Several good-for-you herbs have been found to be valuable in helping treat certain life-threatening -- or life-altering -- conditions. Specifically, there are herbs for cardiovascular concerns, such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, and herbs for more singularly male problems, especially benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and erectile difficulties that can result in impotence.
Here's the scoop on what's out there -- and what really works.
3 Herbs That Help Your Heart
Heart disease has often been portrayed as a disease for men only, but today we know differently: Studies show that, overall, it's the number one killer of both men and women in the US. But unlike premenopausal women, men lack heart-protective levels of estrogen. (Note: When women reach menopause -- around age 52 -- they stop producing estrogen and their risk of heart disease soars to eventually equal that of men.) Here are three herbs that can give men -- and women -- a weapon against heart disease.
Garlic has long been used to lower both blood pressure and blood lipids. Studies have shown that people who take garlic can reduce their systolic blood pressure by about 7%. Most of the clinical studies on garlic powder tablets, standardized to yield about 5 mg of allicin on a daily basis, show that you can reduce levels of serum cholesterol by about 11% and triglycerides by about 12%. These reductions are positive steps toward helping to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
But not all recent trials have yielded such favorable results, and these have raised questions regarding the herb's effectiveness.
Here's the good news. In spite of some conflicting findings, you can still have confidence in garlic's value, because recent clinical studies indicate that garlic helps to maintain the elasticity of the aorta in older men and women. Maintaining the flexibility of this largest artery is essential to healthy functioning of the entire circulatory system. In the long run, this activity alone may prove more essential to cardiovascular health than the actual cholesterol-lowering properties of garlic.