Woman suffers stroke as banana peel remedy fails

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - Page 4

A 50-year-old woman suffered a minor stroke recently after a failed attempt to lower her high blood pressure using banana peels.

According to Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital cardiologist Chiu Chiung-zuan (邱俊仁), the patient, surnamed Lin (林), was diagnosed with high blood pressure six months ago, but her fear of long-term dependency on medications prompted her to search for folk remedies on the Internet.

“Lin read that consuming banana peels can help to lower blood pressure and began eating them half a year ago. However, due to a lack of proper medication, recent temperature changes caused her blood pressure to fluctuate dramatically and eventually led to a minor stroke,” Chiu said.

Chiu said he has noticed a gradual increase in the number of people who seek professional medical assistance only after folk remedies prove ineffective.

The trend is alarming, Chiu said, citing an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in June last year, which showed that people with poorly managed high blood pressure face a 70 percent greater risk of suffering a stroke.

The Internet is saturated with an array of alleged remedies believed to be helpful in reducing blood pressure, such as washing one’s feet with baking soda, drinking red wine soaked with onion and eating vinegar-marinated peanuts.

According to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the incidence rate of high blood pressure is 29.7 percent among Taiwanese aged 40 and older, but only two-thirds of patients with hypertension seek treatment.

A guidebook published by the Taiwan Society of Cardiology and the Taiwan Hypertension Society on the management of high blood pressure last year advises people with two consecutive blood pressure readings of above 140/90 millimeters of mercury — which qualifies as hypertension — to seek medical attention, carry out dietary control and exercise regularly.