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 Dr. George Jacob
Heart Infocenter

Holistic-online.com

Heart Disease

Herbal Medicine

  • Green Tea - Popular in Asia for centuries, green tea helps to keep blood pressure under control. It also may help keep cholesterol from clogging arteries. The tea contains Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) and other substances that protect the body against the dangers of oxidation, while helping to keep the harmful LDL cholesterol down and the helpful HDL cholesterol up. They also assist in keeping blood pressure under control.
    See also:
    Tea Helps the Heart.

  • Garlic - prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, may prevent the liver from producing excess fat and cholesterol. 

    In one study, adding as little as two ounces of garlic juice to a fatty, cholesterol-laden meal was found to actually lower the cholesterol by up to 7 percent. Another study found that 600 mg of garlic powder a day could push the total cholesterol down by some 10 percent. Other research has corroborated these findings reporting that garlic can lower both total and LDL cholesterol while raising the HDL ("good") cholesterol.

    A 10-month study found that eating three cloves of garlic a day keeps the cholesterol down for extended periods. And because it contains ajoene and other substances, garlic also helps to keep the blood "thin" and free of potentially deadly blood clots

  • Hawthorn (Crataegus) contains a combination of flavonoids that can protect the heart against oxygen deprivation and the development of abnormal rhythms. It dilates coronary blood vessels, improving the flow of blood to the heart. It strengthens the heart muscle and works to help the body rid itself of excess salt and water.  It reduces blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, and brings down high blood pressure. Choose a standardized extract containing 1.8 percent vitexin-2 rhamnosides.

  • Arjuna - Arjuna, an important Ayurvedic herb, is a coronary vasodilator. It protects the heart, strengthens circulation, and helps to maintain the tone and health of the heart muscle. It is also useful in stopping bleeding and to promote healing after a heart attack.

  • Ginger - Ginger is an important herb for a healthy heart. Ayurvedic physicians suggest that eating a little bit of ginger every day will help to prevent heart attack. It reduces cholesterol. It also reduces blood pressure and prevents blood clots. 

    Ginger's heart-helping attributes are similar to that of garlic. Ginger interferes with the long sequence of events necessary for blood clots to form. This helps to prevent clots that can lodge in narrowed coronary arteries and set off a heart attack.

  • Turmeric lowers blood cholesterol levels by stimulating the production of bile. It also prevents the formation of dangerous blood clots that can lead to heart attack.

  • Onions: Onions contain adenosine and other "blood thinners" that help to prevent the formation of blood clots. In addition to thinning the blood, onions can help keep the coronary arteries open and clear by increasing the HDL. Eating half a raw onion every day can increase HDL by 20 to 30 percent.

  • Ginkgo biloba improves the flow of blood throughout the body. It is also an antioxidant. Ginkgo biloba can benefit the cardiovascular system by preventing the formation of free radicals. Take a ginkgo extract containing 24-percent ginkgo flavone glycosides.

  • Fo-ti (ho shou wu, Polygonum multiflorum), combats the symptoms of heart disease, helping to reduce blood pressure and blood-cholesterol levels.

  • Alfalfa: Alfalfa leaves and sprouts help reduce the blood cholesterol levels and plaque deposits on artery walls.

  • Citrin - an extract from the plant Garcinia cambogia, inhibits the synthesis of fatty acids in the liver. It helps to prevent the accumulation of potentially dangerous fats in the body. 

  • Guggul - This ayurvedic herb is derived from a type of myrrh tree. It has been shown to lower blood-fat levels while raising levels of HDL, the so called "good cholesterol."
    Note: Do not use this herb if you have a thyroid disorder.

  • Grape seed extract with oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCS) may lower high blood pressure, which can cause heart disease.

  • Soy: Soy had been long popular in Asia. It has been proven to be heart protectors also.

    When people with high cholesterol are put on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, their cholesterol levels usually drop. But if you replace the animal protein in their diet with soy protein, their cholesterol levels are found to drop significantly lower. One study has showed that soy protein could cancel out the effect of 500 mg of cholesterol deliberately added to the daily diet.

    Although soy can lower cholesterol levels in those with normal levels, it works best in people with elevated cholesterol.

    See Also:
    Fight Heart Disease With Soy Antioxidants

  • Brewer's Yeast: Brewer's yeast can lower the total cholesterol and LDL while raising the helpful HDL. (Brewer's yeast is not the same as the yeast we use in the kitchen.) In one study with normal- and high-cholesterol patients, 11 healthy volunteers were given brewer's yeast. Eight weeks later, 10 of the 11 people with normal cholesterol levels had even lower total cholesterol levels and increased HDL levels. Among the 15 volunteers with high cholesterol, eight enjoyed the same beneficial results.

  • Cordyceps - Cordyceps is a Chinese herb. It can slow the heart rate, increase blood supply to the arteries and heart, and lower blood pressure. 

  • Artichoke leaf extract reduces blood cholesterol and protects the liver. This herb has antioxidant activity and may inhibit the oxidation of cholesterol, a factor in atherosclerosis.

  • Cat's claw contains a variety of valuable phytochemicals that inhibit the processes involved in the formation of blood clots. It increases circulation and inhibits inappropriate clotting. Thus, it may help to prevent stroke and reduce the risk of heart attack.

  • Oat straw and kava kava are tonics for the nervous system.

  • White willow bark contains salicin, an aspirinlike compound. It has been used for centuries much as aspirin is today. Aspirin is often recommended for cardiovascular condition. This herb may provide the same protection without stomach upsets associated with aspirin.
    Note: Do not take this herb if you are allergic to aspirin.

  • Other herbs that are beneficial for cardiovascular disorders include barberry, black cohosh, butcher's broom, cayenne (capsicum), dandelion, ginseng, and valerian root.

The following herbs are heart friendly:

alfalfa, astragalus, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng, hawthorn berry, kelp, kola, motherwort, myrrh, psyllium (Metamucil), passion flower, red pepper, saffron, Siberian ginseng, skullcap, tarragon, turmeric, and valerian

Caution: Do not use barberry or black cohosh during pregnancy. Do not use ginseng if you have high blood pressure. Also avoid the herbs ephedra (ma huang) and licorice, as they cause a rise in blood pressure.

See Also: 

Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine for healthy heart

Herbal Medicine Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

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