Top 10 Herbs for Cholesterol Control
Cholesterol is a compound that the body needs in order for function properly. The majority of the substance is produced in the liver. Family history and genetics play a role in how much cholesterol the body produces. In an ever increasing number of individuals, managing cholesterol without the use of medications is difficult. The medications most often used to lower LDL (low density lipoprotein) or, “bad” cholesterol are known as statin drugs. These medications, according to The Mayo Clinic, work by slowing the production of an enzyme that the liver uses to make cholesterol. Statin drugs can prove very effective at reducing LDL cholesterol numbers in some individuals. However, they are notoriously guilty of producing some unwanted side effects as well. Hence, some choose instead to consider herbs for cholesterol alongside healthy lifestyle changes.
Natural cholesterol lowering supplements are not new. Long has the relationship between garlic and cholesterol been explored and, sterols and stanols have been hailed as miracles from nature for their abilities to lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 10 percent or more. Even vitamins for cholesterol, like niacin (vitamin B3) are considered useful in some natural cholesterol lowering supplements. However, aside from these well known remedies, nature provides many other opportunities to naturally reduce bad cholesterol. While they may not be as well known as garlic and niacin, these herbs for cholesterol may be a great addition to consider as cholesterol lowering remedies alongside diet and exercise for healthy LDL management. Remember however, talk to your doctor before trying any of our top 10 picks for herbal cholesterol control, in order to reduce the risk of potential side effects or drug or drug or condition interactions.
1. Turmeric: Ginger cholesterol lowering benefits have been explored in the alternative healing community for decades. But, WebMD points out that ginger may not be the only readily used culinary spice that may reduce cholesterol, and points to turmeric as another possible option (http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/high_cholesterol_alternative-therapies). It is also well known for anti inflammatory properties and is thought to be a very popular and potent natural healing herb for numerous ails, in addition to the potential turmeric cholesterol connection.
2. Rosemary: It may seem unusual that some herbs for cholesterol are those that are used every day, meaning that dusting a roasting chicken with herbs before cooking could actually be helping to reduce bad cholesterol numbers. Rosemary is a savory herb that is popular as a seasoning for meat. But, WebMD explains that rosemary is being studied for its role in the prevention of heart disease.
3. Artichoke Leaf Extract: Artichokes are most commonly associated with a saute pan, but the thistle species has actually been used in medicine making for a long time. Nearly all parts of the plant are popular for making extracts from, and for a wide variety of purposes. Bile stimulation, heartburn reduction, IBS and anemia are all thought to benefit from these extracts, in addition to the ability of the artichoke extract to purportedly reduce bad cholesterol.
4. Yarrow: In recent centuries, alternative medicine has found the benefits of yarrow to be at least minimally useful for nearly every single organ in the body. Yarrow also may be useful among herbs for cholesterol, for its potential to reduce the substance in the blood.
5. Holy Basil: Holy basil is no better behaved or morally sound than the similarly named and better known spice for sauces. However, holy basil is well known for relieving stress, according to WebMD. Aside from being used as a savory stress reliever, holy basil may be useful in lowering bad cholesterol, which may be related to why the herb has been used medicinally for heart disease in alternative medicine. As if heart health is not enough of a benefit to using holy basil, it is also one of many herbs that can be useful in a cholesterol lowering tea, providing another simple and delicious way to attain the natural benefits of the herb.
6. Fenugreek: Fenugreek cholesterol connection may be one of the better known of the lesser known facts for use in LDL reduction. The alkaloids contained in the seeds along with other compounds that may prevent the absorption of cholesterol. Fenugreek is one of the few herbs for cholesterol that is supported in studies to be somewhat effective at lowering LDL and triglyceride levels.
7. Butcher’s Broom: One of the most well known of applications for butcher’s broom, an evergreen shrub, in terms of medicinal use the herb is best known for its role in venous health and maladies of the backside. However, it also may be a lesser known entry among herbs for cholesterol, in that it may lower LDL numbers.
8. Grape Seed Extract: There are numerous potential health benefits of grape seed extract such as improved circulation, reduction in swelling and even diabetic activities. In addition, the cardiovascular benefits of grape seed extract are also explored by WebMD, with the extract’s purported ability to lower bad cholesterol being highlighted, along with its potential to perhaps reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
9. Alfalfa Herb: Animal studies have been conducted that showed the ability of alfalfa herb to slow the process of cholesterol absorption within the body along with an ability to reduce the tendency for plaques in the arteries to form. Unfortunately, without conclusive and larger human studies however, the use of alfalfa among herbs for cholesterol is still likely unsafe as dosages within safe limits to prevent damage to red blood cells are still largely undetermined.
10. Capsicum Fruit: Capsicum fruit refers to bright and colorful members of the pepper family, whose fruits are used in spicy types of dips and dishes. In addition to speeding up circulation, promoting the flushing of toxins from the body, fruits in the capsicum family may also be useful in lowering both high cholesterol and high blood pressure, according to recent studies.