botanicals for lowering cholesterol??

vaherbmomMarch 1, 2006

Anyone know of herbs that can help lower cholesterol? Dh is at the point of almost needing medication. Don't want to go that route!

We are already working on diet but this is mostly hereditary since my cholesterol levels are wonderful.

Thanks for any help,

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My chol. was really high, also genetic, and I tried everything dietary, herbal, etc. that was out there and more. The ONLY thing that worked at all, and then worked miraculously well (halved it!) were the statin drugs. You can eat oatmeal etc. til the cows come home, but if it's familial, you really need to go with the meds. I Don't take them anymore because I have documented gastritis and they aggravated it too much, but most people don't have that problem (it doesn't create it, just aggravates it if you have it already).

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 5:36AM
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What is your DH's HDL? Do you know about his C-reactive protein level and his homocysteine? You might do a google search for Henriette's Herbal pages and see what she has to say about statins. Is he exercising on a regular basis?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 7:58AM
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There are a bunch of papers in the Journal of Nutrition this month looking at garlic's possible role in protection against cardiovascular disease (including lowering cholesterol and other blood lipids). Here's one summary.

Basically there seems to be limited evidence from clinical trials that garlic has a consistent effect in lowering cholesterol, and more work is needed. Since garlic extracts are relatively inexpensive and have a good safety profile*, this might be a supplement to try (which I do), along with diet modification, with the understanding that markedly elevated blood lipid levels might need prescription drug therapy.

*Garlic has a known inhibitory effect on platelets, so there's a possibility of increased bleeding tendency (especially in someone who is on blood thinners, for example).

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 8:37AM
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Try exercise - a half-hour of brisk walking a day.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2006 at 1:51PM
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Be aware that statins can cause all kinds of problems on their own. I took Lipitor for quite some time and then I started having trouble with my legs aching so badly that it felt like I had the flu. I also had severe weakness in my legs. The doctor switched me to Lovastatin (I couldn't afford Prevachol) and everything seemed fine for awhile. Now it is happening again. I also get these tremors in my leg muscles. I guess that is how you would explain them. When I wake up during the night to turn over, my muscles get tremors. It is not a painful thing, just disconcerting. I took myself off everything. It is a genetic thing for me so I do not know what else to do.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 8:30AM
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I have not tried anything yet but I heard red rice yeast helps...something like that?

I am Lipitor like hammerbugger was. I noticed muscle aches. My shoulder aches, now my knees once in awhile, and an elbow. I am going to stop taking it for a few days and see. My number was not too high but my good number was not high enough either. If this stops....I will contact the doctor but look into some natural products too.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 4:07PM
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Red yeast rice's active ingredient is thought to be lovastatin - the same cholesterol-lowering drug found in the prescription med Mevacor (there are other compounds in red yeast rice that may possibly be involved in cholesterol-lowering effects). Research data (especially involving long-term safety) is limited.

The problem with red yeast rice supplements (apart from the possbility of side effects similar to those found in the prescription statins) is the difficulty of finding a standardized product with an effective dose and which doesn't contain contaminants or byproducts (some of the "natural" products that claim to lower cholesterol have been found to contain citrinic acid, which has toxic effects).

More here.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 5:00PM
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The reason you are getting muscle pains on statins is because your liver enzymes are being elevated by them and it is a serious concern, not something you should be fooling around with using alternative meds, but something you need to talk to your MD about right away.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 4:45PM
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Has any one tried Jiaogulan Tea ?

