The name cholesterol originates from the Greek chole- (bile) and stereos (solid), and the chemical suffix -ol for an alcohol, as François Poulletier de la Salle first identified cholesterol in solid form in gallstones, in 1769. However, it was only in 1815 that chemist Eugène Chevreul named the compound "cholesterine".

Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as a lipid. It is mostly made by the liver from the fatty foods we eat and is vital for the normal functioning of the body. Having an excessively high level of lipids in your blood (hyperlipidemia) can have a serious effect on your health as it increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Cholesterol cannot travel around the body on its own because it does not dissolve in water. Instead, it is carried in your blood by molecules called proteins. These combinations of cholesterol and proteins are called lipoproteins. There are two main types of lipoproteins:

  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the harmful type of cholesterol. LDL is the main cholesterol transporter and carries cholesterol from your liver to the cells that need it. If there is too much cholesterol for the cells to use, this can cause a harmful build-up in your blood. Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can cause cholesterol to build up in the artery walls, leading to disease of the arteries. For this reason, LDL cholesterol is known as 'bad cholesterol', and lower levels are better.
  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is a protective type of cholesterol. HDL carries cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it is either broken down or passed from the body as a waste product. For this reason, it is referred to as 'good cholesterol', and higher levels are better.

Having too much harmful cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of getting cardiovascular disease. The risk is particularly high if you have a high level of LDL cholesterol and a low level of HDL cholesterol.

Since cholesterol is essential for all animal life, it is primarily synthesized from simpler substances within the body. However, high levels in blood circulation, depending on how it is transported within lipoproteins, are strongly associated with progression of atherosclerosis. For a person of about 68 kg (150 pounds), typical total body cholesterol synthesis is about 1 g (1,000 mg) per day, and total body content is about 35 g. Typical daily additional dietary intake, in the United States and societies with similar dietary patterns, is 200–300 mg. The body compensates for cholesterol intake by reducing the amount synthesized.

The amount of cholesterol in the blood (including both LDL and HDL) can be measured with a blood test. Your doctor or nurse may also measure your level of triglycerides. Triglycerides are the fats you use for energy and come from the fatty foods you eat. You store what you do not use in the fatty tissues of your body. Excess triglycerides in the blood also increase heart problems. They can also be produced in the body, either by the body’s fat stores or in the liver. People who are very overweight, eat a lot of fatty and sugary foods, or drink too much alcohol are more likely to have a high triglyceride level. People with high triglyceride levels have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease than people with lower levels. 

Cholesterol is recycled. It is excreted by the liver via the bile into the digestive tract. Typically about 50% of the excreted cholesterol is reabsorbed by the small bowel back into the bloodstream. Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.  The recommended cholesterol levels should be less than 5mmol/L. In the UK, two out of three adults have a total cholesterol level of 5mmol/L or above. On average, men in England have a cholesterol level of 5.5mmol/L and women have a level of 5.6mmol/L. The UK population has one of the highest average cholesterol concentrations in the world.

Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol levels can cause narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack and stroke. This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall restricting the flow of blood to your heart, brain and the rest of your body. It also increases the chance of a blood clot developing. Your risk of coronary heart disease (when your heart's blood supply is blocked or disrupted) rises as your blood's cholesterol level increases. Other factors, such as high blood pressure and smoking, increase this risk even more .

Essential Oils for cholesterol have been a focus of medical research for quite some time because if these oils can make an impact in other areas of your health, why not cholesterol? For hundreds of years, essential oils have been used for everything from arthritis, muscle aches and nausea to colds, flu and blood pressure. As Essential Oils work mainly through the blood stream it follows that Aromatherapy can aid in reducing the levels of LDL’s in the blood.

Cinnamon as an essential oil is derived from the leaves and bark of the cinnamon plant which is usually only found in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Cinnamon gives you a feeling of comfort and well-being as well as having the ability to perk up a depressive mood. As an essential oil for cholesterol, cinnamon has shown great promise in reducing overall levels, particularly the bad LDL cholesterol. Even triglyceride levels lower and diabetics notice an improvement in their blood sugar levels. The constituents are unproven and unknown but effects of the cinnamon essential oil have shown good results in lowering bad cholesterol.

Basil as an Essential Oill for cholesterol is not as widely known but there have been some studies that have shown promise with this particular herb. Related to the peppermint family, most people know basil is a top ingredient in most Italian food dishes. However, Basil as an essential oil for cholesterol comes into play because the herb prevents the oxidation of free radicals hence lowering the cholesterol level in the body.

Essential Oil of Lemon is widely known for thinning the blood, hence preventing thickness in blood flow that causes blockages and strokes. In addition, lemon also aids in breaking up deposits of plaque in your arteries which in turn also reduces cholesterol. In addition, lemon also aids in breaking up deposits of plaque in your arteries which in turn also reduces cholesterol.

Cholesterol can be managed for life with success with a health diet and lifestyle. It is recommended that you visit your physician on a regular basis to keep a keen eye on your levels. Learn healthy, alternative ways to manage your cholesterol without having to rely on medications.

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