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High Cholesterol Herbal Treatment

High Cholesterol Herbs

Cholesterol herbs help lower the blood cholesterol level due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Additionally, it strengthens the functioning of intestines, liver, heart, and kidney, which may be responsible for high cholesterol cause or affected in the long run.

How are medicinal drugs developed?

Many conventional drugs have been derived and developed similar to the molecules found in a medicinal plant. 
For example, Metformin, an oral glucose-lowering agent, is developed based on the plant Galega officinalis used to treat diabetes. 

Similarly, Statins (a cholesterol-lowering drug) is developed from a blue-green mold isolated from a rice sample collected at a grain shop in Kyoto.

Why people prefer to take cholesterol herbs?

Oral antilipidemic drugs have some adverse effects, such as bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.
Even certain cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins may cause severe side effects such as memory loss, confusion, increased blood sugar that might lead to diabetes, and kidney or liver damage.

However, the herbs gifted by nature are mostly safe if you take it as directed within limits. Also, herbs lower the cholesterol level by correcting the root cause of problems such as inflammation, digestive organ problems, or low thyroid function.

How do cholesterol herbs lower heart risk?

Many plants with the hypolipidemic property are widely used in traditional medicinal systems. Several of these medicinal plants are investigated for their use in high cholesterol patients. 
These herbs work differently in various ways as listed below:

  • Limiting the cholesterol synthesis by the body,
  • Reduce the absorption of cholesterol by the body,
  • By improving the liver function and expels unwanted excess lipids as waste.
  • By improving the kidney function, thus lower cholesterol by expelling excess cholesterol.
  • Break down the blood cholesterol deposits and free up the arteries.
  • Act as an antioxidant and help the blood vessels to preserve or regain its elasticity.
  • Act as an anti-inflammatory and help heal inflammation, thus lower cholesterol.

18 Useful Herbs for High Cholesterol

Herbs can lower cholesterol by relieving inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, strengthening the digestion system, and normalizing the thyroid function. 

Following are the 18 herbs to lower/eliminate cardiovascular risk:

1. Bottle Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria)

It is cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Tropical Africa, Colombia, and Brazil. 

Cardioprotective property - Its juice is an excellent remedy for heart problems. It possesses antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidants activities.

Clinical Study - A study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014 Apr;19(2):112-8 with the title "Lipid-lowering and antioxidant functions of bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) extract in human dyslipidemia." The study shows its fruit extract serves as a dietary adjunct in the treatment of human dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease.

Other medicinal uses – It is useful for digestive health, urinary disorders, and diabetes. The juice also shows helpful in the treatment of insomnia, epilepsy, and other nervous diseases. It has analgesic, antimicrobial, diuretic, immunomodulatory, anti-stress, and adaptogen properties.

How to take a bottle gourd? Wash, peel the skin, cut into pieces, and grind to make juice or use it for cooking (search for suitable recipes).

2. Onions (Allium cepa)

Onion is a vegetable cultivated in China, India, America, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan. 

Cardioprotective property - It helps reduce arteriosclerosis, lower blood cholesterol levels, decrease triglycerides, and prevent the formation of blood clots. Onions are an excellent source of antioxidants. Their anti-inflammatory property may help lower high blood pressure and protect against blood clots.

Clinical Study - A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 102, issue 7 Dt. 14 October 2009. pp. 1065-1074 with the title Quercetin reduce systolic blood pressure and plasma oxidized low-density lipoprotein concentrations in overweight subjects with a high-cardiovascular disease risk phenotype: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled cross-over study.

Other medicinal uses – It controls blood sugar, improves bone density, and boosts digestion.

How to use onion? Use this vegetable regularly in the cooking, search for suitable recipes. Raw consumption is preferable.

3. Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic Producing Countries are China, India, South Korea, Bangladesh, Egypt, Russia, Myanmar, Ukraine, Spain, and the USA. The Chinese and Indians used it for more than 4,700 years. 

Cardioprotective property - Garlic is useful for several conditions linked to the circulatory system that includes high cholesterol, hypertension, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack, and coronary heart disease. 

Clinical Study - A study published in the Medicine, May 2018, volume 97, issue 18, p-e0255 with the title Anti-hyperlipidemia of garlic by reducing the level of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein. The study shows garlic can reduce the level of TC and LDL, which indicates the ability of anti-hyperlipidemic.