Here is a link that might be useful: more on Jiaogulan thread

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 8:44AM
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Compounds found in Gynostemma species (one of which is a constituent of this tea) are being investigated for possible medical use, but the only animal studies I can find are in rodents (rats, hamsters and guinea pigs). Apparently no human trials have been done to examine efficacy and safety, so users would have to be guinea pigs as well.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 12:22PM
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eric oh and on alot of horses, by owners of lame and foundered ones. Those that have problems with processing sugars and starch in diets. I buy alot of it dried for one of my horses but another horse owner said he had also been drinking it in tea form. In horse products is unreal in price in a premix with other things think like 200.00 per lb or less. It does seem to help the horses. They can care less if it is a green item on the menu. Curious enought to try it myself in the tea form.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 2:28PM
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cholesterol in your body is not due to cholesterol you eat. It is produced by your liver in response to high insulin content in your blood. That said, the thing you need to do to lower your cholesterol is to eat lower on the glycemic index-- that is to say, cut sugar down in your diet, eat fewer starches, eat fewer things that trigger a fast insulin response. This will work better than most herbs, and help repair your arteries as well.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 7:43PM
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.. I would suggest that you visit this site as a starting point to learn more about cholesterol !

and this site;

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 1:36PM
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Cholesterol is naturally present in cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart.

Your body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that help to digest fat. It takes only a small amount of cholesterol in the blood to meet these needs. If you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, the excess may be deposited in arteries, including the coronary (heart) arteries, where it contributes to the narrowing and blockages that cause the signs and symptoms of heart disease...

Too many Americans have high levels of total cholesterol and LDL (the bad cholesterol). A diet high in saturated fat (a type of fat found mostly in foods that come from animals and certain oils) raises LDL levels more than anything else in your diet. You also eat cholesterol in your diet, although the effect of saturated fat in the diet is greater than the effect of dietary cholesterol. Trans-fatty acids (seen in processed foods and many "fast foods") can also increase LDL levels. Dietary cholesterol is found only in foods from animal products. Genetic factors combined with eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol are the main reasons for high levels of cholesterol that lead to heart attacks.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 12:18AM
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Further information you might find informative can be found at this site;

There is also a good paper from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology here;

And do have at look at information from the National Library of Medecine here;

And this article from the American Academy of family Physicians;

Then why not pay a visit to the American Heart Association here;

..Then you may just want to start clearing out your fridge/ freezer from things that may just not be as good for you as they seem !
..Moooow ! lol

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 11:14AM
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I drink gynostemma tea (Jiaogulan) and also take the herb occasionally. Don't have definitive proof yet that it lowers cholesterol, but it sure does a lot of other things. It has been used by humans for centuries in Asia and there have been studies published in their Medical Journals.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 9:50PM
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What studies exist on gynostemma all seem to have looked at effects in cell cultures and on rodents (i.e. rats and guinea pigs). No human trials.

