The Best Herbal Treatments to Control Blood Glucose Levels

By KrisTina | Articles

Sep 06

There are plenty of spices and herbs out there which have proven their effectiveness in lowering one’s blood sugar levels. Which makes them a great help for people who either have diabetes or are in risk of developing it.

There have been several clinical studies carried out during the course of these past few years. They all report a clear connection between an improved control over one’s blood glucose and certain herbs. So is it really a surprise that more and more people are turning towards them when it comes to managing their disease?

Which Herbal Therapies Are Available?

Plant-based therapies which have proven their anti-diabetic properties include the following:

  • Cinnamon
  • Bitter melon
  • Bilberry extract
  • Okra
  • Fenugreek
  • Aloe vera
  • Ginger

And while they are commonly used in oriental medicine for treating numerous serious conditions (among which diabetes), western health experts are still rather skeptical concerning their effectiveness.

As a matter of fact, since certain supplements, vitamins and herbs have a tendency to interact with diabetes drugs (including insulin), thus increasing their hypoglycemic effects, some can argue that such herbal therapies may make one’s blood sugar levels so low that it may cause some other diabetes-related complications.

Whatever you plan on using these herbs for, be sure to consult first with your doctor or professional healthcare team to determine the proper dose and whether they are suitable for you, to begin with.

Some Further Herbal Therapies

The plant derivatives and herbs we are about to discuss below have all been used as traditional means for treating diabetes. However, much more information is needed on most of them.

Allium

Allium sativum is much better known as garlic. It is praised for its micro-circulatory effects as well as its antioxidant properties. And even though only a small number of studies have linked allium to blood glucose levels or insulin, it has shown promise.

There is some suggestion that allium may slow insulin degradation, increase insulin secretion and cause a blood glucose reduction. Experts claim researchers need to do many more trials on the subject.

Myrcia Uniflora and Bauhinia Forficata

Bauhinia forficata is used in many Brazilian herbal cures. Natives have given it the name ‘vegetable insulin’. It, like the Myrica uniflora, grows in South America, and both are used as tea herbal infusions. Some studies, however, suggests they are overrated when it comes to their hypoglycemic effects.

Coccinia Indica

Also named ‘ivy gourd’, it grows all across the Indian Subcontinent. You can guess its use in traditional ayurvedic remedies. This herb has shown some insulin-mimetic properties. In other words, it shows the potential to mimic the function of insulin.

Many experts think this herb deserves more attention, as studies so far have attested to its hypoglycemic effects.

Ficus Carica

Also called ‘fig-leaf’, it is popular both in Spain and South-Western Europe. However, experts don’t know its active compound. Some animal studies conducted in the past suggest it can facilitate the uptake of glucose. Just how effective this plant truly is when it comes to treating diabetes, we’ll have to wait and see.

Ginseng

This is not just one plant, but rather, a collective name for many diverse plant species. Some studies which used American ginseng, reported a decrease in one’s fasting blood glucose. Other varieties include Japanese ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and Korean ginseng.

In certain fields this plant, especially the panax species, are praised as a ‘cure-all’. But, like with most other traditional herbal therapies used against diabetes, researchers need to do a lot more work.

Gymnema Sylverste

This plant counts as another traditional ayurvedic treatment. It grows in the tropical forests of central and southern India. Experts have connected it to substantial blood glucose lowering. Some animal studies have even witnessed islet cell regeneration as well as an increase in the function of beta cells.

Momordica Charantia

Many know it by different names. It is native to certain areas in South America, Africa, India, and Asia. Usually marketed under the name charantia, many also know it as karolla (karela), or bitter melon.

There are many different preparation methods for this herb. It shows potential for helping those with diabetes when it comes to glucose oxidation, secretion of insulin and some other processes. There have also been reports of acute blood glucose effects.

Ocimum Sanctum

Another herb employed in the traditional ayurvedic medicine. Most people know it as holy basil. One controlled clinical trial reported a positive effect on one’s fasting and postprandial glucose.

Some experts even claim it shows strong potential for enhancing the beta cells’ function, and facilitate the process of insulin secretion.

Opuntia Streptacantha

Also called nopal, as well as ‘prickly-pear cactus’ in the regions where it grows, which are more than a little arid. Mexican desert inhabitants have made long use of it for helping them manage their blood glucose. Indeed, an intestinal uptake of this plant may show some promising results.

Studies on animals have bared witness to a noteworthy decrease in HbA1c and postprandial glucose. However, it is not surprising that many more clinical trials are in order.

Silibum Marianum

Many also call it milk thistle. It is a member of the aster family. It contains high amounts of both antioxidants and flavonoids, some of which may have a positive effect on insulin resistance. But there is still very little understanding concerning the role of the milk thistle in blood glucose control.

Trigonella Foenum Graecum

More commonly called fenugreek, it grows in parts of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and India. Other than its use in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, many also use it in cooking.

According to the non-controlled trials involving type II diabetes patients, most had reported an improvement in their glycemic control. Further studies must take place, of course.

Conclusion

Lastly, here is a list of several other herbs which may have certain positive effects when it comes to treating diabetes the natural way:

  • Cinnamomym tamala
  • Phyllanthus amarus
  • Solanum torvum
  • Pterocarpus marsupium
  • Gingko
  • Berberine
  • Vinca rosea
  • Eugenia jambolana
  • Curry

We hope this information was of some use to you, dear readers. Stay healthy.

Source: Diabetes | Reader’s Digest