#3 Naturally proven Solutions to fight cholesterol build-up.

Heart disease is one of the most common conditions in the world, in most Western countries it is the leading cause of death among both genders according to the World Health Organisation. It is silent, insidious and can be asymptomatic for decades before it is diagnosed. It is now understood that diet is the leading component in the development of this condition, opposing this belief is now considered foolish. Until recently, it was also a commonly held belief that atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in the arteries) was a non-reversible condition and that medications such as statin’s, warfarin and aspirin where the only way to manage or treat this condition. The causative factors in this condition, although understood, are not always acknowledged. We understand how plaque builds up in the arteries, but not always why it is happening. Fortunately, critical thinkers within the Naturopathic industry are coming forward with a differing view of the causative factors underlying atherosclerosis.

What really causes plaque build-up?

In order to understand these three solutions, you must first understand the underlying cause of cholesterol plaquing. It is generally understood that cholesterol plaquing begins due to injury to the blood vessel wall. Until quite recently it was believed that cholesterol plaquing occurred on the wall within the blood vessel, further studies now show that cholesterol plaquing in fact occurs in the wall of the blood vessel. This suggests that the injury is occurring outside of the vessel and not from within. The question that needs to be asked at this point is, what would cause this?

The connection no-one is talking about.

There is a fluid that surrounds every cell, tissue and organ of the human body. It consists of 75% of the fluid within the human body and in some circles is considered the major fluid within the human body. This fluid has many names, it is known as the extra cellular fluid, the interstitial fluid and the lymphatic fluid. Every cell in your body dumps its metabolites, such carbon dioxide, sulphates, nitrates, lactic acids, uric acid and other by-products of cellular respiration and fermentation into this fluid. This fluid is then siphoned by the lymphatic vessels away from the organs, tissues and cells into the lymphatic system, where it passes through lymph nodes and eventually makes its way to the kidneys. This fluid by its very nature is prone to coagulation and agglomeration (clots and masses) which can cause blockages and prevent the movement of metabolites and toxins away from cells and tissue.

The health of your lymphatic system is directly related to your kidney health, should your kidney functions suffer in any way, your lymphatic system will very quickly acidify. Symptoms such as hypertension and high cholesterol are warning signs that your lymphatic system is acidifying, and the body has already begun safeguarding itself against organ damage. Other early warning signs include skin conditions (acne, psoriasis and dermatitis), weight gain, oedema, dandruff, aching joints and aching muscles.

There is one thing that practitioners from all modalities agree on: diet and lifestyle are the major contributing factors to heart disease and by association: atherosclerosis. It is also understood that the kidneys play a main role in maintaining the health of the entire body, this is because they primarily excrete acids. As mentioned earlier, the kidneys are critical in maintaining lymphatic health. Should kidney health decline or should the kidneys become injured, the lymphatic system very quickly acidifies. Once this occurs the body begins plaquing cholesterol over all major organs, this is used as a physical barrier to prevent the acids from damaging critical and vital human infrastructure.

Solution 1: Foods that clog arteries.

For anyone who wants to reverse arterial plaquing this is your foundational method. Without doing this, everything else below becomes redundant. Reversing any condition comes down to changing dietary and lifestyle habits, which consists of removing certain foods from the diet and eliminating life style habits such as smoking and excessive drinking, which cause excessive acidification of the body. In order to achieve this, you will have to remove red meat, dairy and manufactured foods such as potato chips, chocolate, soft drinks, pasta, noodles, fried food and fast food from the diet. In recent years, the world health organisation has classified all red meat as a human carcinogen. This includes bacon, steak, lamb, venison, veal, pork and the associated deli or cold meats. Removing these foods alone from your diet will create vast improvement in your own health, studies have shown that removing these foods from your diet greatly reduce your risk factors for heart attack and stroke, which are the events associated with blocked arteries.

Eliminating these foods from your diet will also improve your gut health immeasurably and reduce the acidification of your lymphatic system. A 2018 study1 demonstrated the association between high-protein meat intake and conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, the authors describe protein fermentation as the slow breaking down of meat in the large intestine which is the primary site of diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and colorectal cancer2. When this protein fermentation occurs, damaging acids such as hydrogen sulphide, nitric oxide heterocyclic amines, ammonia and phenol like compounds are released. These acids destroy the bowel wall causing ulceration and leaky gut, these substances are then absorbed into the surrounding tissue which add to the acidification of the lymphatic system. The increased acidity of this fluid damages the arteries causing the body to plaque cholesterol in their walls. If you do not eliminate these foods from your diet it will perpetuate this cycle of damage and exacerbate the clogging action of atherosclerosis.

