According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who suffer from high LDL cholesterol are twice as likely to develop heart disease – the number one cause of death in both men and women (source). High levels of LDL cholesterol is a serious health condition that affects approximately 71 million adults in the U.S. (1 out 3). But an ancient Chinese herb is turning heads in the medical community due to its surprisingly powerful effects on cholesterol levels.
Good vs Bad Cholesterol: What’s The Difference?
Before we reveal this powerful herb, let’s first discuss the different types of cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol: HDL (the good variety), and LDL (the bad variety). LDL cholesterol is categorized as the “bad” variety because it promotes buildups of plaque in the arteries. When an individual suffers from high LDL cholesterol, his or her arteries will become stiff and narrow, condition known as atherosclerosis. Subsequently, this places the individual at risk for potentially fatal cardiovascular conditions like heart attack and stroke.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, has the opposite the effect by flushing away hard plaque buildups in the arteries. Scientists believe HDL actively seeks and targets LDL, transporting it from the arteries to the liver, where it’s then broken down and passed through through the body.
The Cholesterol-Fighting Power of Shan Zha
Shan Zha (Crataegus cuneata) is a species of the fruit-bearing plant hawthorn. Native to China, this plant has been used to treat a variety of health conditions for centuries, some of which include high blood pressure (hypertension), upset stomach, angina, abdominal paints, hernias, and high cholesterol.
How does this otherwise simple Chinese herb fight LDL cholesterol? It contains several all-natural compounds that aid in the digestion of fatty, greasy foods that are high in LDL cholesterol. Acting as a broom, it sweeps LDL from the arteries so blood can flow more easily. Shan Zha also has a diuretic effect, promoting the production of urine to “flush” cholesterol from the body.
Shan Zha is frequently ground into a fine consistency to use in supplements, teas and other brewed beverages. 10-15 grams is an average dose for adults; however, adults should not consume more than 25 grams per dose.
As with any new supplement regimen, talk with your general practitioner before taking Shan Zha. While this herb is proven to reduce levels of bad cholesterol, it may have adverse side effects when consumed by individuals suffering from stomach ulcers. Shan Zha increases acid secretion in the stomach, which can intensify the effects of ulcers.
This is just one of many natural supplements/strategies that can be helpful in addressing high cholesterol. For an individualized assessment and health plan please contact our office.