Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Herbal medicine
and exercise interventions have individually been shown to be effective in the prevention and management of
CVD. However, the complementary roles of herbal medicine and exercise interventions for CVD prevention and
management have not been adequately reported.
Objective: 1. Identify studies analysing complementary roles of herbal medicine and exercise intervention in
CVD prevention and management, 2. Identify herbs and exercise strategies that have been reported to exhibit
complementary roles in CVD prevention and management, and 3. Summarize evidence of complementary roles
of herbal medicine and exercise interventions for CVD prevention and management.
Method: PubMed, CINAHL and Web of Science were searched with a customised search strategy in May 2015.
Two reviewers screened the search results for inclusion using pre-specified criteria. Data were extracted from full
text of selected abstracts in a predetermined template by two reviewers and verified by the third reviewer when
Results: A total of 35 titles were identified for full texts review after screening 827 abstracts. Data were extracted
from 23 titles, representing 12 human studies and six animal studies. This review identified effects of 14 different
herbs and 10 exercise strategies on over 18 CVD risk factors and markers. Complementary roles of herbal medicine
and exercise were reported from five studies.
Conclusion: Evidence of complementary role of herbal medicine and exercise is emerging from animal studies.
More robust clinical studies on proven risk factors are needed before they can be recommended for clinical practice.