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Chinese Herbs for High Cholesterol: a Case Study

Chinese herbal medicine can provide an excellent, side effect-free alternative to drugs for many conditions, including high cholesterol. 

- by Ki Ennes

These days it seems that everywhere we hear about the dangers of high cholesterol. Magazines, TV, newspapers, and the internet are full of stories or products to help lower our cholesterol. What causes high cholesterol? Lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, stress, genetics, and a diet high in saturated fats can contribute to high cholesterol. 

Research indicates there is a link between high cholesterol and increased risk of atherosclerosis (the narrowing of arteries), coronary heart disease and heart attack.

Many doctors treat high cholesterol with drugs called statins. Not surprising, the 2nd most commonly prescribed drug in the United States is Simvistatin (Zocor). According to the IMS Health report there were 96.8 million prescriptions dispensed in 2011.

The problem with statins is that, like most drugs, they also have side effects. A study at the University of California San Diego showed that some of the side effects include muscle aches, an increased risk of diabetes, and memory loss. 

Fortunately there is a natural alternative. Chinese herbs can help lower cholesterol without unwanted side effects.

Case Study:

A 70 year old woman came to me to see if she could lower her cholesterol. She didn’t want to take drugs and her doctor agreed to first give her a chance to lower her levels naturally. I made her a Chinese herbal formula that she took for 3 months. The chart below shows this patient’s results. 


                                  Optimal Levels        Before Herbs      After 3 months of herbal formula

Total Cholesterol              <200                        248                                   198

HDL (good cholesterol)    >55                          60                                     56

LDL (bad cholesterol)       <110                        131                                   116

Triglycerides                     <150                         175                                   130


That’s a total cholesterol drop of 50 points! Her triglycerides went from borderline high to desirable. Her LDL (bad cholesterol) went from borderline high to near ideal.  What’s remarkable about this case is that the patient is considerably overweight, gets very little exercise, and does not consistently eat a healthy diet. It’s important to eat a diet low in saturated fats, exercise regularly and lose weight if you need to. If she had made healthy lifestyle changes, her results might have been even better.

Not everyone should take a cholesterol lowering Chinese herbal formula. Using Chinese herbs safely requires a licensed practitioner. Because there are many causes of high cholesterol, herbs alone might not work for everyone. Healthy lifestyle changes and the right combination of herbs can help lower cholesterol for many people without the unwanted side effects of prescription drugs. Consult one of our Oriental Medicine practitioners to see if you can benefit from Chinese herbs. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.


1 “The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2011” IMS institute for Healthcare Informatics


2 Kotz, Deborah The Boston Globe  March 9th, 2012

3 Mayo Clinic Health Information

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