Herbal Therapies for Diabetes
Diabetes Herbal Therapies
As you prick your finger for the millionth time and watch that little red sphere blossom, do you wish there was something else you could be doing? Maybe your sugars today are a little high. Maybe your doctor mentioned upping your medications. The good news is there are options.
Herbal remedies for diabetes exists, but take that with a grain of salt. Yes, they can give you control of your sugars and can make your numbers look much better. But, they’re not going to cure you or allow you to eat all of the cakes, candies, pastries you want.
If you're looking for solutions to help holistically get diabetes under control, continue reading on!
Do Herbal Therapies for Diabetes Work?
Yes, various herbs help bring down your blood glucose levels naturally. When used properly, they can supplement a proper diet and medication to keep your numbers under control, reduce your A1C, and help restore your body to a healthier, natural state.
They don’t work when you eat lots of cake or ice cream. If you overwhelm your body with sugar, no herb is going to help you. No known herb will help prevent the side effects of having too much sugar for too long.
The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
There’s a big difference in the way of herbs work for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder and herbs cannot replace the way the body works or the insulin you take. They can help injectable insulin work better and keep your body healthy. So, they are useful and beneficial.
For people with type 1 diabetes, using some of these herbs can help give you more freedom and more choices.
Type 2 diabetes typically is a lifestyle-caused disease that comes from overeating sugar over too long period of time. Many of these herbs will help your body work better and restore it to homeostasis.
Often in type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance is prevalent. That means many of the cells have closed themselves off from receiving too much sugar and insulin. When combined with a diet that lowers the total sugars you’ve taken in, many of these herbs can help reverse insulin resistance.
In many people, the pancreas gets worn out, producing so much insulin over so long a time. Some of these herbs help restore and refresh the pancreas so your body can naturally produce more of its own.
Lifestyle & Diet Changes to Control Diabetes
For people with diabetes, a lower carbohydrate diet is essential to keeping your body healthy. The fewer carbohydrates you take in, the less insulin your body requires.
Before injectable insulin, the only treatment for diabetes was herbal remedies and an extremely low to no carbohydrate diet. You don’t need to cut back that far.
Following a lower carbohydrate diet means you eliminate high carbohydrate foods, including bread, pasta, candies, pastries, cookies, pre-packaged foods, and anything with added sugar.
Lower carbohydrate diets focus on healthy fruits and vegetables, quality cuts of meat, eggs, and a minimum amount of 100% whole grains. Many type 2 diabetics who followed this kind of diet see a fast reversal in their A1C numbers.
Fortunately, if you follow a lower carbohydrate diet, occasional small treats at a birthday party or holiday can be tolerated.
Since carbohydrates are our preferred energy source, exercise is a perfect way to burn those carbs. Exercising daily is recommended for diabetics. If you are not exercising, walking 10 to 15 minutes every day is a great start.
Herbal Remedies for Diabetes
Many herbs for diabetes produce great results when used correctly. You want to get a quality supplement that have the testing to provide the quality of ingredients.
Choosing to eat the various herbs and spices is a tasty eat way to get in the health benefits. You do need to be careful, however, as some of these herbs require higher amounts and that can cause problems. The cinnamon and chromium are two you don’t want to over eat, but supplements are great.
On the other hand, the brown seaweed is great in a supplement and when eating whole. In fact, it’s great sprinkled in soups and on salads for the salty flavor.
Cinnamon is a wonderfully tasty spice that helps control your blood sugars. But, you have to be very careful about which type of cinnamon you get. There are two main types of cinnamon sold in the US, Ceylon or true cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum, and Cassia cinnamon, Cinnamomum cassia. They are incredibly similar in taste, but not in health benefits.
True cinnamon is more expensive and not common. But, it contains significantly more antioxidants. Cassia cinnamon is sold in the grocery stores as cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon. Although not quite as potent, cassia cinnamon still contains a high amount of antioxidants and will give you some of the benefits.
If you do choose to use cassia cinnamon, stick to less than half a teaspoon per day. Cassia cinnamon contains a substance called coumarin that can cause liver damage if you take too much over too long a period.
Try using the Ceylon cinnamon because of the higher levels of antioxidants. Supplements are the most common form. It has one of the highest amounts of antioxidants out of all of the commonly available herbs and spices. Cinnamon itself helps lower blood sugar because it can imitate the effects of insulin and increase the transportation of glucose into cells, thus, lowering insulin resistance. Amazingly, this happens nearly immediately after ingesting cinnamon and lasts between 12 hours and two weeks.
It even may help reduce complications of diabetes. It’s shown in some studies to reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, blood high blood pressure, and may be able to help retard the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Chromium an essential mineral used in several processes in the body, and especially in the regulation of blood sugar. It’s one of the signaling mechanisms to move insulin into the body. But, as insulin moves into our cells, the chromium is lost. So, we have to replace chromium continuously.
However, studies are conflicted about whether chromium supplementation works or not. There are many excellent studies to show that supplementing with the right type of chromium, chromium picolinate or chromium pidolate, at higher levels we're successful in reducing A1C and fasting glucose numbers. But, several studies showed no changes.
If you choose to supplement with chromium, be sure to choose a good supplement and uses it as part of an overall healthy diet.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
ALA is a vitamin-like antioxidant that helps improve neurological function and supports other antioxidants such as vitamin E and vitamin C. It works throughout the body to break down carbohydrates and for energy processing. It’s particularly crucial to the brain, because it may help prevent oxidative damage when the brain is injured.
When it comes to diabetes, ALA is used to help reduce pain and neuropathy, especially in the arms and legs. It can lower your overall blood glucose. In Germany, high dose ALA is a treatment and nerve-related problems.
This herb is becoming more popular in the US and used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s a traditional remedy for diabetes, malaria, and snake bites.
Gymnemic acid helps reduce our desire for sugary foods because it helps block the sugar receptors on your taste buds. This means food tastes less sweet and reduces the appeal of sugary foods. This acid also helps reduce the absorption of glucose from your intestine.
For people with prediabetes or early stages of type 2 diabetes, Gymnema may help stimulate the production of insulin in your pancreas, and in some studies has been shown to help the islets cells that produce the insulin regenerate.
Some people find it odd that you would eat seaweed, but seaweed is an extremely nutritious and healthy food. In fact, dried seaweed is over 50% vitamins and minerals. You want to make sure you get the authentic brown seaweed, such as Norwegian kelp or bladderwrack, but all seaweeds are nutritious.
Seaweeds help slow down the digestion and absorption of glucose by inhibiting the enzymes that break down sugar into the simple molecules. It’s also been shown in studies to help reduce blood sugar levels, although the exact mechanism isn’t known yet.
Brown seaweed has been studied in other cases that improve skin health, increases weight loss, and may help in cancer prevention.
Controlling Diabetes Naturally
If you need injectable insulin, these herbs will not replace that. But, they can be an essential stepping stone to getting to a place where you're healthy enough not to need insulin at all. Use these herbs wisely in combination with a healthy diet and exercise, and you can restore your body to health.
If you're in the early stages of type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetic, using a diet lower in carbohydrates and these supplements will help you return your body to a state of health.
- Joshua Lovern