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Can Heart Disease Be Prevented and Reversed?

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Traditional Therapies Can Prevent Heart Disease!

In the ancient era, people used herbs or plants to cure those who were sick, although they could not possibly identify the sickness they encountered at that time. With the advancement of technology, doctors can nowadays accurately differentiate one sickness from the other and people take drugs to cure these diseases. Nevertheless, it seems that these so called medicines (mainly from the West) could not either treat the diseases effectively or have side effects. As such, more and more people seek other forms of therapies or treatments to complement or as alternatives to Western medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicines, existed for at least 5000 years, is one of these alternatives that enjoys a resurgence. The interest is also fuelled by scientific studies of the efficacy of certain herbs and treatments. Some of these studies (promising cures) were presented at the first International Congress of Complementary and Alternative Medicines held in Singapore in 2005. Green tea and red yeast rice are two of the good examples that have proven scientifically effective in tackling or preventing heart disease.

Green tea is rich in catechin polyphenols that can block the action of free radicals that are famous in damaging cells. Green tea extract contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant that has been found to be effective in lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels; and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots, the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

A current study in Guangxi, China, is evaluating the effects of green tea polyphenols on aflatoxins (airborne moulds that grow in oily mediums and can cause liver damage) and oxidative stress biomarkers. Oxidative stress and inflammation have been found to be possible causes of many heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders. A fall in the levels of these biomarkers has been observed in smokers who drink green tea.

Red yeast rice is made by fermenting rice with a specific strain of yeast called monascus purpureus. In 1979, Japanese scientists discovered that it produced active substances called monacolins, which inhibit cholesterol. As a result of this finding, there was a surge in demand at that time. Red yeast rice is now used to formulate a Chinese proprietary medicine called xuezhikang to treat high cholesterol.

Researchers in China conducted clinical trials of xuezhikang on 4700 patients from 65 hospitals throughout the country. The patients, between 18 and 75 years old, all had some form of coronary heart disease. The study had found that xuezhikang had positive effects such as lowering of bad cholesterol and the raising of the good ones in the prevention and treatment of heart diseases. It is also believed that in the long term, it is safer to use because it does not have the same side effects as the statins drugs such as nausea and constipation, hence making it a better choice in the treatment of high cholesterol.



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