What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis, also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD, is when an artery wall thickens as a result of invasion and accumulation of white blood cells and blood fats (like cholesterol and triglycerides), creating plaque. As the plaque builds up, the artery wall gets thicker, which narrows the opening and reduces the blood flow and the supply of oxygen to cells.

Jiaogulan Prevents Damage to the Arterial Lining

Many scientists believe plaque begins when an artery’s inner lining (called the endothelium) becomes damaged. Three possible causes of damage are:

  • Elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking

This damage to the arterial lining leads to the development of atherosclerosis. It results in a lower production of nitric oxide (NO), which leads to constriction of the arteries, higher blood pressure, more plaque formation, more arterial damage, and even less NO production, continuing in a cycle.

However, jiaogulan can help neutralize the oxidative damage to the arteries caused by free radicals and cholesterol with its powerful antioxidant effects. Jiaogulan can also prevent arterial damage with its ability to regulate blood pressure, either lowering or elevating it, depending on the need.

Jiaogulan Prevents Plaque Buildup

Another effect of the arterial damage is that the arteries become stiffer and stickier over time, which attracts more bad LDL cholesterol and white blood cells, thus forming plaque buildup in the artery walls.

Jiaogulan can improve the body’s ability to metabolize fat and stimulate NO production, which suppresses the damage done to LDL cholesterol by free radicals. There has been numerous studies of Jiaogulan’s ability to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels while raising HDL cholesterol, which we will provide in a later post.

Jiaogulan Prevents the Formation Blood Clots

As stated earlier, as the plaque builds up, the artery wall gets thicker, which narrows the opening and reduces the blood flow and the supply of oxygen to cells. When the plaque in a coronary artery ruptures, platelets (blood cells whose function is to stop the bleeding) become sticky and starts to roam around together (platelet aggregation). A blood clot (thrombus) may form on the plaque’s surface, and the artery can be blocked and blood flow cut off, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. If the blood clot travel and get lodged in other blood vessels, such as the lungs, an embolism can occur.

Jiaogulan helps against the formation of blood clots by preventing the platelets from sticking together and from sticking to the lining of the arteries, and also help detach from each other. It does this by increasing nitric oxide production, which reduces the stickiness of the platelets. It also inhibits tissue factor (TF), which is involved in the progression of atherosclerosis.

Other Benefits of Jiaogulan Related to the Cardiovascular System

Jiaogulan is also beneficial to those who suffer from congestive heart failure because it improves the efficiency of the pumping action of the heart. The heart does not have to work as hard to produce the same amount of blood flow, helping it deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the body as a whole without causing additional stress.

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References:
Wikipedia: Atherosclerosis 
“Atherosclerosis “, American Heart Association
Huang TH, Tran VH, Roufogalis BD, and Li Y, “Gypenoside XLIX, a naturally occurring gynosaponin, PPAR-alpha dependently inhibits LPS-induced tissue factor expression and activity in human THP-1 monocytic cells.” Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2007 Jan 1;218(1):30-6. Epub 2006 Oct 25.
Zhou, Ying-Na et al, Effects of a gypenosides-containing tonic on the pulmonary function in exercise workload, Journal of Guiyang Medical College, 1993, 18 (4):261.)
Jiaogulan Benefits to the Cardiovascular System

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