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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a medical condition in which the amount of cholesterol in one’s bloodstream exceeds a normal or recommended level. Cholesterol is a complex organic compound that occurs naturally in the body and is used to produce bile acids, vitamin D, and a number of hormones needed by the body to function normally. When excessive amounts of cholesterol are present in the body, they may deposit on the inside lining of arteries, leading to a number of coronary heart disorders. While high cholesterol can be treated by a variety of western medical approaches, such as statin drugs, there are often unwanted side effects and unclear benefits. Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a safe, natural alternative form of care than can be used in conjunction with regular checkups to manage your cholesterol levels.

How Is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Used in Treating High Cholesterol?

TCM practitioners recognize four primary conditions that are connected to high cholesterol. Each diagnosis is determined from an individual analysis of your pulse, tongue, symptoms, and lifestyle. These diagnoses include Damp-Phlegm in the Lung or Spleen, Blood Stasis, Spleen-Stomach Deficiency, and Liver-Kidney Deficiency. Acupuncture and herbal treatment will be based upon the correction of your imbalance with additional points and herbs for the specific symptom of high cholesterol.

Acupuncture for High Cholesterol
Acupuncture treatment for high cholesterol focuses primarily on balancing the body. For conditions of Damp-Phlegm, the acupuncture points of Stomach 40 and Spleen 9 are used to assist the body in transforming the pathogen. In order to break Blood Stasis and correct the flow of blood, acupuncture points Spleen 10, Large Intestine 4, and Liver 3 may be used. Conditions of Spleen-Stomach Deficiency can be supplemented by needling Stomach 36 and Spleen 6. Liver-Kidney Deficiency can be supported by treatment of Liver 3, Kidney 3, Bladder 23, and Bladder 18.

Chinese Herbal Medicine for High Cholesterol
Generally, herbal medicine is the primary method of treatment for cases of high cholesterol. Herbal medicine can more directly affect the primary mechanism of cholesterol absorption and production within the body.

A number of herbs and formulas are recommended for the treatment, including:

  • Crataegus pinnatifida (Shan zha; Chinese hawthorne)
  • Monascus purpureus (red yeast rice)
  • Guggul (or gugul; obtained from the mukul myrrh (Commiphora mukul) tree
  • Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Jiaogulan)
  • Senna obtusifolia (Ju Ming Zi; sicklepod seed)
  • Jiang Zi Yi Gan Tang (a combination of the herbs Zhu Xie, Sang Si Wi, Ju Ming Zi, Dan Shen, Huang Jin, Seng Shen Zha,Hu Zheng, and He Ye.)
A popular herbal tea, called Bojenmi, is also used for the treatment of digestive problems, including weight loss and high cholesterol. The product is available at many oriental grocery stores and herbal shops.
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