Diabetes also known as Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired or damaged, this results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine. High blood sugar exhibits increased hunger, increased thirst, and frequent urination and if left untreated can cause several complications including eye damage, heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure and foot ulcers. Diabetes mellitus develops when the pancreas doesn’t produce sufficient insulin or the body shows resistance to insulin.
There are no known preventive measures for diabetes but it can be mitigated by maintaining a normal body weight, regular exercises, and healthful diet, regulating or keeping your sugar levels on check.
Several common herbs and spices are known to have blood sugar lowering properties that make them useful for people with diabetes. Recent studies show potential links between herbal therapies and improved blood glucose control which can help people with diabetes manage their conditions.
The following was discovered to have shown promise in lowering or controlling blood sugar, reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol and boosting insulin sensitivity:
1. Gymnema sylvestre (Miracle Fruit)
Commonly known as the miracle fruit, early studies indicate that gymnema extract (GS4) can significantly reduce blood sugar. It is known as one of the most powerful herbs for blood-sugar control. It boosts the activity of enzymes that help stimulate the production of insulin. Though it hasn’t been studied extensively, it's not known to cause serious side effects. Gymnema sylvestre is native to the tropical forests of Sri Lanka, and southern and central India.
2. Bitter Melon (Ampalaya)
Also known as bitter gourd, bitter squash and balsam-spear is widely grown in Asia and is very popular for its anti-diabetic properties. It has at least three active substances which can be used to aid against diabetes including charantin, which is confirmed to have a blood glucose lowering effect, vicine and polypeptide-p, an insulin-like compound. The bitter melon is believed to help cells use glucose more effectively and block sugar absorption in the intestines.
Also known as allium. It is widely believed found that moderate amounts of garlic supplements could give benefits to diabetes patients. Cooked garlic, aged or raw garlic extract can help regulate blood glucose and potentially stop or lower the effects of some diabetes complications. Garlic can also fight infections, reduce LDL or bad cholesterol and aid blood flow.
4. Aloe Vera
Recent studies reveal that Aloe Vera has many benefits. It is known to lower LDL or bad cholesterol, increase HDL or good cholesterol, stabilize heart rhythm, lower blood pressure and reduce triglycerides. Aside from its popular use in dermatology, Aloe Vera can lower blood sugar levels and stimulate the secretion of insulin.
Used in both savory and sweet foods, the cinnamon is quite popular for its anti-diabetic properties and as medicine for bronchitis. Its uses date back for thousands of years. Cassia cinnamon can cut cholesterol by 18% and can lower sugar levels by 24%. It is widely used as aid against diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.