There are great number of evidence suggesting that the use carefully chosen herbal remedies and dietary supplements can help to prevent diabetes and to keep it under control in those people who have already developed it. Herbal remedies, dietary supplements, and correct life style changes, all together in combination may reduce or eliminate the need for medication in diabetics. It also helps in preventing some of the tissue and organ damage associated with uncontrolled blood sugar levels.
Diabetes has been treated with plant medicines. Those herbs that are most effective are relatively non-toxic.
Hence, the common herbs used in diabetes are as follow.
(1) INDIAN KINO, MALABAR KINO
The tree (Pterocarpus massupium) is the source of the Kino of the European pharmacopeas. This herb has a long history of use in India as a treatment for diabetes. It has actually been used to regenerate functional pancreatic beta cells. No other drug or natural agent has been shown to generate this activity. The flavonoid, epicatechin, extracted from the bark of this plant has been shown to prevent alloxan –induced beta cell damage in rats.
(2) GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE (Gurmar, Cherukurinja)
Gymnema helps the pancreas to produce Insulin in Type 2 diabetes. It also improves the ability of insulin to lower blood sugar in both Type I and Type 2 diabetes. It decreases cravings for sweet. Some people use to take near about 500 mg per day of gymnema extract.
(3) BLUEBERRY LEAVE
Leave of the Blue berry are commonly used by the folk since many years, for the treatment of diabetes. It is most active ingredients is myrtillin (an anthocyanoside). Its single dose produces beneficial effects lasting several weeks. Blueberry leaves also increases capillary integrity, inhibit free-radical damage and improve the tone of the vascular system. It can be also in the treatment of eye disease chiefly diabetic retinopathy.
(4) ASIAN GINSENG
Asian ginseng is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diabetes. It has been shown to enhance the release of insulin from the pancreas and to increase the number of insulin receptors. It also has a direct blood sugar-lowering effect.
(5) GINKGO BILOBA
Ginkgo biloba extract may prove useful for prevention and treatment of early stage diabetic neuropathy.
It lowers the risk of diabetic complications such as diabetic cataracts and retinopathy.
It does not show direct anti diabetic effect, but its use as a sweetener could reduce the intake of sugars in diabetic patients.
Cinnamon is derived from the bark of a tree of the laurel family. In addition to spicing up foods; it also relieves stomach gas, eases nausea, and treat the loss of appetite. More than a decade ago, the researchers have discovered that Cinnamon makes fat cells more responsive to insulin. Cinnamon increases the conversion of glucose to energy by twenty times. It also blocks the formation of dangerous free radicals. Reduction in the free radical activity, helps to slow down the progression of diabetic complications.
Fenugreek, when taken internally, reduces blood sugar, increases lactation and enhances wound healing. Fenugreek is cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region. The fenugreek plant produces seeds that have long history of use for various remedies, such as treating loss of appetite, digestive problems and inflammation of the skin. The fenugreek seeds are rich in fibres is mainly responsible for the herbs blood sugar lowering effect. The seeds also contains and active compound called trigonelline which acts as a blood-sugar lowering agent.
(10) INDIAN GOOSEBERRY
It is also known as Amla. Amala is very rich in Vitamin C. It has near about 20 times the vitamin C content of grapefruit and 15 times that of lemon. In dried amla (pieces or powdered) vitamins are retained and protected due to the natural antioxidant properties of the fruit. One teaspoon of Amla juice is mixed with a cup of bitter gourd juice and is used for diabetic patients. It is because amla contains the properties due to which it stimulates the Pancreas which secrete insulin for reducing blood sugar. Amla seeds or dried Amla are equally useful for controlling diabetes. Amla also serves several other functions such as it produces cooling effect and reduces body heat. It also inhibit phlegm and bile. It also increases the production of semen and thus helps in urinary and gynaecological problems. Amla is also good for lungs problems. It also reduces body fat, improves hair texture and eye health.
It can be used safely in diabetics because the sweetening agents used in it are, Aspartame and saccharin. It can be taken in the form of seeds or in the form of husk. It can be used during pregnancy and breast-feeding because ispaghula husk is not absorbed by the body. But them also doctor’s advice is necessary. It can be used in vegetarians because it does not contain any animal by-products. Ispaghula is also used to relieve constipation and are known to be as bulk forming to be as bulk-forming laxatives. This is to be used with care by individuals with diabetes. In case of diabetics, it controls blood sugar by inhibiting the excessive absorption of sugar from the instestines.
