Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), a leading cause of death in modern society, have become a major public health issue globally. Although numerous approaches have been proposed to reduce morbidity and mortality, the pursuit of pharmaceuticals with more preventive and/or therapeutic value remains a focus of attention. Being a vast treasure trove of natural drug molecules, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long history of clinical use in the prophylaxis and remedy of CVDs. Increasing lines of preclinical evidence have demonstrated the effectiveness of TCM-derived polysaccharides on hindering the progression of CVDs, e.g. hypertension, myocardial infarction. However, to the best of our knowledge, there are few reviews on the application of TCM-derived polysaccharides in combating CVDs. Hence, we provide an overview of primary literature on the anti-hypertensive and cardioprotective activities of herbal polysaccharides. Additionally, we also discuss the current limitations and propose a new hypothesis about how polysaccharides exert cardiovascular effects based on the metabolism of polysaccharides.Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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