Many people have turned to taking herbs to lower cholesterol. A high level of LDL cholesterol, more commonly known as bad cholesterol, is a major risk factor for heart disease. Too much LDL in the bloodstream and plaque will begin to stick to the artery walls, eventually causing hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a stroke or a heart attack. While the good cholesterol, called HDL cholesterol, will continue to work to prevent this from happening, if the HDL numbers are not sufficiently high, they cannot do their job well. Low HDL numbers can also lead to heart disease, which is now the leading killer of women over the age of 50.
Herbs to lower cholesterol
Green tea can lower cholesterol levels while at the same time aid in the prevention of blood vessel constriction; tumeric-a spice used in many dishes that include curry-lowers LDL cholesterol and improves blood circulation. Olive leaves and ginger root have cholesterol lowering properties as do Omega 3, flax seed oil, extra virgin olive oil and garlic. Recommended dosage amounts should be obtained from your physician.
Vitamin B also has been shown to help reduce high cholesterol levels. Niacin can actually lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol. However, niacin also contributes to hot flashes, thereby making this vitamin less attractive to women ages 40-65, who may already be combating hot flashes caused by menopause.
While niacin has shown promise in reducing cholesterol levels, it is not a vitamin to take lightly. Do not take niacin if you are already taking a prescription medication to lower your cholesterol. Combining niacin with any of the drugs currently prescribed as cholesterol lowering drug could be fatal. Always contact your physician before starting any new medical regiment, even if you are only adding a few vitamins and herbs to your diet.
While more study is required, at present it is thought that plants such as the artichoke show promise in the area of lowering blood cholesterol levels. Artichoke leaves contain cynarin, which is thought to increase bile production, thereby helping the body move bile from the liver to the gallbladder quicker, which theoretically may remove more cholesterol than normal. At least one test showed significant drops in LDL cholesterol after six weeks.
Taking herbs, vitamins, plant extracts or specialized foods can help lower cholesterol, but some herbs or foods must be taken in combination with other medications or in the absence of medication. Therefore, it is unsafe to battle high cholesterol on your own. Contact your physician before starting on any new or specialized regiment.
Other ways to lower cholesterol
Ways to lower overall cholesterol have been studied for years. The best ideas to date are to exercise, eat a low-fat diet, stop smoking and refrain from a diet with high alcohol content. Supplementation in the form of herbs or medications should be discussed with your physician.
Having high cholesterol has been recognized as a risk factor for heart disease for many years. When the link between high cholesterol and cardiac disease was first noted it was assumed that by lowering our dietary intake of cholesterol rich foods then we would lower our total cholesterol.
Currently, there are two methods to lower your cholesterol, diet and/or medication. Medications work well in lowering your cholesterol number, but you might be concerned about long term side effects of taking the medication.