Cholesterol-lowering drugs can have unwanted side effects, are toxic to the liver, and are extremely carcinogenic. Drugs should be avoided if possible (if needed, they should be used just long enough to bring cholesterol to safe levels). A healthy diet and lifestyle and herbs for lowering cholesterol are safe alternatives to drugs.
Garlic is a powerful herb with many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Sulfur-containing compounds (including allicin and alliin) are responsible for most of its pharmacology.
Several studies have been done on people with cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dl using fresh garlic preparations (daily dose of at least 10 mg of alliin or a total allicin potential of 4,000 mcg) and have had positive results. In 1-3 months, total cholesterol levels decreased about 10-12%, LDL (low-density lipoprotein - “bad” cholesterol) levels decreased about 15%, HDL (high-density lipoprotein - “good” cholesterol) levels increased about 10%, and triglyceride levels decreased about 15%.
Onions are also good in lowering cholesterol. In a 1979 population study where diets (vegetarian diets) were nearly identical except for the amount of garlic and onions, it was discovered that those who ate the largest amounts had the best cholesterol and triglyceride levels:
- Garlic 50 grams/week and onion 600 grams/week: cholesterol 159 mg/dl and triglyceride 52 mg/dl.
- Garlic 10 grams/week and onion 200 grams/week: cholesterol 172 mg/dl and triglyceride 75 mg/dl.
- No garlic or onions: cholesterol 208 mg/dl and triglyceride 109 mg/dl.
Gugulipid is an extract of the mukul myrrh tree. Z-guggulsterone and E-guggulsterone are the compounds in gugulipid responsible for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In 4-12 week trials, total cholesterol levels decreased 14-27%, LDL levels decreased 25-35%, HDL levels increased 16-20%, and triglyceride levels decreased 22-30%. These results are comparable to drugs but without side effects (it is even considered safe during pregnancy). Buy purified gugulipid preparations (gum guggal can have side effects like diarrhea). 500 mg tablets (containing 25 mg of guggulsterone) given three times a day were used in clinical studies with positive results.
Cayenne pepper, artichoke leaf, alfalfa, ginger root, green tea, turmeric, fenugreek, and olive leaf are other helpful herbs for lowering cholesterol.
It is best to consult with your health care provider before taking herbal remedies, especially if you are pregnant, are breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or taking medications.
- Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (1998)
- “5 Cholesterol Lowering Herbs Proven to Work” - https://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/article_1605.shtml
- “High Cholesterol” - https://www.mothernature.com/Library/bookshelf/Books/41/66.cfm
- “Lower Cholesterol Naturally” - https://www.herbal-supplements-guide.com/lower-cholesterol-naturally.html
Image courtesy of CC-BY-SA-3.0 / Lee Kindness at Wikimedia.
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