Given the problems that have surfaced on closer examination of some "traditional Chinese medicines", I'm not sure I'd want to be a human guinea pig for gynostemma.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 10:59AM
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Keeping in mind each person is different, I would like to share what helped me lower my cholesterol in only 2 months.
Below is a list of things I implemented into my life to lower my cholesterol. I am not positive if it was a culmination of these things or one thing in particular. However, at the age of 29 (a few months from 30) I learned that my total cholesterol was 267, my AHDL cholesterol was 28 and my LDL could not even be calculated accurately because my triglycerides were 611. And my ALT was 61. After a complete, cold-turkey diet change and implementation of the following supplements, now my total cholesterol is 178, my AHDL cholesterol is 36, my LDL is 119.60, my triglycerides are 112 and my ALT is 41. All are in the normal range now.
I personally did not implement exercise, but know it provides numerous health benefits.
Prior to this, my diet consisted of complete junk. I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and my weight and cholesterol were evidence of this. I lost 10 lbs prior to my life-style change and have lost another 20 lbs since. I consumed all fried foods, fatty foods, sugary foods, very few fruits/vegetables, butter in veggies and butter in/on most things, restaurant cheese dip/chips/salsa was my favorite - could eat 2 bags of these chips by myself, everything bad for you imaginable.
I did research online and found that certain foods/supplements would help lower cholesterol. Soy products, fiber - fruits/vegetables - whole-wheat products - oatmeal, flax seed products, raising good cholesterol by making my main fats olive oil, oil from fish, natural oils found in avocados, etc. - consumed in moderation, etc., citrus products - orange rinds specifically - marmalade, green tea
The American Heart Association's low-fat cookbook is a wonderful tool.
I aimed to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables above everything, especially when desiring a snack. I essentially have adopted the Mediterranean diet (Common to the diets of these regions are a high consumption of fruit and vegetables, bread, wheat and other cereals, olive oil and fish; making them low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber. Red wine is also consumed regularly but in moderate quantities.)
Instead of consuming the usual American diet of consuming a large portion of meat with small sides, I consumed larger portions of vegetables and fruits (fresh is better), whole-grain products, legumes and small portions of meats.
Many of the dietary items I started/continued consuming:
Increased water intake; especially with Emergen-C, still consumed 2 diet sodas daily and coffee, still consumed 1 beer and/or red wine on a regular basis
Green tea
Heart Health orange juice
Light chocolate soy-milk (delicious, texture is some-what like a water/powder drink mix)
Light vanilla soy-milk for cereal
1% milk
Low-fat cottage cheese
Low-fat yogurts
Dannon Activia regular
Low-fat/light/fat-free cheeses, sour cream, spreads, mayo, dressings, etc.
Olive oil in moderation, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray and spreads, non-stick sprays, no vegetable oil - canola oil only when completely necessary
No butter
I aimed to reduce the intake of white breads and bread products - consuming whole-wheat/whole grain breads. The higher the fiber content per serving the better. 12-grain breads, etc. Whole-wheat bagels, pitas, etc.
Low-fat/sugar loose granola
Brown rice
Whole-wheat flour
Whole-wheat cous cous
Whole-wheat or spinach tortillas
Whole-wheat pancakes with light or sugar-free syrup
Whole-wheat pastas
Baked Lays corn chips
Low-fat parmesan cheese
Low-fat soups for cooking purposes, low-fat/fat free spice packets; ranch dip mix, etc.
Splenda instead of sugar
Egg substitute
Turkey bacon
Turkey Italian sausage links for pasta or alone
Healthy Choice hot dogs with whole wheat buns
Healthy Choice Bologna
White meat turkey lunch meat
Fish - salmon, tuna, talapia, etc. preferably grilled
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts - grilled mostly
White turkey meat
Ground white turkey meat instead of ground beef
Topped fresh salads with canned tuna (always in water or the envelopes - preferably albacore) or canned white meat chicken
Tried to eliminate pork consumption
Consumed very little beef did not consume any beef the first month (beef is my favorite meat - pork is my second, although I have always loved fish)
Sushi and edamame (boiled soy beans) and miso shiru (miso soup)
Fresh baby spinach and/or spring greens for salads instead of iceberg
On vegetable - the greener the better - spinach, broccoli, asparagus, etc.
Fresh fruits/vegetables
Grilled/steamed fresh vegetables
Frozen fresh vegetables
Frozen fresh berry medley - raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
Weight Watcher's frozen meals
My favorite snacks
Honey-nut cheerios
Carob covered almonds
Light string cheese
Activia strawberry yogurt
Pink grapefruit with splenda
Aimed to eat 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 grapefruit and one banana daily
Natural almonds/walnuts in moderation
Whole-wheat toast with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray and/or with sugar free (splenda) orange marmalade
Whole-wheat multi-grain crackers with Happy Cow low-fat herb spread
Low-fat frozen yogurt
Cottage cheese with canned mandarin oranges and splenda
The organic food store has many healthy yet delicious alternatives for snacking.

Dietary Supplements:
Flax Seed Meal - 2 tbs daily (tried to eat daily with oat-meal)
Wheat Germ - 2 tbs daily (tried to eat daily with oat-meal)
Renew Life The Digestive Company Liver Detox includes:
Morning Support Formula 2 capsules in the morning
Evening Support Formula 2 capsules in the evening
Nature's Plus The Energy Supplements Ultra Maximum Strength Garlite 1000 mg Odorless Garlic Supplement 1 tablet in morning
Solaray Dietary Supplement No Flush Niacin 500 mg 1 capsule in morning
Spring Valley Vitamin E 1000 IU In a Water-Soluble Base Dietary Supplement 1 softgel in the morning
Wild Oats Food Origins 100% Nutrient Value from Food Flax Seed Oil 1000 mg 2 softgels in the morning
(Suggests 2 - 6 softgels daily)
Nature's Way Alive! Dietary Supplement Whole Food Energizer Multi-Vitamin with Vitamins - Minerals 2 tablets in the morning
(Suggests 3 tablets daily)
Emergen-C Heart Health Powerful Antioxidant Formula Plant Steorols & Lycopene 1,000 mg Vitamin C Black Cherry Flavored Fizzy Drink Mix 2 to 4 packs daily
(I used any of the Emergen-C's)
Solaray Dietary Supplement Dong Quai Angelica Sinesis 550 mg 2 capsules in the morning
(Suggests 2 capsules once or twice daily - have been using this for female problems)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 3:09PM
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Thank you, ameliade for that great post. That pretty well covers it. I clipped your post to my clippings page, so I could find it again when I want it.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 6:32PM
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I had a very similar experience as Ameliade- My "numbers" were much higher than my doctor liked. Since I am NOT a fan of prescription drugs I opted to start exercizing more- nothing major, just nice brisk walks about 3 times a week. I also cut Trans fats out of my diet as completely as I could (reading labels including the fine print is a MUST as a product is allowed to claim "zero trans fat" when it actually has .5 grams per serving) Also, watch out for "interestified fats or oils" These are the new generation of transformed fats the food labs are churning out to prolong the shelf life of processed foods. When in doubt, turn to fresh fruits and veggies and nuts for snacks! I also take Omega 3 suppliments daily as well as vitamin D, if I can't get a good dose of sunshine. My "numbers" are now where they should be, and best of all, I FEEL GREAT!!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 10:52AM
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Ameliade's plan sounds like a good start.

Not sure about the AHDL levels, though - is that the same as HDL? I thought anything below 39 was considered low and a risk factor.

Some preliminary evidence for curcumin (turmeric) raising HDL, and for ashwagandha raising HDL while lowering total cholesterol.

Here is a link that might be useful: Botanicals researched for their effect on HDL

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 9:54PM
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apollog, did you notice that the studies you linked to on curcumin and ashwagandha almost entirely involve rats?

The one documented human study that lasted for any length of time (newly published) did not find curcumin helpful in lowering cholesterol:

"Consumption of either dose of curcumin did not significantly affect triacylglycerols, or total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol over 1 month or 6 months. However, the concentrations of plasma curcumin and serum cholesterol were positively and significantly correlated. Curcumin consumption does not appear to have a significant effect on the serum lipid profile, unless the absorbed concentration of curcumin is considered, in which case curcumin may modestly increase cholesterol."

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 1:08PM
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Thanks. That's interesting, and that bears further monitoring. All my lipids are in order, which I do not attribute to any one factor. So for me, no worries. But for others trying to lower their cholesterol, certainly not a magic bullet or even a first string choice.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:13PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)


    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 11:37PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

A very informative thread. and eric acted like a normal human.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 7:30PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Eric always acts that way when he is not attacked.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 8:12PM
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My DH likes to eat nuts for snacks, so I started buying him bags of walnuts to replace the mixed salted nuts he had been eating. They're supposed to have the "good" fat in them that helps to process cholesterol.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 9:49PM
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I think complete elimination of bad fats is in order but several systems in the body require good fats to function well. The tragedy of our time is that so many think they can be healthy while eating an unhealthy diet and taking pharmaceuticals (or just adding a few herbs to their unhealthy diet). Doesn't work.

For those on statin drugs there is lots of info available, one site posted below. If you feel you really need statins at least take CoQ10.