When it comes to cholesterol plaquing one most detrimental components of meat is the abundance of iron in this food, contrary to popular belief this source of iron is not as beneficial as what you are led to believe. A 2014 study3 states that haeme iron found in meat may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. This occurs due to the production of free radicals and the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Another 2014 study suggests that iron found in meat causes oxidative damage and up-regulation of inflammatory factors within the body, thus increasing the risks associated with cholesterol plaquing.

This effectively leaves you with the options of a vegetarian or vegan style plant-based diet. Books that you could read to help with this transition include the China study by T Colin Campbell, Forks over Knives plan by Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman or A Plant-Based Life by Micaela Cook Karlson. The truth is, this transition doesn’t need to be complicated. The simplest ways to succeed with this diet is to avoid gourmet style vegan food and stick to simple raw salad type meals. Remember to eat plenty of seasonal fruit, this is your best source of antioxidants vitamins and minerals. Fruit is like medicine to the human body. Once you initiate this first solution you may find many of your symptoms disappearing, conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and common skin conditions simply fade. It can take up to 30 days before the effects of this diet are noticeable, so be consistent and be disciplined.

Solution 2: detoxification & Fasting – Remove plaque from arteries fast!

Once you’ve transitioned from a standard Western diet into a plant-based diet it’s now time to allow the body to do some serious healing. A plant-based diet will provide you with a minimum level of detox, in order to truly reverse this condition, the body needs to be allowed to initiate higher levels of detoxification. Increasing the body’s detox level is done entirely through food, or lack thereof. This is commonly referred to as fasting and comes in several different forms. The highest level of detoxification is dry fasting which is effectively “nil by mouth”, other gentler forms of fasting can use fruit and vegetable juicing, fruit feasting, mono fruit feasting and the most well-known form of fasting, water fasting.

Fruit feasting is an entry-level method of detoxification, fruit is a non-acidifying food that will not degrade the gut or acidify the lymphatic system. Most fruit also contains tannins which help to cleanse the kidneys, thereby assisting in increasing kidney filtration and acid excretion. As most fruits are monosaccharides (simple sugars), they digest very quickly which allows the body to focus on detoxing rather than digesting. As your acid loads begin to diminish, your body will no longer need to plaque cholesterol throughout your vital organs including your arteries. Eventually symptoms such as blood pressure and high cholesterol will begin to disappear this is due to the fact that your body is slowly removing much of old plaque from your arteries.

Fasting in any form produces a natural mechanism called autophagy4. Within hours of beginning your fast your body will begin to deconstruct or breakdown old and redundant components of organs, tissues and cells. This natural form of housekeeping removes dysfunctional, mutated and degenerative tissue within the body in preparation for regeneration. It is important to note that the regulation of autophagy is only induced in response to food deprivation. Once autophagy has been completed, the body will begin to produce pluripotent stem cells5. These stem cells are capable of replacing any cell within tissue or organ of the human body, effectively renewing and rebuilding the body. Although the discovery of pluripotent cells stems back to 1961, fasting is still viewed as a very extreme mode of healing. Regardless, many practitioners are now moving towards this modality as a way of healing the human body. It is again important to note that, pluripotent stem cells will only be produced in response to food deprivation.

If you are considering any form of fasting, it is it is advised that you utilise an experienced practitioner who can guide you through your first fasting experience. Regardless of if you decide to do a water fast or a gentler form of fasting such as fruit fasting, having an experienced guide will help you to maintain your focus, achieve your detox goal and keep you accountable. An experienced practitioner will be particularly comforting when you begin experiencing your first healing crisis.

 

Solution 3: Reverse Arterial plaquing Naturally.

Herbal medicine is one of the gentlest, safest and powerful ways of supporting the body’s natural healing ability. Herbs and their uses are based primarily on body systems, for example there are herbs for the kidneys, herbs for the heart, herbs for the lungs and herbs for the lymphatic system. With thousands of years of practitioner use and very rare adverse events, this mode of healing has had a long history of success within the human race. As the plants that are used in herbal medicine are all natural, non-GMO and mostly organic, the human body immediately recognises and utilises the medicine in a synergistic manner that we do not get when we take pharmaceuticals. Herbal medicine by its very nature is designed to support and enhance bodily function and unlike pharmaceutical drugs will not suppress and replace these roles. Although some protocols and therapies can be long-term, the aim of herbal medicine is to eliminate any need for medication. Including herbal medicine.

