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Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla
Raksha Ayurvedalaya: The Family Wellness Center

Caronary Artery Disease and Ayurvedic Treatment

Blood cholesterol plays an important part in deciding a person’s chance or risk of getting coronary heart disease (CHD). The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater is your risk. Even if your blood cholesterol level is close to the desirable range, you can lower it and can reduce your risk of getting heart disease.

When you have too much cholesterol in your blood, the excess builds up on the walls of the arteries that carry blood to the heart. This hardening of arteries is called “atherosclerosis.” It narrows the arteries and can slow down or block blood flow to the heart. With less blood, the heart gets less oxygen. With not enough oxygen to the heart, there may be chest pain (angina pectoris), heart attack (myocardial infarction), or even death. Cholesterol build up is the most common cause of heart disease, and it happens so slowly that you are not even aware of it.

A high blood cholesterol level is not the only thing that increases your chance of getting heart disease. There are certain other factors such as your age, sex, family history of early heart disease and your personality can play the role. Other factors include cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, elevated serum cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and stress. The more risk factors you have, the greater is your chance of heart disease.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all parts of our body. It helps make cell membranes, some hormones, and vitamin D. Cholesterol comes from two sources—our body and the foods we eat. Blood cholesterol is made in our liver. Dietary cholesterol comes from animal foods like meats, whole milk, dairy foods, egg yolks, poultry and fish. Foods from plants like vegetables, fruits, grams, and cereals do not have any dietary cholesterol.

Just like oil and water, cholesterol and blood do not mix. So, for cholesterol to travel through our blood, it is coated with a layer of protein to make a “lipoprotein.” Two lipoproteins, you may have heard about, are low density lipoprotein, (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). When there is too much LDL-cholesterol in the blood, it can lead to cholesterol build up in the arteries. That is why LDL cholesterol is called the “bad cholesterol”. HDL-cholesterol, on the other hand, helps remove cholesterol from the blood and helps prevent the fatty build up. Therefore, HDL-cholesterol is called the “good cholesterol”.

Triglycerides are the form in which fat is carried through your blood to the tissues. The bulk of your body’s fat tissue is in the form of triglycerides. It is not clear whether high triglycerides alone increase your risk of heart disease. However, many people with high triglycerides also have high LDL or low HDL levels, which do increase the risk of heart disease.

Self-Help Guidelines

Whatever your blood cholesterol level, you can make changes to help lower it or keep it low and reduce your risk for heart disease by eating in a heart-healthy way, being physically active, losing weight if you are overweight and taking herbal supplements.

  • Eating animal foods containing saturated fat is linked to high serum cholesterol and heart disease. Significant amounts of animal-based saturated fat are found in beef, pork, poultry (particularly in poultry skins and dark meat), cheese, butter, ice cream, and all other forms of dairy products. Avoiding consumption of these foods reduces cholesterol and has been reported to even cure existing heart disease.
  • In addition to large amounts of saturated fat from animal-based foods, some people eat saturated fat from coconut and palm oils. Palm oil has been reported to elevate cholesterol. Research regarding coconut oil is mixed with some trials finding no link to heart disease while other research reports that coconut oil elevates serum cholesterol.
  • Curd and other fermented milk products have been reported to lower cholesterol in some. Until more is known, it makes sense for people with elevated cholesterol who consume these foods to select non-fat varieties.
  • Eating fish has been reported to increase HDL cholesterol and is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease in most of the studies.
  • Vegetarians have lower cholesterol and less heart disease than meat eaters, in part because they avoid animal fat. Vegans (people who eat no meat, dairy and eggs) have the lowest cholesterol levels, and going on such a diet has reversed heart disease.
  • Soluble fibre from beans, oats, and fruit pectin has lowered cholesterol levels in most trials. People with elevated cholesterol can eat more of these high soluble fibre foods. However, even grain fiber (which contains insoluble fibre and does not lower cholesterol) has been linked to protection against heart disease, though the reason for the protection remains unclear. It makes sense for people wishing to lower cholesterol levels and reduce their risk of heart disease to consume more of all types of fibre.
  • Eating sugar has been reported to reduce protective HDL cholesterol and increase other risk factors linked to heart disease.
  • Drinking coffee increases cholesterol levels. The effects of decaffeinated coffee on cholesterol levels remain in doubt.
  • Alcohol, on moderate drinking, increases protective HDL cholesterol. Alcohol also acts as a blood thinner, an effect that might lower heart disease. However, alcohol consumption can cause liver disease, cancer, high blood pressure, alcoholism, and, at high intake, an increased risk of heart disease. As a result, many doctors of ayurvedic medicine never recommend alcohol, even for people with high cholesterol.
  • Trans fatty acids (TFAs) are found in many processed foods containing hydrogenated oils such as dalda. Eating TFAs increases the ratio of LDL-to-HDL. Hence, hydrogenated oils should be sparingly used.
  • It has been found that eating garlic helps lower cholesterol in some researches. Garlic is known to act as a blood thinner and may reduce other risk factors for heart disease. For these reasons, doctors of ayurvedic medicine typically recommend eating garlic as food, in curries.
  • People with elevated cholesterol levels should avoid very large meals and eat more frequent but smaller meals. When people eat smaller meals, serum cholesterol levels fall more compared with the effect of eating the same food in three big meals.
  • In a nutshell, eat wheat, rice, raagi, maize, jowar, whole and sprouted pulses, green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, low fat milk, buttermilk, skimmed milk, egg white, fish, mixed vegetable oils, sugar in moderation, fresh fruit juices without sugar, light tea and food in natural state. Avoid cakes, pastries, butter naan, noodles, fried vegetables, banana chips, canned vegetables, dried fruits, canned fruits in syrup, cheese, butter, khoa, condensed milk, milk cream, egg yolk, prawns, all types of meat, especially with skin, oil dishes, butter, coconut oil, vanaspati, deep fried foods, sweets like chocolates, ice-creams, alcohol, pickles, papads, sauces, salt biscuits, and fried crispies.
  • Exercise increases protective HDL cholesterol, an effect that occurs even from walking. Exercises have a relatively low risk of heart disease. However, overdoing it can actually trigger heart attacks.
  • Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, in part because weight gain lowers HDL cholesterol. Weight loss increases HDL and reduces triglycerides, another risk factor for heart disease.
  • Smoking is linked to a lowered level of HDL cholesterol and is also known to cause heart disease. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of having a heart attack.
  • The people with feelings of hostility, stress and time urgency are at high risk for heart disease.

