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Continuing The Attack On Natural Health Care
Today, CNN and Time-Warner's Health.com published articles warning you to avoid 30 herbs if you are taking drugs like the allegedly cholesterol lowering statins and "blood-thinning" Coumadin (warfarin). 
As an inveterate and intrepid nurse practitioner (over 30 years), medical herbalist and otherwise expert and advocate in natural health (50+ years), I am staking my claim to equal time and offering a second opinion.
Statin drugs by and large are a class of very expensive drugs with a range of mixed results. The very serious effects of these drugs include liver failure, sudden cardiac death, increased risk of cancer, kidney failure, destruction of CO-Enzyme Q 10 and specific B vitamins needed by the heart, muscle pain and destruction, as well as being questionable over all because they appear not to serve the purpose described in the advertising according to many recent studies.
There are many natural approaches to lowering cholesterol including changes in diet and exercise, as well as making sure your thyroid is functioning properly.
One common supplement to help lower cholesterol is lecithin. Health.com' s expert Bill Benda MD says he has no knowledge of the benefit of lecithin yet suggests using red rice yeast. Red Rice Yeast is LOVASTATIN and has the same risk of rhabdomyolysis leading to kidney failure as do the Rx strength drugs.
Each tablespoon (7.5 grams) of lecithin granules contains about 1700 mg of phosphatidyl choline, 1000 mg of phosphatidyl inositol, and about 2,200 mg of essential fatty acids as linoleic acid. It also contains the valuable omega-3 linolenic acid. These constituents should be supllied daily.
Rinse, Jacobus (1975) Atherosclerosis: prevention and cure (parts 1 and 2). Prevention. November and December. Very important reading. Ask your librarian to get you these specific issues (or photocopies) through inter-library loan. 
Rinse, Jacobus (1978) Cholesterol and phospholipids in relation to atherosclerosis. American Laboratory Magazine, April.  
Glabridin shows a significant 10 percent drop in LDL cholesterol levels. These studies show a 20 percent reduction in oxidized LDL cholesterol and measures of oxidative stress, well-known risks for development of atherosclerosis. No change in these predictive markers, was seen in the placebo group.1
Glabridin is a powerful polyphenol flavonoid derived from Glycyrrhiza glabra L root (licorice). Animal studies have revealed that daily doses of glabridin can suppress abdominal fat accumulation and blood sugar elevation in diabetic mice, while human trials show that it can reduce weight gain and body fat-especially visceral or belly fat. And according to another recently published clinical trial, this botanical extract packs the same punch against LDL cholesterol, too.
1 Carmeli E, Fogelman Y. Antioxidant effect of polyphenolic glabridin on LDL oxidation. Toxicol Ind Health. 2009 May-Jun;25(4-5):321-4.
Herbs and foods included in the report that help thin the blood naturally include: Garlic, saw palmetto, ginkgo, green tea, alfalfa, ginger, bilberry, fenugreek, ginseng, Butcher's Broom and capsicum (cayenne).
The report did not explain that long term use of aspirin or warfarin increases the risk of silent bleeding, ulcers and the severe risk of destruction of the cell wall membrane and clotting disorders.
Statins, beta-blockers, and calcium-channel blockers can be effected by St. John's wort, Echinacea, grapefruit juice, and Black Cohosh. But remember that statins come with the risk of liver damage. Calcium channel blockers can cause sudden death at one point were almost taken off the market because of the risk. Beta blockers have come into question for safety and efficacy in recent years.
Hawthorn has been shown to strengthen the contractions of heart muscle, which may interact negatively with prescription heart-failure medications.Hawthorn has always been a first line of defense for heart health in herbal medicine. I have worked with many people who lived with heart health issues. I've always found Hawthorn to be a key factor in their improved quality of life.
Night blooming cereus and Lily of the Valley may also be an experienced herbalist' s choice for cardiovascular care.
Yohimbe can elevate blood pressure and at times and for some people this would be helpful, but in general it is not one I often suggest.
Aloe vera can effect potassium levels. Licorice can interfere with digoxin and it can raise blood pressure. Like aloe vera, it can also cause a dangerous drop in blood potassium levels.
Other herbs in the study mentioned in this report include Butcher's broom, angelica, capsicum (cayenne), fumitory, gossypol, Irish moss, kelp, khella, lily of the valley, ephedra, night-blooming cereus (cactus flower), oleander, and strophanthus can all interact negatively with heart medications.
Health care is your choice. Natural remedies like herbs and supplements can do an effective job helping you heal when you do not wish to choose or cannot tolerate prescription drugs.
Because doctor's work for you, the question must be asked: When will today's medicine and today's doctors meet you half way and support natural choice?
Always stay in communication with your health provider and contact an experienced herbalist or naturally oriented doctor for additional resources.
Copyright©2010 Gayle Eversole, DHom, PhD, MH, NP, ND. All rights reserved.
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