Reversing and eliminating cholesterol plaquing with herbs requires you to look at this condition from a body system perspective

Ask yourself, which body systems are involved in this condition?

The most obvious body system involved here, is the circulatory system. We also discussed in this post the role of the kidneys, the lymphatic system and the gastrointestinal involvement.

Since the kidneys play a huge role in this condition it is important to include the adrenal glands, the pituitary and the hypothalamus (often referred to as the HPA axis). Hypertension in adults is very often attributed to the adrenal glands and elevated stress hormones in conjunction with narrowing arteries. Below is a breakdown of the different herbs that are used in reducing and reversing cholesterol plaquing. The listed of plants below are just a few of the many herbs available to the practitioner and client, there are many more that what is in this short list.

Kidney/Adrenal herbs6

Dandelion weed is a well-known diuretic, in the case of clogged arteries it will assist in reducing blood pressure by reducing the plasma volume. Dandelion leaf, specifically, will assist in removing systemic oedema (water retention). This will also assist in other cardiovascular conditions where oedema is a symptom. By its diuretic nature, Dandelion leaf will assist in increasing urine output which will assist in reducing the acid load of the body. It is important to note that Dandelion is loaded with Potassium, so it will not be necessary to supplement as is needed with pharmaceutical diuretics.

Corn Silk is a mild diuretic which will also assist in reducing water retention, it also has an effect on kidney filtration by directly affecting renal inflammation and kidney stones. This will improve glomerular filtration rate and assist in increasing kidney output, in turn address the underlying cause of clogged arteries by increasing acid excretion and reducing the systemic inflammation associated with this condition.

Celery Seed is an alkalising herb well known for is anti-inflammatory properties, it is especially important in this condition as it assists in moving cellular metabolites throughout the body towards the kidneys for filtering. As it is also a diuretic, it has the dual effect of reducing coagulation and creating flow in the lymphatic system, as well as increasing kidney output.

Rehmannia is yet another anti-inflammatory within the botanical kingdom, although in this condition it is used fundamentally for its adrenal tonic action. The adrenal glands are extremely important when it comes to kidney function, the adrenal glands hormonally control the osmotic gradient in the kidneys which is important in balancing everything from mineral, vitamin and acid levels within the body. Rehmannia is also important for supporting adrenal function in people experiencing low-grade chronic stress where the adrenals become depleted over time, particularly in today’s cortisol culture.

Chaste tree is considered a female reproductive herb but is in fact a pituitary/hypothalamus herb. This herb should be considered in all endocrine conditions including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, infertility in both men and women, chronic fatigue and adrenal insufficiency.

lymphatic herbs6

Chaparral is an herb that will assist in breaking up agglomeration and coagulation moving the lymphatic system towards the kidneys. It is also powerful antioxidant which will help to quench systemic free radicals which will assists in alleviating oxidative damage to the arterial wall and propagating the clogging effects of cholesterol.

Burdock is similar in that it has an anti-agglomeration and coagulation effect on the lymphatic system. It also assists in creating flow of blood and lymph to the kidneys by eliminating blockages and masses from the lymphatic vessels. This allows accumulating cellular metabolites and acids to be siphoned away from the tissues and organs.

Echinacea is considered a super herb as it has so many varied effects on the human body. Not only is it an immune modulating and boosting plant, it is also a potent lymphatic herb similar to the previous two examples. This herb is also a potent anti-inflammatory and is known to drain and soften swollen lymph nodes, at therapeutic strength this herb is one of the most valuable assets in your herbal toolbox. In this condition it will assist in creating flow within the lymphatic system allowing acids and toxins to be moved away from the tissues and to the kidneys.

Poke root is an interesting herb as exceeding recommended doses can cause nausea and vomiting, this is because it has such a strong drawing effect on the gut associated lymphatic tissue and gut health is central to reducing clogged arteries. Mostly, this herb is known and utilised for its ability to reduce enlarged lymph nodes and heal many other lymphatic conditions such as abscesses, cysts, mastitis, mammary abscesses and chronic skin disorders.

