In traditional medicine systems around the world, diabetes is treated with herbs. Modern scientific studies have found sufficient evidence of the efficacy and safety of herbs for the treatment of diabetes. Anti-diabetes herbs reduce the blood sugar level in diabetics primarily by stimulating secretion of the hormone insulin, which is deficient in people suffering from diabetes, or reducing absorption of sugar in the stomach and intestine.
Best Herbs for the Treatment of Diabetes
Numerous laboratory studies and clinical trials have documented the hypoglycemic effect of bitter melon. Studies have revealed that the fruits and seeds of the bitter melon plant contain compounds called saponins that help to increase insulin production by repairing the damaged beta pancreatic cells.
Moreover, an insulin-like compound called charantin present in bitter melon helps to reduce the glucose level in people suffering from insulin dependent diabetes. By lowering the blood sugar level, bitter melon also helps to diminish the risk of developing diabetes related complications.
Gymnema Sylvestre is a popular herb used for treating diabetes. The leaves of the plant contain gymnemic acid, a hypoglycemic compound, which normalizes the glucose level in diabetics by increasing insulin secretion. Scientists speculate that the anti-diabetic phytochemical in the herb aids regeneration of the residual beta cells in the pancreas of insulin-dependent diabetics.
Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly pear cactus, also known as nopal, is widely recommended in South American folklore for treating diabetes. While investigating the anti-diabetic effect of the stems of prickly pear cactus, scientists have identified polysaccharides in the herb with hypoglycemic properties.
The edible cactus also contains pectin and fibers that inhibit sugar absorption in the gut, thereby reducing the level of sugar circulating in the blood.
The leaves of bilberry are beneficial for people bothered by high blood sugar levels. Bilberry leaves are especially effective in preventing diabetes related complications. Flavonoids present in the leaves of the plant improve circulation, thereby improving wound healing and reducing the risk of developing numbness in the feet. The flavonoids in bilberry leaves are also good for the eyes. They can diminish the risk of diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes can also be brought under control with the herb ginseng. Out-of-control diabetes is primarily responsible for diabetes related complications. Researchers have observed that taking a specific amount of ginseng daily for about 12 weeks helps to normalize the hemoglobin A1C level, which indicates that the diabetes in under control.
Fenugreek seeds can be taken to bring down the blood sugar level. The seeds contain phytochemicals that activate the beta cells in the pancreas, thereby stimulating insulin secretion. Moreover, fibers present in the seeds reduce sugar absorption in the stomach and intestine, lowering the level of sugar in the blood naturally.
Cinnamon is beneficial for diabetics. Studies have shown that diabetics can experience around 24 percent reduction in the blood sugar level within forty days by consuming one to six grams of cinnamon each day. Cinnamon contains phytochemicals called polyphenols and the mineral chromium that stimulate insulin secretion.