Herbs That Affect Diabetes

Diabetes can be a devastating illness if not cared for and treated properly. Fortunately for diabetics, there are a variety of ways the disorder can be treated. Improved diet and increased exercise are the most common recommendations; however, some diabetics require pharmaceutical drugs to maintain their blood sugar levels and prevent the potentially serious consequences of the disease. There are also some herbal remedies for diabetes that patients may want to look into using to supplementing their treatment plans. Carefully watching their diet, participating in an exercise program, and taking one or more of these herbs under the supervision of a qualified health care provider may with time lessen diabetics’ need for prescription medications.

There is some evidence that aloe vera and ginseng can be beneficial to diabetics by lowering blood sugar levels and keeping blood sugar stable. More research needs to be done on the anti-diabetic properties of both of these herbs, however.

Fenugreek, a common herb used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, has some anti-diabetic properties as well. Trigonelline, gentianine and carpanine can be found in fenugreek seeds. These three compounds are known as alkaloids and are important for the health of diabetics. Trigonelline, gentianine and carpanine all help to reduce glucose in the blood. Fenugreek has also shown to delay the absorption of carbohydrates in the body. It contains amino acids that have been found to promote the production of insulin, and can help the body use insulin more effectively.

For people with type 2 diabetes, milk thistle may be an herbal treatment they may want to look into. Known in herbal remedy circles primarily for its ability to protect the liver and benefit hepatitis sufferers, this herb can also affect diabetes because of silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle. It is thought that when the liver experiences toxic overload, it is less able to eliminate excess glucose, which in turn leads to a buildup of this glucose in the blood. By helping to relieve the liver’s toxic overload, silymarin enables the liver to function better, which means there is less toxic buildup in the blood from glucose.

Cinnamon is another herb that can be useful to diabetics. Cinnamon’s anti-diabetic actions include slowing down digestion. Sugar and carbohydrates are normally processed by the body very quickly, which is what leads to blood sugar highs and subsequent lows. When the rate of digestion is slowed through the activity of the cinnamon, blood sugar remains at a more stable level.

Diabetics with knowledge of the above herbs can use them to maintain balance in their bodies and begin to reclaim their health. Herbal remedies, though effective, often tend to be subtle, and significant beneficial changes in health sometimes do not occur until after there has been prolonged use of the remedy in question. Therefore, it is important to continue with your prescribed treatments while you are taking herbal remedies, provided there are no reactions between them. Be sure to check with your health care provider before you begin an herbal regimen to treat your diabetes.

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