Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is required to build healthy cells but elevated plasma cholesterol levels mainly characterize hypercholesterolemia or high cholesterol. Accumulation of bad cholesterol is always dangerous and alarming signs of many disorders. With erratic lifestyle and wrong diet, this condition is on the rise.
The high level of cholesterol should be reduced to prevent the development of heart disease as high cholesterol can result in the development of fatty deposits in the blood vessels. When these deposits grow, there is a difficulty in flowing of blood through the arteries. Sometimes, these deposits can break suddenly and form a clot that causes heart attack or stroke.
High Cholesterol according to Ayurveda:
The term dyslipidaemia can be considered close to the terms such as medodushti or medovriddhi mentioned in Ayurveda.
In Ayurveda, agni (digestive fire) is the term used for defining all the metabolic actions in a collective manner. It is said that aAma is the primary cause of metabolic disorders in Ayurveda. Once formed it is capable of obstructing the metabolic pathways and causes diseases. Cholesterol is considered as one such product that originates due to metabolic impairment in the alimentary canal.
The abnormal meda formed due to aberrant state of metabolism circulates in the channels of the body and gets deposited there. Ultimately, the excess of fats gradually involves dhAtu and dosha in the body and causes problems such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart problems, joint disorders, obesity etc.
What are the symptoms of High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol has no symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect it.
What is the treatment of high cholesterol?
In modern medicine, there are various approaches for managing high cholesterol to certain extent. The modern treatment for high cholesterol includes reducing the biosynthesis of cholesterol in the liver. Statin is the most recommended drug for high cholesterol in modern medicine.
However, considering the different side effects of these drugs, now a days, the search for more herbs, natural remedies, exercise, diet etc. to control cholesterol levels is gaining importance.
Treatment of High Cholesterol in Ayurveda:
Ayurvedic approach for high cholesterol focuses on restoration of the balance of the disturbed mind body matrix through diet, administration of herbal drugs, detoxification and rejuvenation therapies.
In Ayurveda, multidimensional approaches are followed to address the problem of high cholesterol which primarily include dietary restrictions, yoga, breathing exercises such as pranAyAma, langhan chikitsa (emaciation therapy) etc.
The main herbs useful in the treatment of High Cholesterol are:
- Guggulu (Commiphora mukul): Guggulu is a resin that inhibits the reabsorption of bile salts and acids, causing them to be secreted.
- Thus, guggulu effectively lowers triglyceride levels, total cholesterol levels and free fatty acid levels by breaking down the lipids in the liver, increasing faecal bile acid secretion, inhibiting the biosynthesis of hepatic cholesterol and inhibiting the oxidation of LDL.
- Garlic (Allium sativum): Garlic, commonly known as Lasuna lowers the blood lipid levels by modulating the important enzymes in the liver that are responsible for the biosynthesis of cholesterol.
- Garlic has potent anti-oxidant property that helps in eliminating free radicals that trigger the imbalance in the normal ability of blood vessels to constrict and dilate, thus promoting normal artery vasodilation as well.
- Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna): The presence of bioflavonoids in arjun tree bark are known to have hypocholesteraemic effects. The bioflavonoids present in the bark of arjun tree have free radical scavenging properties that prevent the oxidation of LDL.
- It is a potent hypolipidemic which is responsible for reducing total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It helps in the management of atherosclerosis (fatty deposits around artery walls).
- It is a cardioprotective herb that stabilizes blood pressure and prevents oxidative damage.
- Triphala: Triphala is a combination of three herbal products. These are: Amla (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula).
- Triphala helps in regulating the digestion and regulates bowel movements as well.
- It helps in proper formation of body tissues and considered as one of the best anti-oxidants and excellent blood purifier.
- Triphala also helps in improving circulation and is a very effective formula for high cholesterol.
- Triphala has been reported to reduce total cholesterol, triglyceride, free fatty acids and LDL levels significantly.
- Pushkarmoola (Inula racemosa): Pushkarmool relieves fat and cholesterol naturally.
- Pushkarmool also acts as a beta-blocker which helps in regulating high blood pressure.
- This herb is useful in heart diseases as well.
- Amla (Emblica officinalis): Amla is one of the herbs described in Ayurveda which is known to possess multiple therapeutic activities. It is considered as a RasAyana in Ayurveda.
- It reduces total cholesterol level, LDL and triglyceride levels. It is also known to increase High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) level.
- Amla improves body metabolism and helps in lowering cholesterol levels by stimulating pAchak agni (digestive fire).
- Thus, it reduces blood cholesterol levels and widens blood vessels.
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa): Turmeric, an Indian spice is widely used in cooking.
- Curcumin is an active component of turmeric, which has the ability to interact with hundreds of molecular targets.
- It exerts cardioprotective effect owing to its lipid lowering properties.
- It prevents LDL from being oxidised as oxidised LDL has been shown to contribute to the formation of atherosclerosis.
- Hence, it cuts down the build-up of plaques in the arterial walls.
Diet and Lifestyle:
- Avoid kapha aggravating food such as fried food, dairy products.
- Exercise and prAnayAm should be included in daily lifestyle.
- Langhan Chikitsa is advised for obese patients suffering from high cholesterol.
- Foods that are hard to digest should be avoided.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol should be avoided.
- Include coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, celery, ginger, liquorice, flaxseeds, onions, beans, garlic, soybeans, nuts in the diet.
According to Ayurveda, the vitiation of medovAha srotas and the diseases caused therein should be managed on the lines of the treatment of medoja rog (fat related disorder). [Charak Samhita, Chapter -21].
Thus, Ayurvedic herbs along with changes in diet and lifestyle help in the treatment of high cholesterol without any adverse effects.
The above Blog is published by Suyogya Ayurwellness Pvt Ltd. – Contact for India No 1 Ayurvedic Company