Herbs to Lower Cholesterol

Topics: Cholesterol , Lifestyle & Diet Article Highlights
  • To help lower cholesterol, support a healthy regimen of diet and exercise with herbs
  • Ginseng is an herb that has been used in Asian medicine for centuries
  • Hawthorn has antioxidant properties similar to astragalus, which help to improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system

Looking for an all-natural way to help support healthy cholesterol levels? You can augment a healthy regimen of diet and exercise with herbs to support healthy levels of cholesterol. Learn more about the herbs and supplements you can use to support healthy cholesterol levels and support your heart health with a list of our favorites.


Ginseng is an herb that has been used in Asian medicine for centuries, typically mixed with other herbs. Folk medicine used ginseng to treat a variety of ailments and support heart health. These days, ginseng root is sold in capsules and many popular products – green teas, coffees, and even energy drinks. Some studies show that ginseng may support healthy levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and "good" HDL cholesterol.[1]

Artichoke leaf extract

Like ginseng, artichoke leaf extract has long been used throughout history in medicine, and one of its most popular uses is as an aid in supporting healthy cholesterol. In several clinical trials, artichoke leaf extract has shown an impact on supporting healthy levels of “bad” LDL and total cholesterol.[2][3][HB1]  Researchers have struggled to replicate the most promising numbers seen in studies, but the findings are encouraging – artichoke leaf extract may be one of the best herbs to support healthy levels of cholesterol that’s out there on the market.


Though not an herb, flaxseed is one of those wonder foods that is touted to help against many serious conditions, including heart disease. Flaxseed may support healthy cholesterol levels and overall heart health.[4] You can find flaxseed at the grocery store in ground form or alongside many other herbs in the supplement aisle.


Astagalus has been used in combination with other herbs to fight diseases for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. Its main use is to support the immune system, but as an antioxidant, it can also support heart health – people with heart health issues may use astragalus to support healthy cholesterol levels and the overall functioning of their hearts.[5]


The hawthorn berry plant has been a part of ancient medicine across the world, including Europe, the Americas, and China. Both the berry and leaves are edible, and people can use the entire plant for its health benefits. Hawthorn has antioxidant properties similar to astragalus, which help to support the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Research suggests that hawthorn can support healthy levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides (these are fats in the blood – your doctor measures your level of triglycerides when they perform a cholesterol blood test).[6]

[1] Kim SH, Park KS. Effects of Panax ginseng extract on lipid metabolism in humans. Pharmacol Res. 2003 Nov;48(5):511-3

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0011986/

[3] http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/08/20/cholesterol.lowering.supplements/index.html?eref=rss_health

[4] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/health-tip/art-20049268

[5] http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/astragalus

[6] http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-527-hawthorn.aspx?activeingredientid=527&activeingredientname=hawthorn

 [HB1]This reference to the CNN story references another web story that makes no mention of this “german study” from 2000. In other words, this references leads to a dead end. A Cochrane review however does provide enough support to claim artichoke leaf extract may lower cholesterol.  “Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Oct 7;(4):CD003335”

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