Godshaer.co.uk :: atherosclerosis
herbs and atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is a process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of medium-sized and large arteries as a result of fat deposits (called plaques) on their inner lining. It can begin in the teenage years. It is usually a silent disease (with no obvious symptoms).
The symptoms of atherosclerosis vary somewhat depending on the location of a plaque. If the plaque occurs in the arteries of the heart, the patient may experience chest pain, heart attack, or sudden death. A plaque in the brain may lead to sudden dizziness, weakness, loss of speech, or blindness. In arteries of the leg, plaques can lead to cramping and fatigue in the legs when walking. A plaque in the kidneys can cause high blood pressure that is difficult to treat.
Risk factors for atherosclerosis include high levels of "bad" cholesterol (LDL), high blood pressure (hypertension), smoking, diabetes and a genetic family history of atherosclerotic disease.
Atherosclerosis is responsible for much coronary artery disease (angina and heart attacks) and many strokes.
Natural Treatment and Prevention of Atherosclerosis
Herbal treatment that is anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol and stimulant on the immune system may be used alone or in combination with statins and niacin (and anticholesterol supplements e.g. ezetimibe and others) is recommended.
In severe cases of atherosclerosis research shows that Vitamin B3 (Niacin, Nicatinic acid) could be beneficial at a high dose viz. 1-3g per day. It is recommended this is supervised by a professional as there can be side effects. It has been found to improve HDL levels, and to shift LDL and lower lipoprotein(a).
For preventative purposes to get niacin from natural sources you will find niacin in all meat and poultry and fish, also in liver and kidney; you will also find niacin in brown rice, eggs, cheese and nuts (especially peanuts); niacin is also in soya beans, peas and beans, also in brewers yeast, dried fruit and wheatgerm. In herbs you will find niacin in alfalfa (medicago), burdock (arctium lappa samen), fenugreek seed, parsley, and watercress. Eating these foods will help protect your arteries.
The old approach of a vegan diet with very low fat has been shown not to regress atherosclerosis as well as with a moderate protein and fish diet, see below.
200-300mg/day cholesterol is usual in a normal diet. But to reduce cholesterol in the blood the key is a low carb diet (below 80g daily) and a low sugar diet (less than 15g per day). To do this effectively you need to be strict with yourself, watch and count the carbs on packaging and know their values in other foods you eat. For specfic guidance contact Alan Hopking, herbalist for nearly 30 years. See also weightless and stevia. You also need to drink at least 2L water daily (this doesn't include beverages and juices) - you may want to go on my water-detox programme to kick-start your cardiovascular healing.
Other useful supplements
Atherosclerosis responds well to:
Omega 3 oils proven effective protection. You can buy this with a high antioxidant value £16.95 for 120 capsules. Add this in your email order to us if required.
Vitamin C has an important role - antioxidant in vessels and inhibits inflammatory process. Take up to 2g per day (best to buy Vitamin C powder £16.95 for 250g. Add this in your email order to us if required).
Vit E is of some benefit. £8.80 for 60 caps of 400IU. Add this in your email order to us if required.
All these can be found in microform in our unique ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus with over 10,000 nutrients with every teaspoonful. We recommend you take this powder whether or not you take other supplements I've mentioned.
Blood thinners like warfarin and aspirin can interfere with Vit K in the long term and thus worsen vascular calcification.
HDL largely reverses and removes atheromas. Eg Niacin (side effect is flushing).
HDL 40-60mg/dL = normal; below 40 is too low; above 60 may protect you from getting heart disease.
LDL - below 100mg/dL is best (but for most people 130 is thought to be near optimal); above 160 is high.
Below 150ml/dL triglycerides in the body is normal; above 500 is very high.
How to increase HDL
Aerobic excercise for 20+ mins (duration not intensity); weight loss; cut smoking; cut out hydrogenated fats (they increase LDL and lower HDL at same time). Alcohol can increase HDL (1-2 drinks per day - no more e.g. wine, real ale). Monounsaturated fats increase HDL e.g. olive oil, avocado oil and peanut oil. Soluble fiber reduces LDL and increases HDL, e.g. oats, fruits, veg, legumes. Also cranberry juice, fish
Unsaturated - all veg oils
Saturated - all animal meats also coconut and palm oil, lard, dairy products; all hydrogenated, unnatural products and cheeses.
Herbal treatment uses selective herbal medicines as surface vasodilators, cardioactives, anti-cholesterols and vaso-antiinflammatories.
