I recently suffered debilitating headaches and brain fog to the effect that I was unable to work. Trips to the doctor yielded no results. Neither I, nor the doctor suspected diabetes because a few months prior I had normal blood sugars during tests for another problem. By the time a random blood test spotted it, my fasting blood sugars were well into the 400’s. And I was starting to feel better by then, so I knew they had been even higher. This was the beginning of a complete lifestyle change for me. I wanted to be around and enjoy watching my grandchildren grow up, so something had to be done.
I immediately started researching herbal treatments, as well as diets for diabetics. Some of my more significant findings are presented here.
Diabetes is presented as a progressive disease with a lifelong sentence of drugs and watching your diet. However, I found that many herbal remedies have benefits similar to the pharmaceutical drugs, without the side effects. And I discovered that complete control of your blood sugar is possible with the right diet.
The remedies presented here are effective for Type 2 Diabetes and may be helpful for Type 1 Diabetes. Consult your doctor when using these remedies, you may need your medicines reduced or adjusted.
Casisia Cinnamon can dramatically lower fasting blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
A recent study published in the American Diabetes Association Journal found that taking 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon daily produced a significant decrease in plasma glucose levels, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
The full effects are seen over time. The study lasted for 40 days, with improvement ranging from an 18 to 29% reduction in glucose values by the end of the study. Serum triglyceride levels decreased too.
Six grams of cinnamon a day seems like a lot, but I aim to use about 2 grams per meal. You can add it to food and put it in a smoothie or your tea. If you don’t like the flavor or find it challenging to take 2 grams at each meal, pack the cinnamon into gelatin capsules. Each capsule holds about 500 mg, so take 4 at each meal.
Amla or Indian Gooseberry
A 2015 paper published in the Research Journal of Recent Sciences affirms the potential benefits of using Amla or Indian Gooseberry to lower blood sugar levels.
Amla is available at ethnic stores in many different forms.
I have used both pickled gooseberries and powdered amla with positive results. You only need a small amount, about equal to one gooseberry daily.
Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd
Bitter Melon acts to lower blood glucose levels and regulates insulin use by the body. Eating a bite or two of bitter melon with each meal is all you need, or you can take bitter melon extract.
Bitter melon is known to also prevent complications of diabetes, including kidney damage, heart complications, eye problems, blood vessel damage, and hormone problems.
According to a 2013 review of Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency, evidence suggests that bitter melon helps the pancreas to heal, produce more insulin, and use insulin more efficiently.
Aloe Vera has been touted as a cure for most everything, but much of its fame is well deserved. This plant produces a gel inside the leaf that has all the medicinal benefits.
A few people are allergic to Aloe Vera and should not use it, but for most it has plenty of benefits. A 2012 review of research published in Natural Medicine Journal discussed its use in many healing roles.
Aloe Vera reduces the inflammation that is associated with diabetes. It also normalizes enzymatic activity to reduce blood sugar and works with other herbs or diabetes medications to increase their benefits. It is also helpful in healing diabetics wounds when applied directly to the wound.
To harvest Aloe Vera from the plant, cut the plant leaf and split it open to scrape the gel from the center. A daily dose of two tablespoons taken orally is enough to get the full benefits. Commercial preparations may be of benefit, but their use is untested.
Greater Burdock Root
Greater Burdock Root has many beneficial effects on the body. It improves the digestion and lowers blood sugar in diabetics.
Fresh root has the most effect, but powdered root can also be used. Peel fresh root and boil it or cook it in some way, or use 1 to 2 grams of powdered root per dose.
Take burdock root with each meal. Fresh burdock root also helps prevent and heal diabetic complications, such as diabetic neuropathy and eye problems.
Fenugreek has saponins, alkaloids, phenolic acids, and other ingredients that increase the release of insulin and improve the use of insulin in the body.
It helps improve insulin resistance and stimulates glycolysis.
Common dosages are 25 to 100 g of powdered fenugreek seeds, or 1 to 6 grams of extract daily. These amounts can be used in food or taken in capsule form.
Ginseng, including American Ginseng, has a variety of benefits for diabetics. It helps regulate blood sugar and promotes the secretion of insulin, which reduces and smooths out post-meal spikes.
It also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the progression of diabetes.
Ginseng helps with some of the related problems of diabetes, also. It helps lower high blood pressure and provides protection to the heart and eyes when used regularly.
This is not the banana-like fruit known as plantain, but a water plant that grows in moist, swamp-like conditions. Once you’ve located a source, you can eat it as part of your daily diet.
Fresh and dried water plantain roots are medicinal, along with the leaves and seeds. All parts of the plant should be cooked before use and taken daily for best results.
Water plantain lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics and improves insulin use in the body. It is also beneficial to other organs to prevent complications from diabetes. Water plantain is beneficial to the kidneys and liver, preventing or treating fatty liver. It improves blood pressure and associated heart problems, and aids the digestion.
My husband has been a diabetic for several years now. He gained good control of his blood sugar levels by eating a very low fat, plant-based diet, but it did not work well enough for me when I was first diagnosed. My blood sugar levels were initially way out of control and the plant-based diet brought them down, but not enough. I was going to need some serious drugs.
I happened on some information on using the keto diet for diabetes and tried it. Keto worked like a charm for me. Now we both eat a keto diet and our fasting blood glucose levels are in the normal range (80-120) without any diabetes medications. Our post-meal numbers rapidly return to normal.
The two diets are totally opposite to each other, but both work. When used with the herbal remedies recommended above, you may find excellent results in treating type 2 diabetes without medications. I now need no supplements, but my husband still takes them. He had been a diabetic for many years before starting the diet, so he may need longer to kick the supplements. But the plant-based diet allowed him to get off the two prescription drugs that were tearing up his digestive system and, honestly, not helping very much.
The plant-based diet is high carbohydrates and very low fat, while the keto diet is high fat and low carbs. It seems to me that the answer lies in not eating carbohydrates and fat together, but I have nothing to support that belief.
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