Herbs to lower Cholesterol
Healthy herbs for cholesterol
High cholesterol levels are not only unhealthy but a considerable big risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In order to lower cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease problems at a later stage, sport, supplements and several diets have been recommended, however some of them are not easy to follow while others are not really so effective.
This article will cover certain herbs claimed to be effective to reduce cholesterol levels, the evidence on which those claims can be based upon and if they are truth on simply part of the local traditional legends and folklore about herbal remedies.
Common name: Garlic
RESEARCH! In a research carried out between 2003 and 2007 on herbs that may help to lower cholesterol levels under the Ayurvedic traditional medicine system, three main herbs were found a certain percentage of scientifically based evidence on their capacity to lower cholesterol, garlic, guggul and arjuna.
First of all we will start with garlic. Garlic is part of the Mediterranean diet and widely used around the world. Among some of its already well known properties we can mention that garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer and prevents cardiovascular disease but in what refers to its ability to lower cholesterol levels there was not much said till now.
Garlic was subject of different studies on animals in order to verify if it was able to lower cholesterol levels, in one of this clinical studies rats were given garlic powder with a concentration of 0.6% of allicin, a chemical compound found in Garlic. After six weeks it was noticed that the animals given garlic power reported a significant reduction in their serum cholesterol levels and also a lower blood pressure compared to the ones that didn't receive it .
The experiment showed that garlic may be beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels as well as to treat hypertension. Garlic however has a contraindication, it can increase bleeding , that’s why it is not so recommended to patient suffering cardiovascular disease.
HERBS RICH IN TANNINS
Tannins are natural polyphenols found in herbs with the added benefit of being powerful antioxidants with an important free radical scavenging action. Among the many different tannins found in herbs and other aliments (wine for example), two have been highlighted for their potential use to lower cholesterol levels, 1,2,3,6-tetra-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose  and epigallocatechin-3-O-methylgallate. These two tannins were able to reduce blood pressure and showed some hypotensive effects in a study performed among a certain amount of herbs rich on tannins .
In another clinical study, two other types of tannins, out of a total fifty investigated, showed to be effective on the reduction of cholesterol levels, proanthrocyanidin A-2 (belonging to the flavan-3-ol group) and again 1,2,3,6-tetra-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose (belonging to the gallotannin group)  . The first one, proanthocyanidin A-2, is a tannin that can be found in horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) , in cranberry juice concentrate, in peanut skins, in Cinchona Cinchona and Cinchona pubescens rind, bark and cortex, in Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon) rind, bark and cortex, in the fruit of Persea americana (avocado or alligator pear), in Urvillea ulmaceae, and in Ecdysanthera utilis .
Turmeric and Laurel Leaf Powder
In another experiment where Turmeric and Laurel leaf powder was administered to Zebrafish it was noticed that the plasma cholesterol level was noticeable reduce in those having an intake of turmeric and laurel leaf powder .
Ayurvedic research on herbs lowering cholesterol levels (2003 to 2007)
Garlic, Guggul and Arjuna. In a research carried out between 2003 and 2007 on herbs that may help to lower cholesterol levels under the Ayurvedic traditional medicine system, three main herbs were found a certain percentage of scientifically based evidence on their capacity to lower cholesterol, garlic, guggul and arjuna.
The study, covering several clinical and medical databases on the subject, identified a success rate of 50% on garlic trials, more than 80% of guggul (Commiphora mukul)  and 100% on Arjuna. This shows that most of the traditional herbs used to lower cholesterol levels have some evidence based grounds.
In another database research study guggul (Commiphora mukul), fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), red yeast rice, and artichoke (Cynara scolymus) have demonstrated reductions in total serum cholesterol levels of between 10% and 33% .
Last but not least Cynanchum wilfordii is another herb that has demonstrated in studies performed with rats to ameliorates hypertension .
 Effect of allicin from garlic powder on serum lipids and blood pressure in rats fed with a high cholesterol diet. Ali M, Al-Qattan KK, Al-Enezi F, Khanafer RM, Mustafa T.
Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kuwait University, Safat.
 Antihypertensive effects of tannins isolated from traditional Chinese herbs as non-specific inhibitors of angiontensin converting enzyme. Liu JC, Hsu FL, Tsai JC, Chan P, Liu JY, Thomas GN, Tomlinson B, Lo MY, Lin JY. Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Taipei Medical University-Wan Fang Hospital, No 111, Hsing Lung Road, Section 3, Wen Shan District, Taipei City 117, Taiwan.
 The in vitro inhibitory effect of tannin derivatives on 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme a reductase on vero cells. Chang JJ, Chen TH, Chan P, Chen YJ, Hsu FL, Lo MY, Lin JY. Department of Medicine, Taipei Medical College and Wan-Fang Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan/ROC.
 Use of alternative pharmacotherapy in management of cardiovascular diseases. Chagan L, Ioselovich A, Asherova L, Cheng JW. Shore Health System, Easton, MD, USA.
 Turmeric and laurel aqueous extracts exhibit in vitro anti-atherosclerotic activity and in vivo hypolipidemic effects in a zebrafish model. Jin S, Hong JH, Jung SH, Cho KH. School of Biotechnology, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan, Republic of Korea.
 The hypolipidemic effect of Citrullus colocynthis on patients with hyperlipidemia. Rahbar AR, Nabipour I. The Persian Gulf Tropical Medicine Research Center, Department of Nutrition, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Moallem Street, Bushehr, P.O. Box-3631, Islamic Republic of Iran.
 Ayurvedic and collateral herbal treatments for hyperlipidemia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental designs. Singh BB, Vinjamury SP, Der-Martirosian C, Kubik E, Mishra LC, Shepard NP, Singh VJ, Meier M, Madhu SG. BRCG, Midlothian, VA, USA.
 Herbs for serum cholesterol reduction: a systematic view. Thompson Coon JS, Ernst E. Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT, United Kingdom.
 Cynanchum wilfordii ameliorates hypertension and endothelial dysfunction in rats fed with high fat/cholesterol diets.
Choi DH, Lee YJ, Kim JS, Kang DG, Lee HS.
College of Oriental Medicine and Professional Graduate School of Oriental Medicine.