Other medicinal uses - It is useful for diabetes, common cold & flu, allergies, Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, blood purifier, yeast infection, ulcers, and improve bone health. It possesses anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, antioxidant, and anticancer properties.

How to use garlic? Take 2 to 3 garlic cloves, peel the skin, put into a glass of milk, boil the milk until it foams, wait until it becomes warm, and eat the garlic cloves and drink the milk before going to bed.

4. Ginger (Zingiber Officinale)

Ginger is used widely in Ayurveda, Chinese, Unani, and Tibetan medicine. Ginger is harvested in India, Nigeria, China, Indonesia, Nepal. Thailand, Cameroon, Bangladesh, and Japan.

Cardioprotective property - Research show ginger may be useful as a cholesterol-lowering, anti-inflammatory, blood thinner, and help reduce heart attack & stroke risk. 

Clinical Study - In 2008, research published in the Saudi Medical Journal found that three grams of ginger powder thrice daily significantly reduced LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in 85 people with high cholesterol. The results show that ginger has a significant lipid-lowering effect compared to the placebo.

Other medicinal uses – Ginger may lower blood sugars, osteoarthritis, reduce muscle pain, treat chronic indigestion, reduce menstrual pain, prevent cancer, improve brain function, protect against Alzheimer's disease, and fight infections.

How to take ginger? Take 1-inch long ginger, wash thoroughly, remove the skin with a knife, cut it into tiny pieces, put it into 1 ½ glass of water, optionally add stevia to sweeten, boil the water, lower the heat & leave it for 5 minutes, filter and drink the tea.

5. Curry leaves (Murraya Koenigii)

India is the largest producer of curry leaves. Burma, Malaysia, and South Africa are also producing curry leaves. 

Cardioprotective property – It may improve high cholesterol level & type 2 diabetes and help the heart function better. Packed with antioxidants, it prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and thus protects from heart disease and atherosclerosis. 

Clinical Study - A study published in International Journal of Clinical Trials 2017 Feb;4(1):7-13 with the title "Effect of curry leaves and cucumber fruit on lipid profile in menopausal women with hyperlipidemia: a randomized controlled pilot study." The study shows Curry leaves and cucumber were effective in improving HDL-C and lowering of LDL-C and TAG levels in menopausal women with hyperlipidemia, suggest the potential role in treating CVD. 

Other medicinal uses – Curry leaves help improve digestion and modifies the way the body absorbs fat, thereby help lose weight. It has antimicrobial, antiulcer, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhea, nephroprotective, neuroprotective, anticancer, and hepatoprotective activities.

How to consume curry leaves? Take a glass of buttermilk, mix a pinch of asafetida, add few grounded curry leaves, and drink it after meal for proper digestion.

6. Artichoke (Cynara Cardunculus)

It is growing in Italy, Spain, France, and the United States.

Cardioprotective property - It improves heart health and regulates blood pressure, increased HDL cholesterol, and reduced total & LDL cholesterol. 

Clinical Study - A study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Volume 64, 2013 - Issue 1 with the title "Beneficial effects of artichoke leaf extract supplementation on increasing HDL-cholesterol in subjects with primary mild hypercholesterolemia: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial." These results indicate that Artichoke Leaf Extract could play an essential role in the management of mild hypercholesterolemia, favoring, in particular, the increase in HDL-C, besides decreasing total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.

Other medicinal uses – It improves liver and digestive health, and ease irritable bowel syndrome. It boosts metabolism (help weight loss), helps manage diabetes, increases bone density, improves brain function.

How to use artichoke? Use it for cooking, search for a suitable recipe.

7. Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis)

China is the largest green tea producer. Other countries are Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Russia.

Cardioprotective property - The powerful antioxidant potential of green tea help reduce the LDL cholesterol levels and prevent atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque in the arteries). 

Clinical Study - A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 94, Issue 2, August 2011, Pages 601–610 with the title "Green tea intake lowers fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol in adults: a meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials." The analysis of eligible studies showed that the administration of green tea beverages or extracts resulted in significant reductions in serum TC and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, but no effect on HDL cholesterol was observed.

Other medicinal uses – It can improve brain function and make you smarter. It burns fat, thus help lose weight and provide long-lasting energy. It protects against cancer, lower Alzheimer's & Parkinson’s risk, prevent type 2 diabetes and improve overall health.

8. Holy basil or Tulsi (Ocimum Basilicum)

Basil is native to India and was used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine as an “adaptogen,” which means increased body's resistance against physical, chemical, or environmental stressors. 

