Herbal Management of Diabetes
Many studies have been performed on various naturally occurring
other compounds, demonstrating their ability to lower blood sugars.
of these compounds decrease the blood glucose level by stimulating the pancreas
to produce more insulin, one particular herb, Goat's Rue or French Lilac,
chemically known as guianidine, is particularly effective in reducing the blood
glucose level utilizing a different mechanism.
(also known as Goat's Rue, French Lilac, Italian
Fitch or Professor-weed) is a plant from the Galega genus of the Faboideae.
Galega officinalis has been known since the Middle Ages for relieving the
symptoms of diabetes mellitus. Upon analysis, it turned out to contain
guanidine, a substance that decreases blood sugar by decreasing insulin
Chemical derivatives from the biguanide class of medication include metformin (Glucophage,
commonly prescribed for diabetics) and the older, withdrawn agent phenformin.
This herb actually decreases the cellular resistance to insulin, allowing the
cells to utilize the insulin more efficiently in metabolizing glucose. It also
decreases the absorption of glucose from the small intestine. It reduces the
formation of glucose in the liver, and it increases the uptake and utilization
of glucose in the fat and muscle cells throughout the body. Non-insulin
dependent diabetics are able to better maintain blood glucose levels closer to
the normal range, while insulin dependent diabetics are often able to reduce
their insulin dosage and more easily maintain stable levels of the blood
Ginseng refers to species within Panax, a genus of 11 species of slow-growing
perennial plants with fleshy roots, in the family Araliaceae. They grow in the
Northern Hemisphere in eastern Asia (mostly northern China, Korea, and eastern
Siberia), typically in cooler climates. Buy Now
Both American and Panax (Asian) ginseng rhizomes are taken orally as
adaptogens, aphrodisiacs, nourishing stimulants, and in the treatment of type II
diabetes, including sexual dysfunction in men. It appears that ginseng increases
the sensitivity of cells to insulin, a hormone that sends the signal to cells to
reduce blood sugar by taking up glucose. Ginseng may also increase the secretion
In a randomized, placebo-controlled study published in the September issue of
Diabetes Care, researchers gave capsules of North American ginseng (Panax
quinquefolius) to diabetic subjects who were already receiving treatment for
diabetes in the form of
diet or prescription drugs. In their analysis, the
researchers found that subjects receiving a 3g dose of ginseng had a blood sugar
level that was 59.1% less than subjects who had received the placebo treatment.
Ginseng should be used therapeutically only with the advice of a trained
health practitioner. Although subjects in the study did not report major side
effects, ginseng can potentially augment the effect of prescription drugs used
to lower blood sugar, causing a dangerous decrease in blood sugar. Adverse
effects with concurrent use of oral anti-diabetic drugs, such as Warfarin,
heparin, aspirin, and NSAIDS are another possibility.
Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. The two main
varieties are Cinnamomum cassia and Cinnamomum zeylanicum. Buy Now
American scientists have claimed that a teaspoon of cinnamon a day may help
prevent the onset of diabetes. Scientists at the US Agricultural Research
Services' nutrition laboratories in Beltsville, Md., found that an extract of
cinnamon can actually revitalize the body's ability to be far more responsive to
insulin in peripheral tissues, e.g. adipose and muscle tissue. In fact, in
laboratory experiments, glucose processing was increased by up to 20 times. The
chemical responsible is called methylhydroxy chalcone polymer. Experiments on
mice found that abnormally high glucose concentrations fell dramatically when
given this cinnamon derivative.
The results of another study from 2003 in Pakistan showed lower levels of
fasting glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total
cholesterol after 40
days with levels continuing to drop for 20 days after that.
The study was made up of 60 people with Type 2 diabetes who were divided into
6 groups of 10. Three groups received cinnamon in the form of capsules totaling
1, 3 or 6 grams of cinnamon a day. The other three groups received placebo
capsules. The capsules were taken three times a day, after meals. All three
levels of cinnamon showed results, leading researchers to believe that as little
as 1 gram a day of cinnamon may benefit people who have Type 2.
diabetics should take a quarter to one full teaspoon of cinnamon per day.
Cinnamon has long been known as an "energizing" spice, and it is likely that
increasing the intake of this common and cheaply available food will benefit
even non-diabetics, if used as a daily energizing tonic.
Cinnamon is also a rich source of
magnesium, which is essential for
maintaining bone density, electrolyte balance, certain enzyme functions and many
other crucial biochemical processes. Magnesium is also linked to the more
dramatic forms of diabetes that occur earlier in life.
