Cholesterol buildup in the coronary arteries leads to the condition known as Hridaya roga in Ayurveda, which literally means heart disease. This is similar to atherosclerosis. When the cholesterol collects in the arteries leading to the heart, their lumen becomes narrow and the amount of blood entering the heart is insufficient. Due to this the heart needs to pump harder, causing several kinds of cardiovascular diseases, the worst of which is the fatal angina pectoris.
Cholesterol is present in fatty acids. Some cholesterol is needed for the proper utilization of foods in the body, formation of the hormones and the bile, etc. This is known as the high density cholesterol, or simply, the useful cholesterol. The rest of the cholesterol simply builds up in the arteries without any apparent function. This is the low density cholesterol, or the bad cholesterol.
The buildup of cholesterol can be reduced by several Ayurvedic treatments. Cholesterol reduction means safety from the various cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading causes of deaths in the world today.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Cholesterol
- Alfalfa (Medicago satina)
Alfalfa is effective in treating problems of the arteries. It helps in clearing arteries congested with cholesterol.
- Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna)
Arjuna has been used since centuries in the treatment of heart related problems such as heart attacks. The bark of the arjuna when taken in powder form has beneficial properties. This can dissolve the cholesterol that accumulates in the coronary artery and reduce the possibility of heart attacks.
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Coriander is a very good diuretic. It makes the kidneys perform their functions of excretion better. Therefore the kidneys flush out the excess unneeded cholesterols from the body.
- Garlic (Allium cepa)
Garlic is very beneficial to people with cholesterol problems that affect the heart. Eating two to three cloves of garlic a day helps to reduce or even completely eliminate the harmful cholesterol in the blood. Garlic can disintegrate the blood cholesterol and hence free up the arteries.
- Guggulu (Commiphora mukul)
This is a traditional Indian herb which has become very popular in the Ayurvedic treatment of cholesterol-related heart problems. It contains guggulsterones which have been proven to reduce the levels of cholesterol on regular use. 25 mg of these guggulsterones are prescribed for intake thrice a day.
- Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Holy basil has the capacity to dissolve the accumulated cholesterol from the arteries into the person’s bloodstream. From here they are eliminated by the kidneys.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Cholesterol
The various dietary regimes which will help you to reduce the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries are as follows:-
- Keep a careful watch on the amount of calories you are consuming. Say no to chocolates, ice creams, red meats and all such foods that can increase the calorie count.
- Sources of fats such as fried foods are to be avoided. Groundnut oil must be strictly prohibited. But fat sources such as cow’s milk, cow’s ghee and cow’s butter are recommended. Buffalo dairy products are to be avoided.
- Consume more fresh vegetables and fruits. Green leafy vegetables are needed since they would provide roughage for the elimination of the waste materials.
- Soy and soy products are very beneficial for the proper utilization of cholesterol.
- Drink lots of water. Water will help to remove the toxic buildup in the arteries.
- Smoking and alcoholism must be avoided as they interfere with the proper utilization of cholesterol in the body.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatment for Cholesterol
Ayurvedic treatment for high level of cholesterol is to prescribe the various herbs that have properties to reduce the buildup.
One popular herb in Ayurvedic medicine is arjuna. It is prescribed in several forms such as Arjunarishta and Arjuna Ghritam. Other popular medicines are Hridayarnava Rasa and Prabhakara Vati. If the cholesterol amount is very profuse, then Mrigamadasava is prescribed.
Yoga is also very beneficial in proper circulation and elimination of the cholesterol buildup in the body. Some of the useful asanas are:-
(4) Home Medications
- Drinking coriander in water everyday helps in the reduction of cholesterol in the body. This regime must be continued for about a month. Then the cholesterol levels must be checked again.
- Boil a glassful of milk with a piece of garlic in it. This will reduce the cholesterol and take care of cardiac pains. It has to be continued for a few days before the method begins to show its effects.
- Have cold hipbaths twice daily. These have been shown to have positive effects in the reduction of cholesterol when taken on a regular basis.
- A simple remedy is to have a single piece of garlic every morning. This takes time to show results, but the results are positive.
- Consume some almonds and walnuts on a daily basis.