Red Yeast Rice, Xuezhikang (Monascus purpureus)

Indications Hyperlipidemia and associated conditions such as renal damage, cardiovascular disease, and prevention of and recovery from myocardial infarction. Mechanism of Action Monascus purpureus acts act as a natural HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor.1,2,3 It regulates serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) as well as the expression of inflammatory transcription factors.…

African Snake Root, Indian Snake Root (Rauwolfia vomitoria, R. serpentina)

Traditional Uses Hypertension and arrhythmia. Mechanism of Action Rauwolfia’s effects on the heart include decreasing myocardial excitability, inhibiting atrial-ventricular conduction, and extending the refractory period of the heart rhythm.1 Much of the medicinal effects of Rauwolfia serpentina and Rauwolfia vomitoria have been attributed to the hypotensive indole alkaloid reserpine.2 Additional…

Kudzu (Pueraria mirifica, Pueraria lobata)

Indications Menopausal symptoms; general female reproductive health; support of bone, hair, and fingernails; sexual longevity including vaginal lubrication; and enhanced breast size. Mechanism of Action Pueraria contains numerous isoflavones that are phytosterols, plant compounds with steroid-like effects. The phytosterols include β-sitosterol, coumestrol, genistein, daidzein, formononetin, puerarin, and miroesterol.1,2,3,4 Miroesterol is…

Jamaican Dogwood (Piscidia erythrina)

Indications Used for high blood pressure, pain, and tension. Mechanism of Action Piscidia erythrina has not yet been extensively researched in terms of its chemical constituents, but root extracts are known to contain the resins piscidin, jamaicin, and rotenone and isoflavonoids sumatrol, durmillone, and erythynone, collectively referred to as rotenoids.1…

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruits (Opuntia ficus indica, vulgaris, dillenii)

Indications Diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidemia, atherosclerosis, diabetes-related heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Mechanism of Action The bright magenta-to-orange colors of various species of Opuntia fruits is partly because of the presence of betalains,1 so named because they also occur in beets (Beta vulgaris). The betalains include betacyanins and betaxanthins, such as…

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