Accepting a diagnosis of diabetes Mellitus is quite a bitter pill to swallow. You have to watch your weight and your diet for its sugar and carbohydrate content, and while you do this you also have to remember to take your diabetes medicines on the dot. Suddenly, keeping your sugars within the recommended benchmarks is all you can think about.
It becomes a top priority for most diabetics and sometimes even for their loved ones. After all, even if diabetes is unlikely to be cured, a diabetic can live normally as long as the blood sugar levels are within the stipulated limits.
Diabetes Mellitus or DM is of two types: Type-1 diabetes and Type-2 diabetes. The former is a total inability of the body to produce insulin, while the latter is a tendency to produce abnormally low amounts of insulin or insulin that is unable to perform its functions. The consequences of these variations in insulin are the many symptoms of diabetes, like fatigue, increased thirst, increased frequency to urinate, slow wound healing, weight loss despite an increased appetite, vision impairment, and tingling in the soles, etc.
Diabetes also has some long-term consequences like hypertension, heart disease, weaker nerves and eyes, and non-healing ulcers. Hence, keeping your fasting and postprandial sugars within the specified range is essential for a normal life.
So, while you make sure to pop your pills and take your insulin shots on time, it’s also important to watch your diet and support your body with some herbal and natural treatments to aid your battle with diabetes. Diabetes is synonymous with ‘No Sugar’, which means you are left with the unappetizing task of passing the dessert untouched and having to make do with sugar-free sweeteners.
Adding a little bitter is likely to help bring down your sugars too. That’s why most bitter tasting herbs are great against diabetes. Let’s have a look at some of the most effective natural treatments for Diabetes Mellitus.
Herbal Treatments for Diabetes
Herbal cures and recipes have always been used by the indigenous people and passed down from generations to treat several diseases. One of these is Diabetes mellitus. Lately, the efficacies of some of these herbs have also been verified by several scientific studies. However, always consult your doctor before you begin taking any herbal cures to assure their safety in your case, as some of these herbs may react with other medications or produce side effects.
Fenugreek is bitter with an inherent ability to improve the production of glucose-dependent insulin, thus improving your glucose tolerance to reduce the sugar in your bloodstream. Plus, it’s rich fiber content slackens the rate of carbohydrate absorption in your body to again bring down the blood sugar levels. It’s simple to prepare too. Just infuse a glass of water with a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds overnight and have the water with the seeds first thing in the morning. Doing this daily for a month or two is likely to aid in keeping your blood sugars normal.
Bitter gourd or bitter melon has been found to reduce acute blood sugar levels in some studies. It works to positively influence the overall glucose breakdown and absorption in your body instead of just working on a few organs. It also improves the production of insulin in your pancreas. Bitter gourd can be cooked it a variety of ways to benefit from its hypoglycemic effects, but the best way is to have half a glass of diluted bitter gourd juice daily preferably in the mornings on an empty stomach.
Animal studies on the hypoglycemic activity of Gymnema Sylvestre have shown that it may reduce fasting blood sugars greatly by influencing regeneration of the insulin producing islet cells in the pancreas, in addition to increasing the insulin storing functions of the beta-cells. An Indian study also recorded raised insulin levels in the blood stream of diabetics taking Gymnema Sylvestre supplements along with their regular DM medications.
Coccinia indica or ivy gourd is a traditional herb used in Ayurveda or traditional Indian medicine for its many health benefits. It has shown promise in controlling blood sugar levels in diabetics by mimicking the action of insulin.
Indian Black berries contain beneficial compounds like ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and hydrolysable tannins that are effective in reducing your blood sugar levels. This has also been backed by some scientific findings that have shown the seeds and fruits of this herb to decrease sugar levels in the blood and urine after consumption. These fruits are easy on your taste buds too unlike most bitter tasting anti-diabetic herbs. Having a bowlful of fresh Indian black berries when available or consuming their supplements may go a long way in keeping your sugar levels satisfactory.
Bonus! 3 Homeopathic Remedies for Diabetes
Homeopathy remedies are often very useful in treating the symptoms of diabetes. Following is a list of a few homeopathic remedies for diabetes based on its symptoms. However, for better results consult a homeopathist to get a constitutional prescription based on your individual case history. Constitutional prescriptions in homeopathy are likely to provide better and more long lasting results in chronic illnesses like diabetes mellitus.
This remedy is prepared from the Indian Black berries and is extremely effective in reducing the fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels, in addition to curbing symptoms like frequent urination and fatigue. Taking 2-3 drops of the Syzygium Jambo mother tincture in a glass of water daily is recommended for diabetics.
This remedy works well for individuals with an increased frequency of pale or milky urine with mental anxiety, extreme exhaustion, and unquenchable thirst. Acidum Phosphoricum 200 twice a day is likely to help with your blood sugar levels and symptoms.
Even before conventional medicine began using insulin, a Parisian physician Dr. Pierre Jousset used pancreatic juice in a glycerin base to treat diabetes homeopathically. Interestingly, this was very similar to the insulin we use today. The homeopathic remedy Insulin 30 or Insulin 200 taken once a day may help maintain blood and urine sugar levels.
Don’t let diabetes overwhelm you. It does come with unwelcome adjustments, but it isn’t insurmountable. A few smart dietary adjustments coupled with the correct herbal and natural therapies along with your regular diabetes medications is perhaps the ideal formula for reigning in your erratic blood sugar levels. Start today!
1. Ethan Basch, MD; Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD; Grace Kuo, PharmD; Philippe Szapary, MD; Michael Smith, MRPharmS, ND, ‘Therapeutic Applications of Fenugreek’, Altern Med Rev 2003;8(1):20-27
2. Richard Nahas, MD CCFP, ‘Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes’, Can Fam Physician 2009 Jun; 55(6): 591–596.
3. Baby Joseph, D Jini, ‘Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency’, Asian Pac J Trop Dis. 2013 Apr; 3(2): 93–102. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4027280/
4. Miura T, Itoh Y, Iwamoto N, Kato M, Ishida T, ‘Suppressive activity of the fruit of Momordica charantia with exercise on blood glucose in type 2 diabetic mice’, Biol Pharm Bull. 2004 Feb;27(2):248-50.
5. Asare-Anane, H; Huang, GC; Amiel, SA; Jones, PM; Persaud, SJ (2005). "Stimulation of insulin secretion by an aqueous extract of Gymnema sylvestre: role of intracellular calcium". Endocrine Abstracts 10: DP1.
8. James Tyler Kent, MD, Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica