Although cholesterol is a necessary component of the body, too much of a certain type can lead to potential health problems. However, certain herbs, such as turmeric and rosemary, can help lower cholesterol. That being said, more research is needed to determine its effect on cholesterol. Cholesterol is a necessary component for the construction of cells. The liver creates this waxy substance and distributes it throughout the body through the blood. Genetics and lifestyle can influence the amount of cholesterol the liver produces. When it produces too much, it can cause a blockage, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
However, not all cholesterol is bad. Health experts divide it into two types:
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: People often refer to this as the “bad” cholesterol. LDL can contribute to clogging of the arteries when its level is high.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – People often refer to this as the “good” cholesterol. HDL helps remove LDL cholesterol from the blood.
When measuring cholesterol levels, doctors often also test triglyceride levels. These fats store excess energy from a person’s diet and can contribute to excessive levels of LDL cholesterol. Various treatments, including medications and lifestyle changes, can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Additionally, a person may find that the use of herbal supplements can help lower cholesterol. This article reviews herbs that have been shown to help lower cholesterol. However, before taking supplements, a doctor should be consulted.
1 fenugreek seeds and leaves
Studies show that fenugreek supplements may help lower blood cholesterol levels. According to a 2020 meta-analysis, researchers found that evidence supports the use of fenugreek supplements to help lower cholesterol levels in people with diabetes. However, the authors also noted the need for additional high-quality studies.
2 artichoke leaf extract
People can consume artichoke as part of a nutritious diet, such as the Mediterranean diet. Several studies over the years have looked at how the artichoke affects cholesterol levels. A 2018 meta-analysis suggested that the use of artichoke leaf extract had links to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The researchers said that the use of artichoke leaf extract supplements might work in combination with lipid-lowering therapy, specifically in people with hyperlipidemia. This is the case when a person’s body has an excess of fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides.
Yarrow is a soilless flowering herb that people have used in traditional medicine for years. There is some evidence to suggest that it may have cholesterol-lowering effects.
In an earlier study from 2012, researchers found that it helped lower cholesterol levels in chickens. However, these results may not be applicable to humans, as the aim of the study was to examine how to reduce the use of antibiotics in chickens. A 2019 study found that yarrow extract showed signs of lipid disruption in vitro, meaning outside of living organisms. However, the authors did not mention its use in lowering total cholesterol. Taking a yarrow supplement may help lower cholesterol. However, specific studies in humans are currently lacking.
4 holy basil
Holy basil (tulsi) is a slightly pungent and bitter herb that a person can consume raw or as part of a cooking dish. A 2018 study looked at how holy basil affects adults over the age of 40 with metabolic disorders. It revealed that a higher dose leads to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. A person must consume at least 1 gram (g) per day to achieve this.
However, the study researchers also noted that the effects were short-lived. It is not known if long-term use will have a lasting effect.
Ginger is a popular herb that people use in various Asian-inspired dishes. Adds a sweet and slightly sour flavor to foods. Some people also use ginger as a supplement to help with various health problems. In a 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis, researchers analyzed 12 trials. Studies have suggested that low doses of ginger, less than 2 g per day, have a good effect in lowering triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels. However, they also noted that more, higher-quality studies are needed to fully prove its efficacy in lowering high cholesterol. One can add ginger to their diet or consider taking supplements.
Turmeric is a common spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. People know it for its distinctive yellow color and earthy flavor profile. Some also use it in traditional medicine for a variety of potential health benefits. A 2017 study looked at the effects of turmeric’s active component, curcumin, on the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers have discovered that turmeric and curcumin may protect patients at risk of cardiovascular disease by improving serum lipid levels. However, they noted that additional high-quality studies are needed to help prove its efficacy, as well as provide adequate dosing and safety profiles.
Rosemary may also have some positive effects on a person’s cholesterol levels. According to an earlier study from 2014, people who took 2, 5, or 10 g of rosemary powder daily saw a decrease in total cholesterol levels. They suggested that this herb may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. However, the study only used a small sample, so more research is needed to draw firmer conclusions.
High cholesterol can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol can build up in the arteries and block blood flow to the heart, which can cause a heart attack, or the brain, which can cause a stroke. One should follow their doctor’s recommendations regarding their treatment. One should not stop taking cholesterol medications without first talking to their doctor.
To combat cholesterol, a person may find it helpful to make lifestyle changes, such as regular physical activity or exercise. Additionally, it may be helpful to modify your diet, for example by adopting the Mediterranean diet. By taking steps to control cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors, a person can live a normal, healthy life.
Certain herbs may have medicinal properties that can help with problems like cholesterol. Supplements and dietary changes and their effect on cholesterol are sometimes not well studied. A doctor should be consulted before modifying supplements or medications to avoid potential interactions. That being said, adding herbs, such as turmeric and rosemary, to your diet can help lower cholesterol. They can also add extra flavor to food, making nutritious foods more appealing.