The dramatic increase in the prevalence of diabetes, with about 90-95% having Type II diabetes has led to an increase in the incidence rates of its related complications like retinopathy, coronary artery disease, stroke etc., which today are considered to be a major cause for the rise in mortality rates, all across the world.
Most importantly, diabetic patients need to maintain a well-balanced diet that is high in fiber, low in sweets and saturated fat, exercise to speed up metabolic activity and constantly keep monitoring the levels of glucose using the easily available kits in the market.
Natural treatments especially the usage of herbs, are being exclusively explored by the scientific community, that can be used besides the standard treatment under the supervision of a professional health practitioner. Some of them are listed below:
Home remedies for Type II Diabetes
Berberine, a known antibiotic drug has been shown by Australian scientists at Sydney’s Garvan Institute to possess anti-diabetic properties since it activates an enzyme in the liver and muscle that help in improving insulin sensitivity. Foods containing berberine like barberries, cranberry and herbs like bloodroot, celandine can be used as an effective natural treatment to lower sugar levels and also for weight loss.
Cinnamon appears to help increase insulin sensitivity by stimulating insulin receptors of fat cells and hence can lower blood glucose levels and body weight. A study in Diabetes Care showed that, 1-6 grams of cinnamon daily for 40 days resulted in the reduction of blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Cinnamon can either be taken in its powdered form as half a teaspoon each morning for 40 days or it can be sprinkled into coffee, herbal tea or added to oatmeal or cereal.
Many studies conducted so far have shown that North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) decreases blood sugar levels by modulating the levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (a form of hemoglobin in the blood used to monitor blood glucose levels). Researchers found that a 3 gram dose of ginseng lowered blood sugar level by 59.1%.
It is mostly used as an energy booster in herbal drinks, tea, energy drinks and as a food additive. However gingsen can interact with certain drugs used to treat Type II diabetes and hence must be taken under the strict supervision of a doctor.
Most conventionally used for healing wounds, skin diseases and ulcers, a recent Japanese study has found that aloe vera also consists of a number of active phytosterol compounds that could reduce blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels. It also increases the absorption of vitamins C and E that in turn help control sugar levels. A tablespoonful of aloe juice can be taken twice a day to help maintain insulin flow and lower blood sugar levels.
With trace amounts of minerals like zinc and magnesium, it blocks the inactivation of insulin by liver and is beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risks of diabetes and its long-term effects. Eaten regularly in its raw form or half a teaspoon of its paste on an empty stomach every morning can prove effective to maintain blood sugar levels.
Popularly termed as “plant-insulin”, it is known to contain compounds with blood sugar lowering effects that increase the number of beta cells in the pancreas improving the body’s capacity to produce insulin and prevent absorption of glucose in the intestine thereby improving glucose tolerance in Type II diabetics. It can either be consumed raw several times during the day or its pieces could be boiled in water which can be filtered and consumed every morning.
Indian gooseberry, with its high vitamin C content, is known to stimulate islets of Langerhans, the cells of the pancreas whose role is to secrete the hormone insulin. Mix 10 ml of amla’s fresh juice with 2 grams of turmeric powder and drink it twice a day to diminish blood sugar levels and it also improves vitality and strength.
Black Berry (kala jamun)
Known to be the best fruit for controlling diabetes, its seeds are being used in ayurveda from time immemorial to control blood sugar levels. The jamun bark is used to treat thirst caused by diabetes (polydipsia) and also to control bleeding during infections. One spoon of Indian Black berry (Jamun) seed powder taken with water on an empty stomach and 3-4 times a day can tone up the pancreas which is responsible for producing insulin in the body.
The most important benefit of inositol, a member of B vitamin family is that it enhances the sensitivity of insulin, thereby keeping diabetes under control. It also reduces the risk factors for diabetes like hyperinsulinemia, especially in case of women diabetic patients suffering from PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome).
It is found exclusively in wheat germ, brown rice, oats, brewer’s yeast, nuts, cabbage, etc. As suggested by the federal health authorities of US, the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) value for inositol is 1 g per day whose value can however vary for a diabetic patient depending on the severity of the problem.
Neem and Cucumber
Neem enhances insulin receptor sensitivity and is also known a s a wonder drug to treat the related consequences of diabetes namely hypertension, heart disease, blindness etc. Seven neem leaves can be chewed every morning on an empty stomach. Additionally, seven leaves of neem can also be added to the juice of one cucumber, one tomato and one bitter gourd to reduce sugar levels. Cucumber is known to help in the production of a hormone required by the beta cells of the pancreas to produce insulin hormone.
There exist a lot of other combinations of herbs that lower the blood sugar levels but these should be taken after obtaining consent from a health professional since the drugs in use can interact with the home remedies leading to life-threatening consequences. Even though diabetes can lead to debilitating consequences, it can still be controlled by using a comprehensive plan involving a well balanced diet, a right exercise regimen and effective natural remedies to attain the target range of blood sugar levels.