Policosanol (polycosanol) is a natural waxy extract from sugar cane. Policosanol is the generic term used for a mixture of long-chain primary aliphatic saturated alcohols. These alcohols are derived from the waxes of such plants as sugar cane (Saccharum officinarium) and yams (e.g. Dioscorea opposita). They are also found in beeswax.

The main long-chain alcohol in policosanol is the 28 carbon 1-octanosol, and next most abundant is the 30 carbon 1-triacontanol. Other long-chain alcohols present in much lower concentrations are: 1-docosanol (C22), 1-tetracosanol (C24), 1-hexacosanol (C26), 1-heptacosanol (C27), 1-nonacosanol (C29), 1-dotriacontanol (C32) and 1-tetracontanol (C34). These long-chain alcohols are solid waxy substances and are soluble in water. They are known collectively as fatty alcohols. Its use as a supplement has been proven in numerous clinical trials to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) more effectively and safely than prescription statin drugs. Policosanol is a unique natural product derived from sugar cane wax and beeswax: It has proved effective at reducing cholesterol levels and for some individuals may be a reasonable natural alternative to the commonly prescribed "statin-type" cholesterol-lowering drugs. The mechanism of action of reported cholesterol-lowering activity is unknown. Some animal studies suggest that policosanol may inhibit cholesterol syntheses in the liver. It is also unclear if the putative cholesterol-lowering activity is due to octacosanol. The long-chain alcohols appear to have different biological activities, and octacosanol by itself may not have the same activities as policosanol. They may work synergistically.

There now is a natural substance that may lower 'bad' LDL cholesterol, raise 'good' HDL cholesterol and balance total cholesterol as effectively as some leading pharmaceuticals. What is it and why is it effective? Policosanol, is a very safe substance derived from the outer wax of the sugarcane plant. Excellent research, including many clinical trials, show that the fatty alcohols in Policosanol are safe and have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Policosanol can lower one’s bad Cholesterol (LDL) by up to 20% and raise beneficial cholesterol (HDL) by 10%. It works by obstructing the synthesis of cholesterol from the liver. Contrary to what most people believe, the vast majority of cholesterol does not come from diet, but from our liver, which produces more than 80% of it. In addition, policosanol helps protect against the formation of lesions in arterial walls, protecting against heart disease, and also acts as an anti-coagulant, similar to aspirin. Anti-coagulants help prevent the formation of clots. Such clots can often lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Some people are predisposed to high cholesterol no matter how stringent their diet and exercise routine. The liver is primarily responsible for cholesterol production in the body. However, in some persons (due to genetic factors) the liver does not know when to stop making cholesterol. Policosanol exerts an important antioxidant effect and it helps control the liver's production and breakdown of cholesterol.

Some other benefits of Policosanol including:
Exciting new research shows that it may lower serum cholesterol levels, raise good HDL cholesterol levels, and reduce platelet aggregation (stickiness).
As well as reducing serum cholesterol levels, Policosanol reduces the amount of cholesterol in the liver, heart and fatty tissue.
Policosanol's cholesterol-lowering effects continue and do not lose their effect over time.
Policosanol may prevent and reverse atherosclerotic lesions and thrombosis.
As an antioxidant, Policosanol works to prevent LDL oxidation.