Cholesterol is a necessary component of the body. It, in excess, may lead to potential health issues. There are a few herbs such as turmeric and rosemary that can help in lowering cholesterol. However, more research is needed to determine the effects of herbs on cholesterol.
Cholesterol is of two types(1):
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: It is often called bad cholesterol and contributes to blocked arteries when the level is high.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: It is good cholesterol and helps in removing LDL cholesterol from the blood.
Triglyceride levels are also monitored while checking cholesterol levels. Triglycerides are the fats that store excess energy from a person’s diet. It also contributes to excess LDL cholesterol levels.
Using herbal supplements may be helpful in lowering cholesterol levels. Even though they are herbal and may have very few side effects, still, before starting them a doctor should be consulted because they may interact with the action of certain medications.
7 Useful Herbs to Lower Cholesterol
Fenugreek Seeds and Leaves
Studies show that fenugreek seeds may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. Researchers found that the use of fenugreek could be helpful in lowering the cholesterol level in people with diabetes(2).
Artichoke Leaf Extract
Artichoke is consumed as a part of a healthy diet. There are several studies that show the effect of artichokes on cholesterol levels.
Artichoke leaf extract is linked with the reduction of cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It was used by researchers in combination with lipid-lowering therapy in those with hyperlipidemia(3).
Yarrow is a flowering herb used as a traditional medicine for years. Studies suggest it has cholesterol-lowering properties.
A study done in 2012 found that yarrow helped in lowering cholesterol levels in broiler chickens(4). Another study found the role of yarrow extract in altering the lipids in vitro(5).
However, studies on the use of yarrow supplements in humans are lacking.
Holy basil is a slightly bitter herb that can be eaten raw and can also be added to dishes.
A study done in 2018 looked at the effects of basil on 40 years or older adults and found that higher doses caused total and LDL cholesterol levels to drop. To achieve this, 1 gram per day was needed to be consumed(6).
Ginger is a popular herb that is used in various Asian-inspired dishes for flavor. It is also used as a supplement for various health conditions.
In 2018, research was done on 12 trials. It suggested that low doses of ginger had good effects on lowering triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels(7).
Turmeric is a common spice that is a most important part of Indian cooking. It is known for its distinctive yellow color and earthy flavor. It is also well-known for its various health-beneficial properties.
A study was done in 2017, that examined the effects of turmeric’s active compounds on the cardiovascular system. It found that curcumin present in turmeric improved lipid levels(8).
Rosemary can also have a positive effect on a person’s cholesterol level. An old study done in 2014 found that people taking 2, 5, or 10 grams of rosemary powder daily found a decrease in total cholesterol levels(9). This study also suggested that this herb may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
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