Clivers is well known for its ability to create lymphatic flow move toxins and acids away from the tissue, but it is not well-known for its anti-neoplasic actions. Clivers’ ability to heal abnormal growths within the gut and other tissues of the body make it in an important addition to any protocol. Conditions that Clivers may help with include polyps (gastrointestinal and sinuses), chronic skin disorders and enlarged lymph nodes.

Circulatory herbs6

Ginkgo has shown to have a preventative and protective effect on the brain and heart from oxygen deprivation damage (ischaemia)7. This herb is also shown to reduce the severity of plaque formation and improve blood flow to both the heart and the brain. Gingko is one of the most clinically researched herbs for its ability to assist in both cardiovascular and cerebral vascular diseases.

Gastrointestinal herbs6

Plantain is a North American herb that was used to draw poison from insect, snake and spider bites. In this condition it is used to draw inflammation, toxaemia and carcinogens through the bowel wall into the bowel lumen so it can be excreted. This herb is especially useful in conjunction with Cleavers in therapies such as enemas and colonics, using it in this way allows these herbs to act directly on the bowel wall and may have a potent effect on clearing mucoid plaque from the bowel wall. Drawing the inflammation, toxaemia and carcinogens will reduce the acid load within the lymphatic system, this in turn will reduce the assault on the circulatory system, reducing the damage and thereby halting any further clogging of the arteries.

Pau D’arco is an antiparasitic, antibacterial and antifungal herb 7. The toxic by-products of parasitic activity within the body are extremely detrimental to human health. Most parasites are found within the human digestive tract, where their excretion is constantly absorbed into the human body through the bowel wall. Read in the body of these parasites extremely important in reversing this condition, it takes approximately three months on a parasitic herbal blend to completely rid the host of the organism.

Slippery Elm is a mucilage’s herb that assists in bowel health by scavenging toxaemia throughout the bowel and from off the bowel wall. It is best taken orally in powder form or in capsules. It works by drawing fluid through the bowel wall which in turn softens the still making it is here to pass. By its very action it helps to draw toxic sediment and mucoid plaque into the bowel, the herb eventually becomes a gelatinous mass of accumulated toxaemia which is harmlessly passed out of the digestive tractl in a bowel motion. Slippery Elm also assists in reseating good bacteria into the gut environment. This herb should be taken several hours apart from any form of medication, both herbal and pharmaceutical, as it absorbs it in the bowel and reduces its effectiveness.

Oregano is an antifungal antibacterial and antioxidant. This herb assists in modifying bowel flora6,, decreasing gastrointestinal candida and fungal overgrowth. It is best taken in an enteric-coated capsule so it can bypass the stomach and work directly in the small and large intestines.

 

Hypocholesterolaemia (Cholesterol lowering herbs).

Green Tea assists in reducing high cholesterol levels it does this through a series antioxidant and anticarcinogenic activities. As high cholesterol levels are an essential part of clogged arteries, reducing these levels as an adjunct goal in this therapy is important. It is important to understand that, contrary to popular belief, this is not a primary goal when dealing with this condition. It is important to remember to focus on underlying and causative factors as opposed to simply treating symptoms.

Garlic is the central herb used as an adjunct therapy in this condition. This herb treats hypertension, elevated triglycerides, high cholesterol and has even shown to reduce the formation of atherosclerotic plaque (cholesterol plaquing). This herb should not be taken in conjunction with anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs and should be discontinued at least 10 days before any surgery.

Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is not so well-known for its antiplatelet antioxidant and hyperlipidaemic actions. Caution should be taken in people who are using antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs, especially when using therapeutic doses of this herb. Turmeric is valued in this condition as high cholesterol and high triglycerides are common factors and markers for clogging arteries, using this herb with promote vascular healing and reduce further formations in the arteries.

 

Where to find Herbs

Most of the herbs that you find in your pharmacies and grocery stores may not have these stated effects, in order to find therapeutic grade herbal medicine, you will need to find a qualified naturopathic or Western herbal practitioner. These qualified practitioners can be found via the Internet, local directories and association directories. It is important to understand that some of these medicines, at therapeutic levels, may interact with pharmaceutical drugs and may affect the efficacy of the drug. In some instances, the herbs may interact and have adverse effects.

 

References

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Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders, Leuven Food Science and Nutrition Research Centre, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22121108

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Directions. Department of Biophysics, Biochemistry and General Pathology, Second University of Naples, Via L. de Crecchio 7, 80131 Napoli, Italy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4699068/

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