There is a lot of awareness about the correct levels of total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides that should be there in blood. Since the increased levels can be dangerous, there is tremendous concern about how to lower the levels of cholesterol. Though there exist medications, but their long time use poses many risks because of their side effects on liver.
That makes us look for safe herbal alternatives. Even if not completely at least part dependence on herbs could also be beneficial.
List of Herbs to Help Lower Cholesterol
It is the fiber content of psyllium that makes it capable of being so wonderful. When the food containing cholesterol is in the alimentary canal, the fiber of the psyllium attaches itself to cholesterol. Since it is an insoluble fiber, it gets out of the body as stool, taking along the cholesterol. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) endorses the role played by psyllium in controlling cholesterol.
The suggested dosage is 2 to 3 tbsp every day. One should divide it into two or three doses, to be taken half an hour before meals, so that it is already there, when the cholesterol-laden food comes in. But it is very important to drink at least one glass of water while eating psyllium. Without a generous intake of water, it will cause constipation.
Though not common, it may cause some side effects, according to the National Library of Medicine, USA . The side effects may be nausea, rashes, vomiting and stomach ache. One still needs to watch the diet and ensure that it is cholesterol-free.
Fenugreek is said to be beneficial for reducing the cholesterol levels in the body. The chemical compounds believed to be responsible for the medicinal properties are called saponins , they are steroidal in nature. And another component for the good work is the fiber that makes fenugreek seeds mucilaginous. One can eat fenugreek seeds in many ways. The powder form can be bought, and is very easy to use. It can also be obtained as whole seeds, capsule and liquid. The dose per day may vary from 10 mg to 30 mg. It is best to consume it in three doses per day along with all the three meals.
According to a published study “Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids” fenugreek seeds decreased the triglycerides and the total cholesterol. The study was published in 1997, and was conducted on the heart and diabetes patients. One more study published in 1990, in “European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition” remarked on the significant reduction of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and also triglycerides.
Known to have many medicinal properties, the preliminary studies have been done for their benefits in cholesterol reduction. The evidences show that dandelion can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides and it can also raise good cholesterol (HDL).
Loaded with Omega-3, they are one of the best herbal remedies to fight cholesterol. The fiber content of flax seeds is responsible for removal of cholesterol from food in the intestines.
They can be consumed easily, being nutty and flavourful in taste you will love to make roasted and toasted flax seeds a part of your salads. Put them in meatloaf or in your breads, whatever may be your version of bread, they will taste well. Powder them and add to any dish. Try eating 4 to 5 tbsp of flax seeds everyday, in whatever form to get results.
The potent part of cayenne plant is its fruit. It is a red chilli, long and tapered at one end. It is commonly used in some cuisines, rather is an essential ingredient for cooking in some parts of the world. In addition to reducing cholesterol, it has many other benefits. People have been aware of benefits over thousands of years. The compound that does the trick of lowering cholesterol is called capasaicin.
Cayenne peppers are considered good even to reduce the plaque accumulated in the blood vessels. It is thought that capasaicin can break up the fibrous network holding the plaque. The same quality allows the blood to flow smoothly in the blood vessels without allowing the clots to form. Its powder can be a part of your meals, but it is available in a capsule form too.
Artichoke leaves are beneficial for lowering LDL, the bad cholesterol. The good part about artichoke leaves is, that they have two active compounds namely luteolin and cybarin. Luteolin reduces LDL, while cybrain works amazingly on increasing bile production in liver to hasten the exit of cholesterol in excreta.
The recommended dosage according to a study is 180 ml of herb extract per day, to reduce cholesterol by 18% over a period of one and a half months.
Garlic has been an approved herb around Europe to reduce cholesterol. Eating raw garlic works best for this purpose. The study have shown that consuming one clove of garlic lowers the LDL (bad cholesterol) , while it increases HDL ( good cholesterol). It has a potential for decreasing triglycerides.
It is a powerful agent, used for many ailments. Hence, one must check with a herbal doctor about its usage, informing him about one’s medications and health condition.
Derived from a resin from mukul myrrh tree, it is a herbal extract. It is used in India as Asia as an Ayurvedic medicine for its cholesterol reducing properties. It has gained popularity even in America and Europe. The organic compounds guggulsterones are believed to be responsible for working on cholesterol.
It is the root of fo-ti that has been used in China. It is known to reduce the cholesterol levels and it can also reduce the hardening of the plaque in the arteries. Though rare, it can result in skin rashes. If taken in larger quantities than 15 mg the limbs can become numb.
It is derived from sugarcane, is known to reduce the bad cholesterol LDL. Policosanol can be extracted from beeswax too , and is being sold in the US as a part of cholesterol lowering formulation Cholestin, but there is not sufficient evidence of it being efficacious.
In addition to the above listed herbs, there are some others which can lower the cholesterol. Yarrow, holy basil, ginger, rosemary and turmeric may also be useful. Studies are in progress to check the benefits.
Though there are many treatments and remedies, it is advisable that one eats a diet free of animal fats and does the exercises regularly, to avoid or to reduce the cholesterol problems.