High cholesterol is a common health problem that can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other complications. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced by the liver and used by the body for various functions, such as making hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D. However, when the cholesterol level in the blood becomes too high, it can accumulate in the walls of the arteries and form plaques that narrow or block the blood flow.
Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine from India, offers natural and holistic ways to manage high cholesterol and prevent its harmful effects. Ayurveda believes that high cholesterol is caused by an imbalance of the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha), which are the fundamental energies that govern the body and mind. By restoring the balance of the doshas through diet, lifestyle, herbs, and other therapies, Ayurveda can help lower cholesterol and improve overall health.
Some of the Ayurvedic herbs that can help reduce high cholesterol are:
Garlic is one of the most effective Ayurvedic herbs for lowering cholesterol. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and blood-thinning properties that can prevent plaque formation and improve blood circulation. Garlic also helps lower blood pressure and triglycerides, which are another type of fat in the blood. According to Ayurveda, garlic is good for balancing kapha dosha, which is responsible for fat accumulation and congestion. It is recommended to consume two cloves of raw garlic daily on an empty stomach or with honey.
- Holy basil:
Holy basil, also known as Tulsi, is a sacred herb in Hinduism. It has anti-stress, anti-oxidant, and anti-microbial properties that can boost immunity and protect against infections. Holy basil also helps lower cholesterol by enhancing liver function and reducing oxidative stress. According to Ayurveda, holy basil is good for balancing vata dosha, which is responsible for movement and nervous system activity. It is recommended to chew a few fresh leaves of holy basil daily or drink tulsi tea by steeping some leaves in hot water for 5 minutes.
Guggulu is a resin extracted from the bark of a tree called Commiphora mukul. It has been used in Ayurveda for centuries for treating various disorders, especially those related to the heart and blood vessels. Guggulu contains guggulsterones, which are compounds that can inhibit cholesterol synthesis and increase its excretion from the body. Guggulu also helps lower inflammation and improve thyroid function. According to Ayurveda, guggulu is good for balancing all three doshas, especially kapha dosha. It is recommended to take guggulu tablets or capsules as prescribed by an Ayurvedic practitioner.
Coriander is a common herb used in Indian cuisine. It has diuretic, digestive, and detoxifying properties that can help flush out excess cholesterol and toxins from the body. Coriander also helps stimulate metabolism and reduce inflammation. According to Ayurveda, coriander is good for balancing pitta dosha, which is responsible for heat and acidity in the body. It is recommended to drink a glass of coriander water daily by boiling one teaspoon of coriander seeds in a cup of water for 10 minutes and straining it.
Flaxseed is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol, as well as prevent blood clots and inflammation. Flaxseed also contains lignans, which are phytoestrogens that can modulate hormone levels and protect against cardiovascular disease. According to Ayurveda, flaxseed is good for balancing vata dosha and pitta dosha. It is recommended to consume one tablespoon of ground flaxseed daily with water or yogurt.
Turmeric is a spice that has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine. It contains a compound called curcumin, which has been shown to have numerous health benefits like reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol levels. Studies have found that curcumin can help reduce LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol). Additionally, turmeric can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which is a process that can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Cinnamon is another spice that has been shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties. It contains compounds called cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, which can help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood). Cinnamon has also been found to help improve blood sugar control, which is important for people with high cholesterol since high blood sugar levels can lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol.
Ginger is a root that is commonly used in cooking and traditional medicine. It contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties. Studies have found that ginger can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control. Additionally, ginger has been found to help improve circulation, which can help prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Fenugreek is a spice that is commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It contains compounds called saponins, which have been shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties. Studies have found that fenugreek can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is an Ayurvedic medicinal plant used in India to treat several ailments. Clinical studies have demonstrated hypocholesterolemic, hypoglycemic and antioxidant actions of licorice.
These are some of the Ayurvedic herbs that can help lower high cholesterol naturally and safely. However, it is important to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before using any herb or supplement, as they may have interactions with other medications or health conditions. Also, it is essential to follow a balanced diet low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt, and sugar, and high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Additionally, regular exercise, stress management, meditation, yoga, pranayama, and other Ayurvedic therapies can help maintain optimal cholesterol levels and overall well-being.
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