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How to Keep Your Cholesterol Level Low from the Inside Out

Having a high cholesterol level can happen even among young adults. You should find out the causes and your options for keeping it at the right level.

A man having his cholesterol level checked by a doctor.

High cholesterol levels are quite common, likely due to lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet. Even young adults may be facing this condition. According to a Health and Morbidity survey run in 2015, 47.5% of Malaysians had high cholesterol, with 22% being 18 to 19 years old.

If your cholesterol level is a possible issue for you, you should understand what cholesterol is and learn what you can do to keep it at a safe amount.

Read on to find out how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) could be your ally when it comes to high cholesterol. 

Your Cholesterol Level and Your Body

A man clutching his chest from pain
A high cholesterol level could lead to heart issues and possibly a heart attack or stroke.

You need to have some cholesterol levels in your body. After all, this substance is an integral part of cell membranes and is used for making cell walls, tissues, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acid. 

However, too much cholesterol could lead to heart issues by building up in your veins and preventing blood from flowing properly. If such deposits break off into clots, they could even lead to a heart attack or a stroke

In TCM, high cholesterol is generally linked to issues with the Spleen and Liver. Specifically, a poor lifestyle and diet can keep these organs from functioning properly, leading to a build-up of cholesterol in the body. 

At a higher risk of high cholesterol are men, the aged, and those who overeat and are inactive. Females may face an increased risk after menopause due to decreased plasma oestrogen levels. You should look out for signs in your family history and take note if a male family member has been affected by heart disease before 55, or a female family member before 65. 

While there could be different high cholesterol symptoms, these are the most common: 

  • Phlegm
  • Moisture Stagnation 
  • Stagnation 
  • Blood Stasis 
  • Deficient yin (passive energy) in the Liver and Kidneys 

Problems with efficient digestion can cause a high cholesterol level by affecting how this substance is processed and stored in the body. 

Fluid circulation is another important factor because a slower than usual pace may cause more or larger cholesterol deposits. Another factor is blood circulation, which is present in many types of arthritic disorders and certain cardiovascular issues. 

A third thing to consider is the excretory system. The relationship between the Liver and bile production is essential to eliminate cholesterol efficiently when bile is released. When this system isn’t functioning efficiently, it could result in a high cholesterol level. 

What TCM Can Do for Your Cholesterol Level

Hawthorne fruit on a table and in a mortar.
TCM can help you manage your cholesterol level with the intake of herbs such as hawthorn berries.

One approach to managing your cholesterol level is through TCM. A physician will conduct a diagnosis to determine the body constitution and the root of the problem to treat the Spleen and Liver. 

These are the recommended herbs to manage your cholesterol level: 

  • Hawthorn berries (shan zha, 山楂): Lowers blood lipids and treats certain cardiovascular diseases 
  • Red yeast rice: Contains natural statins to invigorate the body, aids digestion and revitalises the blood, lowering LDL cholesterol 
  • Cassia seeds (jue ming zi, 决明子): Promotes bowel movement, inhibits hyperlipidemic formation and reduces weight gain from nutritive obesity 
  • Coix seeds (yi yi ren, 薏苡仁): Improves digestion and treats hypolipidemia 
  • Finger citron fruit (fo shou, 佛手): Treats poor digestion, improves appetite and lowers blood cholesterol 
  • Pu-erh tea: Contains natural statins 
  • Oyster mushrooms: Contains natural statins 

You can opt to get a herbal formulation offering many of these benefits. It is made from natural red yeast rice and deodorised Natto powder. It can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, promote blood circulation and prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Alongside these solutions, people with a high cholesterol level should eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and good quality fats and get proper sleep and regular exercise. 

On the other hand, consumption of alcohol, meat, and dairy products that contain high amounts of saturated fats should be reduced if not eliminated, as well as minimising or completely avoiding late nights and smoking tobacco.

Although having a high cholesterol level is quite common and can happen even among young adults, it can be managed. Make sure to lead a healthy lifestyle and try some herbal remedies if your cholesterols are not at the right level. A qualified TCM physician will be able to consult you on the right formulations for your condition. 

This is an adaptation of an article, “Cholesterol and TCM,” which first appeared on the Eu Yan Sang website. 


  1. Hindawi. 2010. Alternative Perspectives: How Chinese Medicine Understands Hypercholesterolemia. [Accessed 4 July 2022] 
  2. PubMed Central. 2017. Traditional Chinese medicine for lipid metabolism disorders. [Accessed 4 July 2022] 
  3. Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2009. Cholesterol and Chinese Medicine. [Accessed 4 July 2022] 

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