High cholesterol is not a problem bounded by nationality and belief. 60 million Americans suffer from the conditon, and across the world, many more millions are affected. Thus, the subject of cholesterol lowering herbs is of high value to many people. Let us have a look at 5 herbs that are useful in achieving and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. These herbs are used in many parts of the world. You can take the herbs by themselves, or use a combination of two or more regularly to lower your cholesterol.
1. Guggulipid or Commiphora Mukul - This herb, which comes from the Guggul tree, is aptly referred to as Guggul. It came to be known as Guggulipid - an extract of the Guggul resin that was promoted in the 1980s. It is known for lowering the triglyceride as well as the bad cholesterol (or LDL cholesterol) level.
The herb's guggulsterone content is said to be responsible for ridding the body of cholesterol. Guggul is also known for being effective in lowering blood pressure, fasting blood sugar and insulin levels.
2. Cayenne pepper - Put some zest into your dishes and some power to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels using cayenne pepper. The hot cayenne pepper comes from Capsicum frutescens and Capsicum baccatum. The fruits of these plants are dried and pulped to produce cayenne pepper powder.
Cayenne has many uses that have benefited people for thousands of years. It is a diuretic, antiseptic, analgesic and expectorant. Not only that, it also considerably lowers your cholesterol levels by helping your body process fat and quickly excrete it from the body. You can find cayenne pepper in many forms. You can purchase it in capsule form, as an ointment, oil, cream or dried powder. Aside from treating high cholesterol levels, it is also useful in dealing with toothache, chronic pain and heart disease.
3. Artichoke Leaf or Cynara scolymnus - Artichoke leaf's ability to lower cholesterol is attributed to its luteolin and cybarin content. Luteolin is responsible for lowering bad cholesterol levels in the body, while cybarin speeds up bile production in the liver and also hastens the excretion of cholesterol through the feces.
Use of cybarin harks way back to the early 1950s, where doctors used medications containing cybarin to lower the cholesterol levels of their patients. A study has shown just how effective artichoke leaf is in lowering cholesterol levels. It showed that taking 1,800 mg of the herb extract for one month and a half lowered cholesterol levels by as much as 18.5%.
4. Garlic - Garlic is a herb that has a lot of medicinal uses. It can lower the bad or LDL cholesterol levels (by up to 15% provided a person takes a clove of garlic daily) while increasing the good or HDL cholesterol levels. Not only that; it can also reduce the triglyceride and blood pressure levels. This herb has been approved as a high cholesterol remedy in parts of Europe.
5. Alfalfa - When it comes to fighting cholesterol, saponin power rules! Saponin is an effective agent against cholesterol. And with Alfalfa sprouts containing 55% more saponins than other plants, alfafa is an efficient cholesterol-lowering herb.
Saponin works by combining itself with cholesterol, thereby preventing the body from absorbing it. Thus, alfalfa fights blood cholesterol by first lowering it directly and then by preventing more cholesterol from being absorbed by the gut. What's more, it is selective in its fight against cholesterol. It fights LDL (bad cholesterol) even as it promotes HDL (good cholesterol). When buying alfalfa extracts, try to ensure that the extracts come from the sprout and not the roots, as the roots have lower saponin content.
Using herbs to lower cholesterol is safe and effective. In fact, it may be safer than prescription medications. However, before you take any herbs, consult with your doctor to prevent health complications.