Cardioprotective property - Tulsi may dissolve cholesterol build-up in the arteries and releases it into the bloodstream, and then kidneys expel them as waste. For more visit Holy Basil lower cholesterol.

Clinical Study – A study published in the Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 45, June 2018, Pages 47-57 with the title "Holy basil (Tulsi) lowers fasting glucose and improves lipid profile in adults with metabolic disease: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials." Tulsi decreases total, LDL, and VLDL cholesterol in older patients with metabolic disease.

Other medicinal uses - Tulsi possesses antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It is useful as hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, hepatoprotective, reno-protective, and neuroprotective.

Caution: It possesses spermicidal property (kills spermatozoa), so avoid it if you are planning for a child.

How to use Tulsi? Eat 5 to 6 fresh leaves in the morning in an empty stomach. Alternatively, prepare Tulsi tea using dried leaves or take a Tulsi capsule.

9. Saffron (Crocus Sativus)

This reddish-yellow spice is the most expensive spice by weight in the world. It is grown in Iran, India, Afghanistan, Italy, France, New Zealand, Pennsylvania, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Morocco, Turkey, and China. 

Cardioprotective property - Saffron helps lower cholesterol by as high as 50%. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial to cardiovascular health. An animal study shows that it could reduce total & LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels; also, it increases HDL cholesterol in rats.

Clinical Study - A study published in the Journal of Tehran University Heart Center, 2011 Spring; 6(2): 59–61 with the title "Cardiovascular Effects of Saffron: An Evidence-Based Review." The study shows saffron cholesterol-lowering benefits are due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Saffron may be one of the best supplements for cardiac health. 

Other medicinal uses – It improves digestion, eye vision, insomnia, brain health, enhances immunity, and protects the liver.

How to use saffron? Just sprinkle some 5 to 6 strains of saffron in a glass of warm water or milk, stir well, and drink before bedtime.

10. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum)

The cinnamon stick is a brown inner bark of a cinnamon tree used as a spice.  It is cultivating in Sri Lanka, Brazil, the Caribbean, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and Burma.

Cardioprotective property - Traditionally used to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Its bioactive compound believed to work similarly to statins drug in lowering cholesterol without any side effects. It is rich in the antioxidant property that protects from oxidative damage (free radicals). It possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce inflammatory conditions that cause severe heart conditions.

Clinical Study - A study published in the Lipids in Health and Disease 2017; 16: 113. with the title "Effect of oral cinnamon intervention on metabolic profile and body composition of Asian Indians with metabolic syndrome: a randomized, double-blind control trial." It significantly decreased fasting blood glucose, HbA1C, waist circumference and body mass index. Other parameters that showed significant improvement were waist-hip ratio, blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides, and HDL-C.

Other health benefits? It may also relieve digestive problems, improve appetite, soothe upset stomach, gas, bloating, and occasional indigestion. It is a warming circulatory tonic, useful for neurodegenerative diseases, prevent cancer, fight against viral, bacterial and fungal infection. For more visit, Cinnamon lowers cholesterol.

How to use cinnamon? Take 1 ½ glasses of water, boil the water, break a cinnamon sticks into pieces, optionally you can add few stevia leaves to sweeten, reduce the flame/heat, leave it for 10 minutes by closing the container with a lid, remove from heat, filter and drink the tea every morning in an empty stomach or in-between meals. 

11. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

India is the largest producer of coriander (more than 70%). Other producers are Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Iran, Morocco, Canada, and Australia.

Cardioprotective property - It is diuretic in nature that makes the kidneys perform their roles of excretion better. The kidneys flush out the excess unneeded cholesterol as well as sodium from the body. Thus, it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol level.

Clinical Study - A study published in the Journal of Environmental Biology 2008 Jan;29(1):53-6. With the title "The cholesterol-lowering property of coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum): mechanism of action." Cinnamon possesses hypocholesterolemia effect; it decreased the levels of LDL & VLDL cholesterol, also increased the level of HDL cholesterol.

Other health benefits - Coriander is useful for digestion problems including upset stomach, loss of appetite, hernia, nausea, diarrhea, bowel spasms, and intestinal gas. It helps to lower blood sugar, boost immunity, protect the brain, and fight infections for more visit Coriander lower cholesterol.

How to use coriander? Take a glass of water, boil the water, put one tablespoon of coriander seeds, optionally, you can add few stevia leaves to sweeten, reduce the flame/heat, leave it for 10 minutes by closing the container with a lid, remove from the heat, filter and drink the tea once or twice.

12. Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum)

Fenugreek is native to India, also cultivated in Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Turkey. 

Cardioprotective property - It improves poor thyroid function. It believed to inhibit cholesterol absorption and synthesis, thus lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. 

Clinical Study - A study published in the Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, December 1999, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 359–365 with the title "Hypocholesterolemic effect of germinated fenugreek seeds in human subjects." The study shows consumption of 18.0 g of the germinated seed resulted in a significant reduction in total cholesterol and LDL levels. No significant changes noted in HDL, VLDL, and triglyceride levels.

Other medicinal uses - It nourishes the digestive system, useful for loss of appetite, upset stomach, constipation, inflammation of the stomach (gastritis). It promotes liver & respiratory health and lower blood sugar levels. For more visit, Fenugreek improves cholesterol.

How to use fenugreek? Clean and soak 1 or 2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in the night, next day morning, eat the fenugreek and drink the liquid in an empty stomach.

13. Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)

India is the largest producer of turmeric. Other significant producers are Thailand, other Southeast Asian countries, Central and Latin America, and Taiwan.

Cardioprotective property - Its active compound curcumin is known to preserve cardiovascular health, good for atherosclerosis, and reduce cholesterol accumulation in the blood. It possesses potent anti-inflammation and anti-oxidation properties.

Clinical Study - A study published in the Nutrition Journal 2017; 16: 68. with the title "Efficacy and safety of turmeric and curcumin in lowering blood lipid levels in patients with cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." Turmeric and curcumin may protect patients at risk of CVD through improving serum lipid levels. Turmeric and curcumin significantly reduced serum LDL-C and TG levels. These may be effective in lowering serum TC levels in patients with metabolic syndrome. Serum HDL-C levels were not improved.

Other medicinal uses – Useful to prevent cancer, treat Alzheimer's Disease, improve cognitive function & memory, Arthritis, depression, promote joint health, maintain blood sugar level, and delay aging.

How to use turmeric? Take ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, add it into a glass of warm milk, stir well, and drink before going to bed. Alternatively, you can take a curcumin capsule, use it in the cooking, drink turmeric tea, etc.

14. Bay Leaf (Laurus Nobilis)

It has grown in the Mediterranean region, Algeria, France, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Spain, USA, and Yugoslavia for the production of essential oil. 

Cardioprotective property - Bay leaves enhance heart health by strengthening the heart's capillary walls, and eliminate excess cholesterol from the cardiovascular system. 

Clinical Study - A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 2009 Jan; 44(1): 52–56. with the title "Bay Leaves Improve Glucose and Lipid Profile of People with Type 2 Diabetes." In summary, bay leaves reduced serum glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased HDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Other medicinal uses – It is useful for digestive and respiratory health. It prevents cancer, reduces stress/anxiety, helps manage diabetes, boosts immunity, and to avoid insomnia.

How to use bay leaf? Use it in cooking to increase its flavor. Search for various healthy recipes.

15. Amla or Indian Gooseberry (Phyllanthus Emblica)

Amla is native to India, also growing in Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, South East Asia, and China. Emblica Officinalis and Phyllanthus Emblica are Synonym.

Cardioprotective property - Indian gooseberry is most commonly used for high cholesterol, abnormal levels of cholesterol, or blood fats (dyslipidemia). It strengthens the heart muscle, so the heart pumps blood efficiently. The presence of chromium prevents plaque formation in the blood vessels. It can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. 

Clinical Study - A study published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2019; 19: 27. with the title " A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial to assess the efficacy and safety of Emblica Officinalis extract in patients with dyslipidemia." In 12 weeks, it significantly lowered total cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL-C and VLDL-C. There is a 39% reduction in the atherogenic index of the plasma and the ratio of Apo B to Apo A1 was reduced. However, there was no significant change in the CoQ10 level. Additionally, fasting blood sugar reduction was noted among prediabetes and diabetes.

Other medicinal uses – It is suitable for digestion and assimilation of foods. It flushes out toxins from the body, being alkaline in nature, balances, and strengthening the digestion process. It improves Immunity, respiratory system, mental functions, treats anemia, purifies the blood, and reduces stress.

How to take Amla? Eat it fresh if available, alternatively can take amla powder, extract, and Ayurveda jam.

16. Arjuna (Terminalia Arjuna)

The arjuna is found in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, and Africa. Its bark has been used in India for more than 3000 years, primarily as a heart remedy.

