptoms after 12 weeks of Chinese food therapy and mean scores of several SF-36 dimensions were higher than that of in the control group after 12 and 16 weeks follow-up. Significant difference was found in systolic blood pressure in the intervention group when it was compared from baseline to after four and eight weeks respectively.

Conclusion.  Chinese Food Therapy can restore body constitution with Yin–Yang imbalance and may potentially improve hypertensive patients’ quality of life. It is also beneficial in controlling blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Chinese food therapy may become a complementary therapy in health care and it should be a component of nursing education and health education.