Atheromas (plaques) cause an inflammatory response in the tissue causing the vessel to swell first, later this swelling narrows the vessel hole. Herbs are used to reduce the inflamed tissue and prevent the narrowing effect. Herbs that help to dilate the vessel are also used. Anti-cholesterol herbs to reduce the LDL in the blood are included in the prescription (see below). General immune system herbs and heart regulating herbs are also recommended.
Herbs considered to help to shrink hardened plaque and lower cholesterol levels include: medicago (alfalfa), melilot, matricaria (chamomile), borage, oleo (olive leaf), urtica (nettle leaf), mentha (peppermint), calendula, allium (garlic), tilia (lime flower), achillea (yarrow), equisitum (horsetail), crataegus (hawthorn), ginkgo, filipendula (meadowsweet), eucalyptus, buckwheat. Also viscum (mistletoe), capsicum.
Threatened stroke: arnica tinct 3-5 drops in water twice daily.
Dietary help: lecithin, artichokes, oily fish, natural cheeses, nuts, meats, linseed on breakfast cereal, garlic in meals and salads. Little or no bread, pasta, fruit, sugar, dried fruit, root veg, fruit juices. For further free advice email Alan Hopking
Vitamins: A, B-complex, B3, B6, B12, C (2g), E (400IU), daily.
Minerals: Mg, Chromium, Iodine, K, Selenium, Manganese, Zn.
Herbal medicine to treat or prevent atherosclerosis, contact us, see below.
Many people ask about the statins
Some statins have a plant origin others are synthetic. They're the biggest drug sellers of all time. This give you an idea of their popularity, and perhaps their effectiveness. What's more they have a low percentage side effect (on muscles).
Statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver. Increased cholesterol levels have been associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and statins are therefore used in the prevention of these diseases. Randomized controlled trials have shown that they are most effective in those already suffering from cardiovascular disease (secondary prevention), but they are also advocated and used extensively in those without previous CVD but with elevated cholesterol levels and other risk factors (such as diabetes and high blood pressure) that increase a person's risk. Statins have rare but severe adverse effects, particularly muscle damage, and some doctors believe they are overprescribed. wikipedia.
You can take herbal medicine for Atherosclerosis by itself or with a low-dose statin and this can be a useful method, along with dietary change, exercise, meditation (deep relaxation), regular sleep, and a happy recreational life with partner and friends.
Take herbal health tonics on a rotational basis (see PROST)
Related health issues to consider:
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Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH MRCHM FINEH.
Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. Telphone using our freephone 0500 90 96 97.
Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.
General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines
Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies
are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care.
• Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist).
• Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care.
• Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing.
• If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking.
• Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
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Alan N Hopking MA MNIMH MRCHM
Advanced Botanical Centre of Medicine
5 Station Road
+44 (0) 1425 839280
Freephone UK 0500 909697
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HERBACTIVE Clinic and Shop is near the New Milton Train Station
Take the train from London Waterloo to Bournemouth, Poole or Weymouth and get off at New Milton; turn left at Station Road; 2 mins walk to Herbactive.
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Disclaimer and pledgeAs a professional herbal practitioner I am in practice in conformity with the laws of England and the 1968 Medicines Act. The UK legislative provisions for herbal medicine are to be found in the Medicines Act 1968, Section 12, paragraphs 1 & 2, and Section 56, paragraphs 1 & 2. Section 12:1 specifies exemption for herbal medicines from licensing provided that they are supplied subsequent to private personal consultation. Section 12:2 exempts herbal medicines provided that they are produced according to standard traditional, non-industrial methods. It also specifies that no written claims may be made for the use of the remedy. Therefore at HERBACTIVE no claims about any medical condition regarding the herbal medicines prescribed by Alan Hopking are made. Indeed, be it a doctor, surgeon or herbal practitioner, the successful outcome of our treatments cannot with any certainty be predicted, let alone guaranteed. Further, following UK and EU law, the information on this web site attach no medical claims and no claims concerning the medicinal herbs mentioned relating to any medical conditions listed. All the herbal prescriptions are unlicensed and made by Alan N. Hopking at the address of HERBACTIVE for patients of Alan N. Hopking. I pledge that, I shall do all I can, using my knowledge of herbal medicines and natural treatment, to help you regain your deserved health.
Alan Hopking MA MNIMH MRCHM All our herbal medicines are made from the raw herb at our dedicated clinic and dispensary at HERBACTIVE Botanicals. We collect the fresh herbs, or import the dry herb. They are organic if at all possible. We only use whole herbs. We are against the use of standardized extracts, or the concentration of herbs by adding more of the active constituent. We recommend you do not use such products in any form (dry, in capsules or as tincture extracts). To use our herbal tonics you should follow the prescribed dose. Any side effects or problems should be reported to us.