Momordica charantia is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family
Cucurbitaceae, widely grown for edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of
all vegetables. English names for the plant and its fruit include bitter melon
or bitter gourd. It is widely grown in India (Karela करेला in Hindi), Pakistan (Karela
کریلا in Urdu, اردو),(komboze کمبوزه in Persian), South Asia, Southeast Asia,
China, Africa and the Caribbean.
Bitter melon has been observed to have blood sugar-lowering effects, but
there is only limited research specifically using bitter melon in humans.
Clinical studies show that bitter melon increases the production of beta cells
in the pancreas which leads to improvement in the insulin production of the
Many studies show that bitter melon is able to reduce the blood sugar levels
in the body. Charantin, polypeptide P, and oleonolic acid glcosides are some of
the ingredients of bitter melon that are essential in diabetes treatment.
Charantin consists of mixtures of natural steroids which are shown to reduce
blood sugar levels in the body. Polypeptide P, contains alkaloids that can also
promote healthy blood sugar levels. Oleanolic acid glycosides, on the other
hand, may prevent the retention of sugar from the intestines. Improvements in
these area leads to improved insulin levels in the body.
Fresh juice of two karelas (approximately 20ml) should be taken on empty
stomach in the early morning daily. The regular practice of this gives enormous
benefits to the diabetics.
It is a natural, efficacious, an antioxidant with the richest natural source
Amalaki is a carminative and stomachic. It is used in Ayurveda as a
cardiotonic, aphrodisiac, antipyretic, antidiabetic, cerebral and
gastrointestinal tonic. It raises the total
protein level and increases the body
weight due to positive nitrogen balance. It has been found to have an anabolic
Fresh amla juice of 10ml and 2 grams pure haldi
(turmeric) powder well mixed and taken twice a day, effectively maintains the
sugar level and imparts many side benefits like strength and vitality.
Besides, this herb, due to its high vitamin C content, is effective in
controlling diabetes. A tablespoon of its juice mixed with a cup of bitter gourd
juice, taken daily for two months. Will stimulates the pancreas and enable is to
secrete insulin, thus reducing the blood sugar in the diabetes. Diet
restrictions should be strictly observed while taking this medicine. It will
also prevent eye complication in diabetes.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
It is a plant product that has been used for a variety of medicinal and other
purposes, and may be used in the treatment of diabetes. Fenugreek is a member of
the Leguminosae, or Fabaceae, family and grows well in India, Egypt and other
parts of the Middle East. The part used medicinally is the seeds.
Fenugreek seeds contain alkaloids, including trigonelline, gentianine and
carpaine compounds. The seeds also contain fiber, 4-hydroxyisoleucine and
fenugreekine, a component that may have hypoglycemic activity. The mechanism is
thought to delay gastric emptying, slow
carbohydrate absorption and inhibit
Fenugreek may also increase the number of insulin receptors in red blood
cells and improve glucose utilization in peripheral tissues, thus demonstrating
potential anti-diabetes effects both in the pancreas and other sites. The amino
acid 4- hydroxyisoleucine, contained in the seeds, may also directly stimulate
There are only a few published studies on fenugreek. In one study, published
in a 1990 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 10
patients on insulin therapy for type 1 diabetes were assigned to either placebo
or 50 grams of defatted fenugreek-seed powder twice daily in addition to their
Fasting glucose decreased from an average of 272 mg/dl at baseline to 196
mg/dl. There was also a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
A larger study, published in a 1996 issue of Nutrition Research,
involved a six-month trial of fenugreek in 60 patients with inadequately
controlled type 2 diabetes. Twenty-five grams of powdered fenugreek seed was
given twice daily at lunch and dinner in addition to the current diabetes
The average fasting glucose decreased from 151 mg/dl to 112 mg/dl after 6
months. Glucose values one and two hours after meals also declined. Average A1C
decreased from 9.6% to 8.4% after eight weeks. To help your
diabetes symptoms, try taking 2.5 g of fenugreek with your
meals, a couple of times a day. This should help to control your blood sugar
levels and increase your insulin production.
Black Berry (kala jamun)
Botanically it is known as Polianthes tuberosa. It is a large tree 20 to 60
ft. high or sometimes more. The bark, fruits and seeds of the tree are
medicinal. The bark is very astringent and is given in sore throat, bronchitis,
asthma, ulcers and dysentery; it is also used for purifying blood. The fresh
juice of the bark with goat's milk is given in diarrhoea. The seeds are very
useful diabetes. The fruit juice cures burning sensation of
hands and feet. It
subsides excessive heat in the body.
To control diabetes, 2-teaspoon powder of dry jambul fruits is taken twice a
day or eating of fresh jumbul fruits is also recommended. Three to five grams of
powdered seed with salt taken twice a day for a few days eliminates sugar.
A regular check should be kept on the blood sugar level, and if it settles in
the normal range, no further treatment is needed.