Atherosclerosis, in medical terminology, implies a condition in which there is build up and deposition of plaque on the inner walls of arteries. As a result, the arteries get clogged and hardened and the flow of blood through them gets restricted. This leads to extra pressure on the heart, which leads to heart disease in the long run as the heart has to pump harder to counter the impaired blood flow. The medical implications of this condition called atherosclerosis are increased risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Plaque deposits are made up of cholesterol, fat cells, toxins, proteins and scar tissues.
Atherosclerosis is seen to be frequent in case of people suffering from hypertension, diabetes and obesity, while smoking, fatty diet, lack of physical activity, age and heredity may be the secondary causes of this condition. This is a serious condition, which is combated with medication and surgeries in some extreme cases. However, a balanced diet with a healthy lifestyle can help nip this problem in the bud. There are also certain herbs which have been found effective for treating atherosclerosis. Some of these are mentioned as follows:
1. Arjuna (Terminalia Arjuna)
The herb Arjuna is revered as traditional cardiac tonic and has been used as an alternative medicine for atherosclerosis since ancient times. Research has shown that Arjuna bark has the ability to curb plaque build-up in arteries, improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and strengthen the heart muscles. Arjuna herb is also effective natural treatment for angina pain.
Another herb effective for treating atherosclerosis is ginger. It prevents hardening of arteries and also lowers blood pressure. It also improves blood circulation and reduces the risk of a condition called thrombosis, when the blood clot hinders blood flow to cells and tissues.
3. Garlic (Allium Sativum)
Garlic is another effective treatment for atherosclerosis due to its amazing blood thinning abilities. It can be very useful to prevent clotting of blood as it is a natural anti coagulant. Allicin, the potent compound found in garlic, is an anti-oxidant which can prevent buildup of plaque in the arteries, and also reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol.
4. Ginkgo Biloba
Next on the list of herbs for treating atherosclerosis is the herb called gingko biloba, which is also called Maidenhair. The herbal extract of its leaves contains flavonoids and terpenes, which are considered as an amazing alternative natural remedy, with the ability to clear away plaque buildup from the arteries. This herb is particularly effective for diabetics.
Another herb which promotes blood circulation and prevents atherosclerosis is hawthorn. This herb contains anti oxidant compounds, which enables it to neutralize free radicals and treat conditions like angina and high blood pressure, besides reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol.
6. Guggul (Commiphora Mukul)
Guggul is another Ayurvedic herb, which has the ability to bring down LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol. The potent compounds called Guggulsterons found in guggul can also bring down triglyceride levels, which make it preventive against atherosclerosis.
7. Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)
Curcumin, the potent compound in turmeric, is responsible for its capability to bring down the level of blood cholesterol. Reduction in cholesterol plays a vital role in lowering the risk of developing atherosclerosis. Turmeric also promotes flow of blood in the arteries.
8. Pipali (Piper Longum)
Pipali is a traditional herb, which has been known for its amazing cardiac benefits. The herb has a scraping action, which enables it to remove plaque from the arteries. It also strengthens the muscles of the heart.
9. Amla (Emblica Officinalis)
Another herb with proven benefits against atherosclerosis is amla or Indian Gooseberry (Emblica Officinalis). Animal studies have shown that amla extract has the ability to lower cholesterol level in the blood, which in turn plays a positive role in prevention of atherosclerosis.
10. Pushkarmool (Inula Racemosa)
Pushkarmool is another Ayurvedic herb effective for treating atherosclerosis. It is used with another herb called guggul, for prevention of the cardiac condition called angina. It also brings down bad cholesterol levels in heart patients.
In addition to the herbal remedies, some modifications in your diet can also be effective for prevention of atherosclerosis. Having plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables which are rich in anti-oxidants, flavonoids, fiber, vitamins and minerals, can be helpful for this purpose.