Today, high cholesterol level or hypercholesterolemia has become a major problem due to the prevalence of unhealthy lifestyle choices, which include poor diet and lack of physical activity. Fortunately, there are ways to manage cholesterol levels and consequently reduce the risk of heart problems. Most medical professionals recommend taking cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins. However, there are better options than this that aren't associated with side effects like muscle pain, liver damage, increased blood sugar levels, and memory loss. Researchers from King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia found that ginger and rosemary oil have potential use as natural remedies for hypercholesterolemia.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale), which belongs to the tropical and subtropical family Zingiberaceae, is commonly used as a food additive and a traditional remedy for various diseases. These include arthritis, inflammatory disorders, nausea, bacterial infections, cancer, and hyperlipidemia. Previous studies have shown that these therapeutic applications are possible due to the bioactive compounds present in ginger, which include terpenes, gingerol, shagaols, zingerone, and paradol.
The commonly used flavoring agent rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) also has its own share of benefits. This herb exhibits potent antioxidant and antiviral properties. Furthermore, rosemary works against inflammatory disorders as well as liver and kidney toxicity. (Related: One of the most esteemed herbs in the culinary world, rosemary is also a powerhouse in traditional medicine.)
In this study, which was published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, the researchers evaluated the effects of using ginger and rosemary oil, either separately or together, on the cholesterol levels of female albino rats given a high-fat diet. They also considered other parameters such as glucose, triglyceride, and alkaline phosphatase levels in determining the hypocholesterolemic properties of the two oils.
Results showed that without treatment, rats that were given a high-fat diet exhibited elevated total-cholesterol, glucose, triglyceride, and alkaline phosphatase levels, as well as a decrease in the amount of good cholesterol present. Oral administration of ginger and rosemary oil modulated the changes observed in these parameters, proving that they can be used as natural remedies for hypercholesterolemia.
When talking about the harmful effects of high cholesterol levels, most people focus on its effects on heart health. However, excess cholesterol also inflicts damage on other organ systems, including the endocrine, nervous, and digestive systems. Some examples of how high cholesterol affects these systems include the following:
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