Ayurvedic remedies

  • Garlic: Reports on all garlic studies, performed until quite recently, found cholesterol was lowered by an average of 9-12% over a one-to-four months period. Most of these trials used 600-900 mg per day of garlic supplements. Part of the confusion may result from differing effects from dissimilar garlic products. In most but not all studies, aged garlic extracts and garlic oil (both containing no allicin) have not lowered cholesterol levels in humans. Therefore, both of these supplements cannot be recommended at this time for cholesterol lowering. Persons wishing to consume garlic and with no aversion to the odour can chew one whole clove of raw garlic daily. Odour-controlled, enteric-coated tablets standardized for allicin content are also available and in some trials, appear more promising. Doctors, knowledgeable in the use of herbal medicine, typically recommend 900 mg per day (providing 5,000 mcg of allicin), divided into two or three doses. For health maintenance, half of the therapeutic regimen may be adequate.
  • Guggul: This is a mixture of substances taken from the plant Commiphora mukul, is an approved treatment for elevated cholesterol in our country and has been a mainstay of the Ayurvedic approach in preventing atherosclerosis apart from inflammatory disorders. One trial studying the effects of guggul reported that serum cholesterol dropped by 17.5%. In another report comparing guggul to the drug clofibrate, average fallin serum cholesterol was slightly greater in the guggul group. Moreover, HDL cholesterol rose in 60% of people responding to guggul, while clofibrate did not elevate HDL. Daily intake of guggul is based on the amount of guggulsterones in the extract. The recommended amount of guggulsterones is 25 mg taken three times per day. Most extracts contain 5-10% guggulsterones, and doctors familiar with its use usually recommend taking guggul for at least twelve weeks before evaluating its effect.
  • Onion: One trial studying the effects of onion reported that continuous consumption of onion for five months (80 grams daily) decreased serum cholesterol below normal in healthy humans. In another study, Dr. Radhakrishnan, principal of Trivandrum Medical College and Dr Madhavan Kutty have established in 1988 after seven years of research that to get rid of the disorders due to coronary disease or blood pressure, 100 grams of onion should be taken per day. This will assist the functioning of the heart by correcting thrombosis besides reducing cholesterol. While using onion, do not discard the outer skin as the fibres from onionskin are proved to possess potent fat lowering properties.
  • Turmeric: Its derivative, known as curcumin, besides lowering serum cholesterol and blood sugar level, also acts as anti-oxidant to scavenge serum peroxides to prevent atherosclerotic changes. Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine (TAM) recommends an internal dosage of 10-20 ml infusion and/or 1-3 grams powder. A heaped teaspoonful of powdered turmeric can be mixed with water to slurry and drunk 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Musta (Cyperus rotundus): This is the root of a grass variety. A trial, conducted by Bambhole and Jiddewar, studying the effects of this root in obese patients reported that oral administration of the root powder produced significant reduction in body weight and lowered abnormal blood pressure. The powder of musta tubers was prepared and filled in capsules, 500 mg in each. Two capsules, two times in a day with water were prescribed to the obese patients for two months. All of them lost weight gradually during the trial period. This study confirms the ethnic medical claim about the beneficial effect of musta in reducing fat. The probable mechanism may be by either suppressing an appetite centre in the brain or affecting the carbohydrate metabolism.

There are certain other ayurvedic botanical cures for cholesterol lowering effect. Among them, Saussurea leppa, Trichosanthes dioica etc. are a few to mention.


As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.


Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla, M.D. (Ayurveda)
Plot No. 13, H.No: 16-2-67/13,
Ramamurthy Nagar (CBCID Colony),
Landmark: Kukatpally Area, Metro Train Pillar No. MYP 29.
PIN - 500 085. Telangana State


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