Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to simply as diabetes, is a health condition that causes high blood sugar levels. It is a disease that affects millions of people around the world. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 9% of adults had diabetes last year.
There are two main types of diabetes: type-1 and type-2. The first type occurs when the human body fails to produce the hormone insulin at all. In the second, the body produces an inadequate amount of insulin. Type-2 diabetes accounts for 90% of all diabetes cases globally. The outcome of the body’s inability to regulate insulin is the presence of too much sugar, or glucose, in the blood. There is no precise cure for diabetes, so treatment – such as diabetes herbal remedies – aims at lowering the levels of blood sugar.
Diabetes treatment aims at regulating glucose levels in the blood to keep it within the normal range. Patients diagnosed with this second type of diabetes are required to take regular tests in order to monitor their blood sugar levels. This test, commonly referred to as A1c, is taken every two months and is performed by a doctor.
Primarily, A1c measures the number of red blood cells in the body, which indicates the level of glucose in the bloodstream. The doctor informs the patient what his or her blood sugar level should be.
The various types of diabetes treatments available include lifestyle changes, physical exercise, diet regulation, and herbal and natural remedies. In the recent past, there has been a growth in interest in using alternative medicine in treating diabetes, leading to use of herbal treatments such as CBD oil, ginger, ginseng, and okra, among others. Described below are several diabetes herbal remedies and the ways in which they function to treat diabetes.
Hemp oil is a product of the cannabis plant. It is processed in a manner that makes it beneficial in an array of areas. One particular benefit is in the treatment of diabetes. Hemp oil is known for its low blood sugar index because of its low content of carbohydrates. In addition to low sugar content, this herbal treatment consists of nutrients that moderate blood sugar levels.
Even more, the essential fatty acids from hemp oil can help lower sugar levels in the bloodstream by accelerating the metabolic processes in the human body. The many other nutrients available in hemp oil also help moderate blood sugar levels. All these characteristics make hemp oil an ideal herbal treatment for diabetes.
Fenugreek is an aromatic plant that is grown extensively in parts of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and South Asia. Like tasty hemp oil, it is an essential treatment ideal for consumption by diabetics. Fenugreek seeds have a significantly high content of soluble fiber, which slows down the intake and digestion of carbohydrates. This, in turn, has the effect of lowering one’s blood sugar level.
Here are some suggested methods for using fenugreek for your diabetes.
- Put two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in water, and leave them for a night. Drink the water along with the seeds in the morning before any other meal.
- Alternatively, consume two tablespoons of powdered fenugreek seeds on a daily basis with milk.
Recent research findings state that 100-gram supplement of defatted fenugreek seed powder added to daily diets of insulin-dependent type-1 diabetes patients helped reduce their fasting blood sugar. The supplement also significantly improved their glucose tolerance while lowering LDL or bad cholesterol.
This is a product of the spiky but succulent aloe vera plant. This plant has been used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years. Juice extracted from the leaves contains a compound known as aloe latex that is used to make juice drinks, tablets and capsules. What’s more, aloe vera juice decreases swelling in injuries and hastens their healing. Leg wounds and ulcers are prevalent complications associated with diabetes and can be treated using Aloe Vera.
From the already existing clinical trials on the curative effects of aloe vera in relation to diabetes, it can be suggested that this plant helps lower fasting glucose levels to normal levels within two months. In addition, the plant increases the body’s antioxidant defenses, which are often impaired in diabetics, and stimulates the production of insulin.
Other health benefits of the aloe vera plant to diabetics include improved vascular health, dilating blood vessels and increased blood circulation in the human body.
Ginger is a thick knotted stem obtained from the plant Zingiber Officinale. It is widely used in Asian medicine. A study carried out by the University of Sydney in Australia discovered that extracts from ginger have a high gingerol count. This compound increases the uptake of sugar into muscle cells without utilizing insulin and assists in the management of high blood glucose content. Moreover, ginger has a low glycemic index (GI). Low-GI foods can break down bit by bit as they form glucose and, hence, do not stimulate a spike in blood sugar content as high-GI foods do. However, it is imperative to consult your health specialist prior to using ginger for diabetes treatment.
Ginger is scientifically proven as an herb that may improve long-term blood sugar control for people with type-2 diabetes. The plant contains gingerols as its principal active component, as do its extracts. Basically, these active components in the ginger plant are said to increase the uptake of glucose into muscle cells without involving insulin. This process will help in the management of high blood sugar levels.
