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Exploring Alternative Medicines in the Treatment of Atherosclerosis: an Insight into Molecular Aspect

Review article



Malaysia is blessed to have several natural products. Since past decades, studies have been carried out to discover the highly effective anti-atherosclerotic supplements. The phytoestrogens and soy proteins have gained much attention, over the years. Several literature highlighted the therapeutic effect of alternative medicines on atherosclerosis. However, the overall anti-atherosclerotic mechanism of isoflavones regardless of menopause or postmenopausal state was not discussed, to date. This review aimed to summarize the molecular mechanism of different types of alternative medicines for the treatment of atherosclerosis in general population. The herbs commonly used in the treatment of atherosclerosis are garlic (Allium sativum), pomegranate (Punica granatum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) and green tea (Camellia sinenses). Nevertheless, the palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil and omega-3 also plays significant role in attenuating the risk of atherosclerosis by decreasing the LDL level, increasing the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), scavenging the free radicals and also decreasing the inflammatory process. Daidzein improves atherosclerotic changes by activating the NF-ĸB pathway and regulating the expression of inflammatory cytokines. Genistein reduces the monocyte-endothelial cell and adhesion molecules secretion via cAMP/PKA pathway, it decreases the inflammatory response via initiation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf2)/ heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) pathway. Conclusively, we recognized that alternative medicines demonstrate remarkable therapeutic efficacy for the treatment of atherosclerosis in patients of all ages.