(12) MANGO LEAVES
The mango enjoys a unique status among the fruits. It is also known as the King of Asiatic Fruits. It is considered as a valuable item for both diet and a house hold remedy. But in addition it also possesses medicinal properties. Its leaves are of the utmost importance in diabetics. Mango tree has tender leaves which helps in lowering the blood glucose level in diabetics. The fresh leaves of mango are soaked in water for an overnight. Then they are squeezed well in the water before filtering them in the morning. Thus, this prepared infused water is taken every morning to control early diabetes. If patients don’t want to prepared infusion, then the leaves can be dried in shade, powdered and preserved. Half a teaspoonful of this powder is to be taken twice a day that is in the morning and evening.
The mango is of high value in diarrhoea heart stroke, gastrointestinal disorders, etc. The fruit is grown widely in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Philippines. In Vedas, mango is praised as a heavenly fruit. The mango is used as food in all stage of its development. Green or unripe mango contains large amount of starch. It disappears completely when the fruit is fully ripe. Green mango is a rich source of pectin. Unripe mango is sour in taste.
(13) NEEM (MARGOSA)
In ancient times neem was the most celebrated medicinal plant of India. The leaves of the Margosa tree posses’ anti-diabetic properties. The juices of these leaves are helpful in controlling the blood sugar levels in diabetics. Neem is in fact a herbal medicine used for treatment of various other diseases also such as skin problems, warm infections, ulcers, gingivitis, head lice, heart disease, etc. The other names of Neem are Bead Tree, Holy Tree, Indian Lilac, and Pride of China. Neem is mainly believed to be an air purifier and thus is used as preventive measure against malarial fever and cholera. The use of neem is treatment of diabetes consist of use of about five milliliter of juice of neem on and empty stomach early in the morning. This treatment should be continued for at least three months.
(14) CURRY LEAVES
The curry leaves are of high value in people suffering from diabetes because it contains lots of herbal properties. Curry leaves are usually made into chutney. Juice of curry leaves can also be made, which is then incorporated into buttermilk or lassi. Curry-leaves are of great value in losing weight and therefore they are of great importance in the treatment of diabetes occurs as a result of obesity. It is because due to reduction in weight, the diabetic patient stops passage of sugar in urine. It has been known that by eating ten fully grown curry leaves every morning for at least three months will prevent diabetes of heredity related. Although the curry leaves are little bitter but they are very beautiful.
(15) SWEET POTATO LEAVES
The leaves of sweet potato are of high value in preventing diabetes, by lowering blood sugar level. The sweet potato is grown all over India. It is highly nutritious vegetable, is pinkish in colour and contains starch contents. Preparation of sweet potato leaves is used in the tea of diabetic patients. Near about 60 g of fresh laves or 30 g of dry leaves of sweet potato are mixed with 100 g of fresh skin or 12 g of dry skin of ash gourd. They are then cut into small pieces and boiled in water.
The Indian name for Madhuca is Madhua. It is also possess excellent antidiabetic properties and is therefore highly beneficial in treating raised blood glucose levels. Commonly the Madhuca Tree posses a large bark of near about 20 metre in height and there is spreading top.
(17) TENNER’S CASSIA
It is a shrub and just grows up to 30 to 60 cms in height. It is useful in treating diabetes. It may be used as a whole plant, bud or its flower or seeds. The powder of Tenner’s Cassia may also be used by mixing with honey. The use of plants to treat diabetes is a centuries-old practice, dating back to ancient Egyptian physicians in 1550 B.C. Nowadays it has been observed that the oral diabetes drugs have also been derived from herbs. The oral diabetic drug Metformin (Glucophage) originated from goat’s rue or French lilac, an herb used to treat diabetes since medieval times. Metformin is the only diabetes drug that has its origin from a botanical source. Worldwide, more than four hundred herbal remedies have been described for managing diabetes.
Anti diabetic powder is also available nowadays. It is known to be 100 % natural made by crushing seeds and leaves of various rare fruits and plants, possessing various medicinal properties. Their contents are Jambul seeds, bitter gourd seeds, Gurmar, Goosberry (Amla) leaves, Bael leaves, Neem leaves, etc.