High cholesterol has been linked with heart attacks and strokes. Blood serum cholesterol levels are 25% what you eat, and 75% what you produce within your own body. Some people produce a lot more than others, so regulating their cholesterol through whatever means possible is one way for them to stay healthy as they age.
Many people with high cholesterol are put on statin drugs. However, these are known to have numerous side effects, and have been linked with the growing number of cases of type 2 diabetes in the US.
Fortunately, there are several natural, safe and effective herbs that can help lower cholesterol.
Garlic and onions
These tasty allium vegetables give a strong flavor to soups, stews and other dishes. They also cleanse the blood and improve circulation. They are generally safe, but garlic should not be used by anyone with digestive or bleeding disorders. Onion should be avoided by anyone with a bleeding disorder or diabetes.
Skullcap is used for a wide range of medical conditions, but it is particularly used for lowering cholesterol and combatting hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). Research has shown that it reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and boosts the production of HDL (good) cholesterol. It is also used to help in recovery after a stroke.
Be careful of skullcap if you are pregnant or nursing, or are planning to have surgery.
Indian gooseberry has been used for years by Ayurvedic and TCM practitioners to help keep arteries clear of cholesterol. It is also useful for many other health conditions, making it a cornerstone of an herbal medicine cabinet. However, it should be avoided by those with diabetes, bleeding disorders, or liver problems.
Guggul, or Gugulipid
This resin has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to lower cholesterol. It also prevents bad LDL cholesterol from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Many herbalists claim it works just as effectively as statin drugs, but without the common negative side effects.
It is generally safe; however, if you have bleeding disorders, hormone-related cancers, or thyroid issues, you should avoid guggul.
Hawthorn is a common tree all over the Northern Hemisphere that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of heart health problems, including blood pressure issues, high cholesterol, and congestive heart failure. It improves circulation and cleanses the blood.
It has powerful phytochemicals in it, however, so it should only be used under a doctor’s supervision if you are already taking heart medications.
Red Yeast Rice
Red yeast rice is used in TCM and throughout Asia instead of statin drugs to lower cholesterol significantly. As the name suggests, it is a combination of yeast and rice that has been fermented. It has been shown as highly effective and can also help with aches, pains and fatigue.
However, because it is so powerful, people under 20, and anyone with liver, kidney or thyroid issues should not take it. If you produce a lot of cholesterol naturally, however, it would be worth considering adding to your self-care routine strategically and then seeing how low your numbers can go.