Diabetes is becoming a problem worldwide, not only in industrialized countries like the United States but developing nations like India. Diabetes is associated with an array of health problems, including heart disease, blindness, neuropathy and kidney failure and it constitutes a serious health risk. In response, Indian researchers have been studying many traditional herbs and are finding that some of them have properties that make them valuable as treatments for this condition. Below, 5 of these herbal remedies for diabetes are discussed.
Commonly used in paranthas, curries, and other Indian dishes, this spice has many health benefits. Researchers have discovered that it can help treat diabetes by reducing the speed with which sugars are digested in the stomach. It also appears to be able to stimulate the pancreas into producing insulin. Both of these actions could help to lower a diabetic’s overall blood sugar levels.
Bitter gourd is commonly served in Indian cuisine as a sauce, with many other flavors present to mask its taste. Several studies have found that extracts from this gourd help to inhibit the digestive action of the alpha glucosidase enzyme, which breaks down glucose and causes a rise in blood sugar levels. In this way, it mimics the role that insulin itself plays in digestion and could go a long way to improving diabetic outcomes naturally.
Compounds from this deciduous tree, which is common in the Deccan province of India, are able to help diabetics by greatly reducing the absorption of glucose in the small intestines. The inhibition of this process leads to an overall drop in blood sugar. This ability makes it another potential tool in treating diabetes with natural, traditional remedies.
Leaves from this climbing shrub contain chemicals called saponins and gymnemic acids that, like pterocarpus, seem to have an effect on the rate at which glucose is absorped in the intestines during the digestive process. It also is useful as an appetite suppressant which could help diabetics lose weight, something which can greatly improve their condition.
In Indian medicine, guduchi has traditionally been used for its adaptogenic properties — that is, it is useful to help the body react to stress and the physical issues which can accompany it. However, it, too is proving useful as an anti-diabetes therapy. Like bitter gourd, it has been shown to reduce the breakdown of glucose by acting upon the alpha glucosidase enzyme. Overall, this means that glucose is digested more slowly and does not cause harmful spikes in the blood sugar levels.
As diabetes becomes more of a pandemic, it is certain that researchers from all over the world will be at work trying to find ways to combat it. The research done on possible future applications of traditional Indian herbs may offer one solution to this growing health issue and improve the lives of the millions of people who are struggling with this chronic condition.