HERBAL MEDICINE USED IN TRADITIONAL CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE-A REVIEW
Authors: M. Harish Reddy1,* K. Sambasivarao2
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The cardiovascular diseases (CVDs have been the major cause of morbidity and mortality in developed countries over the last several decades, and developing
countries are rapidly catching up with this epidemic. The underlying pathology is athermanous vascular disease, resulting in coronary artery disease (CAD),
cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral vascular disease, and the subsequent development of heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. The major risk factors for
these disorders were recognized over many years, and they include high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, smoking, hypertension, diabetes,
abdominal obesity, psychosocial factors, insufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables, excess consumption of alcohol, and lack of regular physical activity.
There has been continued research to help define more precisely the cardiovascular risk of an individual with respect to genetic factors, more complex lipid
traits, and inflammatory markers, but it was reconfirmed in the INTERHEART study that the conventional risk factors accounted for over 90% of the population
attributable risk for myocardial infarction There is extensive evidence to show that drug treatment of conventional risk factors is effective in reducing
cardiovascular events. Many large clinical trials with the HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) have showed that lowering of LDL cholesterol with these
agents decreases coronary and cerebrovascular events and that the target for LDL cholesterol becomes lower with each new set of guidelines and the
availability of more potent drugs Likewise, more effective treatment of hypertension with various classes of antihypertensive drugs has been associated with
greater benefits but some recent studies suggest we may be reaching the optimal level of treated blood pressure in some patient groups. Apart from the
treatment of cardiovascular risk factors with pharmacological agents and the use of antithrombotic drugs, there is growing awareness of the role of dietary
factors and herbal medicines in the prevention of CVD and the possibility of their use in treatment.
A wide variety of plant extracts have been used in traditional medicine over the centuries and some, such as digoxin, have been adopted in conventional
medicine. In this section, we concentrate on those plants and herbs for which there is some evidence, if not final proof, supporting their value in the prevention
or treatment of CVD. More detailed reviews can be found elsewhere in the literature.
Key Words: Cardiovascular, Cholesterol.