Here is a link that might be useful: dangers of statin drugs

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 1:47PM
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Some things to consider regarding that last link:

1) It relies heavily on anecdote and cherry-picked research findings.

2) It greatly overstates risks and minimizes known cardiovascular benefits of taking statins.

3) Mary Enig promotes the use of coconut oil, which is high in saturated fat and whose routine use is discouraged by experts in the field of nutrition and cardiovascular health. Enig's writings are heavily featured on websites run by companies producing this oil. It's reasonable to wonder what portion of her income might come from industry sources (including speaking at industry-sponsored conferences) and whether her statements pooh-poohing the dangers of high cholesterol and saturated fats are clouded by economic conflicts of interest.

4) Enig and The Weston Price Foundation are engaged in a bizarre campaign warning of unproven and nonexistent dangers of soy-based foods.

All in all, the Foundation strikes me as a very unreliable source of health information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Statins - risks and benefits

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 6:20PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

The elimination of "bad" nutrients is why we had so much transfat in everything for so long. I suggest avoiding that sort of terminology if you can, it leads us to make "Bad" decisions.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 6:58PM
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luckygal, If we would go back to simple cooking and eating without adding all the modern chemcals to foods i suspect our lives and bodys would take a giant leap for the better. However we humans tend to be a lazy lot and we end up buying our poison of choice. LOL

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 8:08PM
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jkirk3279(Z5 SW MI)

"What studies exist on gynostemma all seem to have looked at effects in cell cultures and on rodents (i.e. rats and guinea pigs). No human trials.
Given the problems that have surfaced on closer examination of some "traditional Chinese medicines", I'm not sure I'd want to be a human guinea pig for gynostemma."

On the contrary, the Chinese have done all the field trials you could want on this.

Jiaogulan tea is quite popular in the areas of China where people have enjoyed extreme longevity (100+) for centuries.

Now, while that doesn't PROVE Jiagulan is good for you, if it was toxic it's unlikely regular users would live LONGER than average.

Remember that most clinical trials in the USA are done for profit, pure and simple.

Come up with a new cholesterol drug you can patent, and you'll get your study.

But imagine this: someone decides to do a clinical trial to prove that drinking distilled water is good for you.

They spend 50 Million dollars proving this. Now, they publish their results.

How do they make their money back? The water market is already saturated, so to speak.

Making money selling water usually requires fringe science claims that the water has been 'de-polarized' by spinning in a centrifuge for ten hours. Not kidding, BTW.

So, the only studies you'll see on "wellness" items are going to be smaller, University studies. It's surprising even ginseng attracted enough attention to be studied, much less exotics like Jiaogulan.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 6:52PM
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Hi jkirk,
Nicely droll, your: "market ... saturated" ....

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:48PM
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A memory occurred to me when I read this thread. When my grandfather, who died at the age of 92, was a mere 80-something and I was a child:

He sat at the table and would eat a raw onion every day, and swore to me that this was the source of his longevity. Blood pressure was "one" of the things he claimed it helped.

I'm not sure about the onion, but it made me smile to remember.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:24PM
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See, this is what's so confusing about some aspects of herbalism.

We're told that with gynostemma tea we can live to be over 100, then up pops someone else (who coincidentally just registered on GW) with a magic tea that's even better! Who can decide, with all these different miracle remedies available?

Have no doubt, if there's something fantastic in gynostemma or in any herbal remedy, there's room to patent some aspect of its manufacture and make a boat of money. The old line about how no one studies natural products because you can't make money from them, sounds odd when the same people tell us that a high proportion of currently used drugs originally derived from plant and other naturally-occurring substances (true). The same folks used to claim that Stevia would never be sold by a big company as a sweetener because you couldn't patent and make money from it. Now that Truvia is on the market, we don't hear so much about a Conspiracy to keep Stevia down.

Regarding gynostemma tea, I don't know what "field trials" have been performed in China, but I've yet to see a properly done clinical study published on it.

Incidentally, the average Chinese life span falls considerably short of that of Americans.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 12:38AM
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