The Best Anti Aging Herbs: Circulatory Herbs

A step-by-step guide to better midlife health.

| January/February 2000

  • Among the best circulatory herbs are hawthorn and garlic, but check with your doctor before you start.

Heart disease is still the number-one killer in the United States. Modern science has made great strides in the medical prevention, management and treatment of heart disease. And, yes, herbs can help. However, heart disease cannot be self-diagnosed or self-treated. It takes a med­ical specialist to deal with the serious medical problems of heart disease.

High cholesterol levels are often associated with the thickening of arteries that ­deprive the heart muscle of blood. This process can lead to angina pectoris, myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death.

Both men and women are subject to risk of coronary heart disease induced by high cholesterol. When it comes to lowering cholesterol below the risk benchmark of 200 mg/dl, the ratio of low-density lipoproteins (“bad” cholesterol) to high-density lipoproteins (“good” cholesterol) is very important.

Your health-care professional will conduct blood tests to determine your cholesterol levels and recommend any course of treatment. Garlic and hawthorn may help, but you should consult your health-care practitioner before using them.

(Allium sativum)

Garlic is the best-known herb for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, lowering blood pressure, and thinning the blood (much like aspirin). It is ­believed to reduce the fat in the blood that collects on cell walls and reduce the stickiness of blood platelets so that they can move more freely. Between 1985 and 1995, twenty-eight controlled clinical studies were published on garlic preparations. Eight studies looked at garlic’s effect on blood lipids. Of those studies, five showed statistically significant reductions in cholesterol; one noted a tendency toward reduction of blood lipids; and two reported an insignificant decrease. Garlic is often prescribed in Germany for patients who prefer natural herbal preparations over synthetic drugs. Garlic is also much cheaper than drugs.

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