Cardioprotective property - This medicinal plant is useful for heart diseases because of its cardio-protective, cardio-strengthening, and heartbeat normalizing features. It has been helpful for heart failure, ischemia (is-kee·mee·uh), cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis (a·thr·ow·sklr·ow·suhs), and myocardium necrosis. It reduces blood cholesterol levels by inhibiting lipid absorption.

Clinical Study - A study published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India 2001 Feb;49:231-5. with the title "Antioxidant and hypocholesterolemia effects of Terminalia arjuna tree-bark powder: a randomized placebo-controlled trial." There was a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Terminalia arjuna tree bark powder has substantial antioxidant action and also has a considerable hypocholesterolemia effect.

Other health benefits - It possesses antioxidant, anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and gastro-productive effects. It is useful for stress and nervous conditions. By improving blood circulation, it regulates blood pressure.  It is helpful for hypertension because of its mild diuretic property. For more visit, Arjuna reduces cholesterol.

Caution: It possesses antifertility property, so avoid its use, if you are planning for a child.

How to use arjuna? Take a glass of water, boil the water, break the arjuna bark into pieces or take arjuna powder, optionally you can add few stevia leaves to sweeten, reduce the flame/heat, leave it for 10 minutes by closing the container with a lid, remove from the heat, filter and drink the tea after breakfast and dinner.  

17. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

It is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. Its root extract has a sweet flavor. It boosts overall health.
Cardioprotective property - Good for heart health, prevent plaque formation that leads to a heart attack. Licorice root believed to promote a healthy heart rhythm. 

Clinical Study - A study published in Food & Nutrition Research. 2016; 60: 10.3402/fnr.v60.30830. with the title "Antiatherosclerotic effects of licorice extract supplementation on hypercholesterolemic patients: decreased CIMT, reduced plasma lipid levels and decreased blood pressure." Mean plasma total cholesterol levels and LDL-C decreased. HDL-C did not change significantly.

Other medicinal uses - It soothes gastrointestinal problems, especially for food poisoning, stomach ulcers, and heartburn. It heals the stomach due to its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties for more visit Licorice lower cholesterol.
Caution - Licorice may raise blood pressure if taken 30 grams or more per day for many weeks. But the recommended dosage is less than 3 grams per day.

How to use licorice? Take a glass of water, boil the water, break the licorice bark into pieces or use powder, it has a sweet taste so not require any sweetener, reduce the flame/heat, leave it for 10 minutes by closing the container with a lid, remove from the heat, filter and drink the tea before going to bed. 

18. Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa)

It is rich in vitamins. It has been grown as feed for livestock for hundreds of years. People use Alfalfa’s leaves, sprouts, and seeds to make medicine. 

Cardioprotective property - It appears to decrease cholesterol levels by binding with cholesterol and prevent its normal absorption. It may help in clearing arteries congested for more visit Alfalfa lower cholesterol.

Clinical Study - A study published in the Atherosclerosis May 1987 Volume 65, Issues 1-2, Pages 173–179 with the title "Alfalfa seeds lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B concentrations in patients with type II hyperlipoproteinemia." There is a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and Apolipoprotein B.

Other medicinal uses - Alfalfa is useful for kidney, bladder, and prostate conditions. It is also helpful for asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, upset stomach, and a bleeding disorder.

How to use alfalfa? Use dried herb in teas. Many forms of the herb are available in the market, such as tonic, tincture, powder, capsule, extract, etc. (ex-cetera). 

Are there any side effects for cholesterol herbs?

Generally, most of the herbs suggested here are safe to use. However, herbal remedies are also containing bioactive chemicals.

Taking conventional drugs, along with herbal medicine, may cause potential interactions. So, get a doctor’s consent before start taking herbal treatment.

If the treatment is for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, children, or older people, it is advisable to get consent from (registered) herbal practitioners or your doctor before start taking it.

Are herbs available in the market safe?

It depends upon the supplier; so, you should be more vigilant and analyze the supplier by going through reviews by fellow users. Also, you should be cautious about whether the reviews are genuine.  

It is always preferable to have herbs by taking decoction by boiling it in low flame for an extended period because this helps to destroy any microorganism in the herbs while processing.

The word of caution – Please include one herb at a time, use it at least for a week, and see how your body reacts to it, then slowly add next herb, and so on until you reach your cholesterol level reaches a healthy range.