Atherosclerosis is the common cardiac disease engaging heart and brain. This condition progresses slowly from childhood and gets manifested completely into adulthood. It is observed that there are certain factors associated with the development of atherosclerosis. They include the risk factors of coronary artery disease, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, oxidative stress associated with free radicals in the blood, diabetes, age, hypertension, inflammatory factors, hyperhomocysteinemia, male gender, history of cardiac ischemia in the family, enhanced lipoprotein A, obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol, increased blood clotting, and psychiatric factors.
It is found in the research studies that plant-based compounds can help in treating and preventing atherosclerosis by affecting the associated factors. The antioxidant properties of certain medicinal plants were found to be effective on lipids and in reducing the plaque development, progression of atherosclerosis, development of cardiovascular disease and ischemia. The plant-based compounds that are effective in reducing the predisposing factors of atherosclerosis, in preventing the disease complications, in reducing cholesterol, in preventing the increase in free-radicals, in reducing the vascular plaque and vascular resistance are antioxidants, phenols, and flavonoids.
In people with coronary artery disease, atherosclerotic plaque is found to be present more in the thoracic aorta artery, carotid artery and femoral artery that are considered as determining factors for atherosclerosis. The potential activities of certain medical plants are investigated in this research study review on the effects of the compounds extracted from these plants on the development of plaque in vessels, and in the progression of atherosclerosis along with the development of cardiovascular disease and ischemia.
The symptoms of atherosclerosis increase with the increase in the levels of low-density lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL-C) in the blood and with the accumulation of LDL-C in the inner lining of the blood vessels. Deposition of LDL triggers the attachment of monocytes to the endothelium and they later get differentiated into macrophages. These macrophages are stimulated to digest the fats that result in the lipid phagocytosis and formation of fatty streak in the coronary lining. Progression of atherosclerosis is involved with the development of acute coronary syndrome and T-lymphocytes. The macrophages that are formed cause oxidation of LDL and result in the development of plaques. The plaques reduce the flow of blood which might lead to complications like unstable angina, non-Q-wave myocardial infarction, and Q-wave MI.
There are certain new factors like apolipoprotein B, nitrate, nitrite, fibrinogen, and factor 7 and other conventional factors that are also found to be associated with the development of atherosclerosis. The etiology of atherosclerosis reveals that enhanced antioxidants, reduced blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and coronary artery disease lead to the reduction of arterial stiffness and reduction in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the experimental animals. There is a research study which showed that cranberry consumption has inhibited the oxidative stress and has reduced lipid peroxidation, which would reduce the risk of contracting atherosclerosis.
The anti-glycemic property and the ability to reduce lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress by the extract of the plant Anethum graveolens is explained in this research study. Moderate and cumulative exercise has been a great option for reducing the atherosclerotic lesions, while the plant-based compounds like iron, ferritin, homocysteine, vitamin C and E, and uric acid, bacteria are also helpful in reducing the oxidative stress.
The medicinal plants, the extracts of which, are studied to be beneficial in clearing the atherosclerotic plaques. They include Quercus, Medicago sativa Linn, Gundelia tournefortii, Pulicaria gnaphalodes, Valeriana officinalis, Eremurus persicus, Sesamum indicum Linn, Allium ampeloprasum, Allium latifolium, Origanum majorana sps., Morus nigra fruit, Linum usitatissimum, Portulaca oleracea Linn, Silybum marianum Linn, and so on.
As the drugs that are meant for treating and preventing atherosclerosis are still considered to be challenging, potential plant-based compounds are found to be beneficial in preventing the formation of free-radicals, plaques, atherosclerosis, and ischemia.