Bitter melon is also known as bitter gourd or karela. This exceptional vegetable-fruit has also been found to be one of the most effective diabetes herbal remedies. It contains three compounds that have anti-diabetic properties. These are charantin, polypeptide-p and vicine. These three compounds function either individually or jointly to lower the levels of blood sugar. Furthermore, the bitter melon contains a lectin that brings down blood sugar concentrations. The lectin does this by acting on the peripheral vessels and curbing appetite.
Bitter melon is considered to be an herb and is taken as tea. From the various experiences of type-1 diabetics, taking at least a cup of bitter melon tea every morning lowers their fasting glucose level to about 80 in just one week. Reductions in blood sugar levels in diabetics right after taking bitter melon in any form can be experienced as soon as half an hour, but the greatest reduction occurs at four hours and lasts for about twelve hours.
Prickly Pear Cactus
This is one of the most common types of cactus. It has fleshy stems and pear-like fruits that serve as herbal medicine. The prickly pear cactus is rich in soluble fiber and pectin. Both of these compounds help treat diabetes in the following ways:
- Lowering blood sugar levels
- Boosting insulin sensitivity
Study of this plant reveals that the fiber found in its flesh slows the rate at which the human body absorbs sugar, thereby stabilizing glucose levels in the bloodstream. Normally in diabetics, sugar enters the bloodstream rapidly, causing a spike in their insulin levels. In the presence of prickly pear cactus, however, the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream is naturally slowed down, thereby lowering the risk of diabetes.
For a long time now, bilberry has proven to be an efficient herbal treatment for diabetes. The components of bilberries boost the strength of blood tissues as well as paring down on damage caused to these vessels as a result of diabetes. Beyond the reward of strengthening blood tissues, bilberry extracts usually aid in reducing the tingling sensations in severe cases of diabetes. Bilberry extractions also come in handy in treating eye conditions associated with diabetes. Besides diabetic retinopathy, they are used in the treatment of cataracts and night blindness.
The leaves and fruits of the bilberry plant have long been used in treating diabetes and also in managing the resultant effects of this condition. However, the leaves of this plant are not to be used for a long-term plan for curing diabetes. This is because they achieve the final result by impairing a normal process in the liver.
On the other hand, the berries of this plant do not lower blood sugar but instead help in strengthening of the blood vessels. The berries also reduce the damage to blood vessels associated with diabetes and other diseases such as atherosclerosis (a result of calcium and fat deposits in the arteries).
Ginseng is another of the most useful diabetes herbal remedies. It is widely used as an herbal treatment by the Chinese. A recent study showed that taking 200 mg of ginseng extracts on a daily basis enhances blood sugar control and boosts energy levels in type-2 diabetes. Ginseng aids in the treatment of diabetes in these ways:
- Boosts release of insulin from the pancreas
- Has a direct effect of lowering blood sugar content
- Increases the number of insulin receptors
Various medical studies have found that the intake of the herb ginseng improves blood sugar control by creating sugar-lowering effects in both fasting and after-meal blood sugar levels. This effect is clearly noticeable even in average blood sugar levels in just over a three-month period. Having said that, it is important to note that there are two types of ginseng, American and Asian, both of which vary in the dosage prescribed to diabetic patients.
Onion and Garlic
Onion and garlic have considerable blood glucose-lowering abilities. The principal compounds that play this role are flavonoids and allicin. Extracts from onions have been found to decrease blood sugar levels during oral and intravenous glucose tolerance tests. This effect increased parallel to the rise in the extract dosage. Both raw and boiled onions were used when carrying out an experiment on the effects onions have on diabetes. In essence, onions have an impact on the hepatic metabolism of glucose. They also trigger increase or decrease of insulin.
This herb has a long medicinal history in treating colds and now in controlling blood sugar levels, though there is still need for more human studies into this fact. If you are to take garlic as a treatment for diabetes, be sure to consult your physician and, most importantly, have their approval.
Okra is a type of tall vegetable that traces its origin to ancient Ethiopia and the Caribbean. Its constituents have anti-diabetic properties. One of the many diabetes herbal remedies, okra is often soaked in cut-up pieces by diabetics overnight. They then take the juice extracted each morning. The extract helps to lower levels of blood glucose.
Some people experience a decrease in blood sugar level after years of daily intake of this herb while others experience an almost immediate reduction in blood sugar level. This main benefit can be attributed to one property of this plant: the insoluble fiber contained in it. This is believed to help stabilize blood glucose by slowing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the human intestinal tract.
While research continues to reveal new significant alternatives to laboratory medicines in treating diabetes, a lot still needs to be done. Still, many more diabetics will continue to emerge as beneficiaries of herbal medicines in treating diabetes – and the good side of it all is that its all natural, so few, if any, side effects will be experienced.
What diabetes herbal remedies have you used in the past? Do you remain skeptical? Tell us about it in the comments!