In the XXI century, we have powerful medicines and herbs for diabetes that will allow us to control the glycemic index for people suffering from this disorder. Disorder that, by the way, is increasingly going to more according to net statistics.
Undoubtedly, it is related to the diet we eat (the consumption of sugar above all) and the practice of sports that we do. Faced with this, which we have to force ourselves to take care of ourselves, there are also natural remedies and medicinal plants for diabetes. We talk about control, not healing, but it gives us a wide range of possibilities.
Several clinical studies have been conducted in recent years showing possible links between medicinal therapies and blood glucose control , which has led to an increase in people with this problem using these natural ingredients to help control their disease.
A small introduction to diabetes
Basically, a summary to understand what is diabetes without going into procedures and technical vocabulary, it would be to mention that there is a disorder in how our body metabolizes proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
When there is a “failure”, glucose is not able to be controlled and accumulates in the bloodstream as a result of the deficiency or malfunction of the insulin.
If we talk about numbers, about 3% of the population has this problem, dividing into different types of diabetes, and by 2025 this figure will double (it is expected to be around 5.4%).
Therefore, it is a very worrying disease for the health system of any country and we must take eating habits and sports practice more seriously.
With respect to this article, there are numerous medicinal plants for diabetes, helping in its control and limiting the ups and downs that cause dizziness, sweating, vomiting and in the long term, death.
In fact, current medications that control glucose absorption are far from perfect and require a specific plan for each patient.
Within this plan, the Pharmacognosy (the medicinal use of plants) has a lot to say, if combined with current medicines.
The benefits that many medicinal plants and fruits like the grapefruit Have on diabetes are based on improving the performance of pancreatic tissue (based on flavonoids, terpenoids, alkaloids, glycosides, etc.), improving insulin secretions or reducing intestinal absorption of glucose.
Therefore, this article has been dedicated to the large number of herbs for diabetes that exist in the world, from a point of view of medical relevance and having been investigated by centers of high prestige.
As we always say, any consumption of medicinal plants should be studied and observed by medical personnel, since many of these herbs can interact (inhibit and potentiate) the effects of current medications.
Foods that boost diabetes control
In addition to medicinal plants, there are also everyday foods that we can incorporate into our diet to improve diabetes control. Of course, we already have an idea of the foods that we are going to exclude (fats, sugars, flours, sweets, etc.).
Vegetables, fruits and vegetables
The top of the foods that best control the glycemic index are vegetables and fruits.
Especially among them, those of dark green color (such as broccoli, spinach, collard greens, kale, etc.) are the ones that work best because of their high index of vitamins, calcium, magnesium and fiber.
The low caloric potential they have and the almost zero level of carbohydrates make these vegetables mandatory for people suffering from this disease.
Both the high consumption of fiber and the high concentration of vitamin C, make citrus fruits (orange, mandarin, lemon, grapefruit, etc.) a potential to include in the diet, which can be supplemented with herbs for diabetes, improving the flavor and enhancing the intake of vitamins.
Fish (rich in omega 3)
More and more people tend toencourage the consumption of fish (especially white) against meats (lean and red), since they provide less fat and more bio-healthy components, as in the case of many fish, omega 3.
Nuts and other nuts
All this type of nuts, especially walnuts, have a high amount of vegetable protein. They contain healthy fats, magnesium and plenty of fiber. According to the Journal Nutrition, there is an inverse relationship between the consumption of walnuts and the frequency of onset of diabetes.
In numerical terms, eating 2 servings of nuts a week can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 21%.
List of herbs for diabetes
Although there are many more medicinal plants for diabetes, these are some of those that we have collected, and we will gradually expand information as we have scientific studies that corroborate their potential in the face of this problem.
Both Bauhinia and Myrcia are considered good herbs for diabetes, and are used in many South American countries, such as Brazil. It has been catalogued to Bauhinia forficata as the vegetable insulin.
The same Myrcia uniflora it is used in many regions of South America in tea infusions for this same problem, although recent research has concluded that its potential is much lower than that of Bauhinia.
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
Although we all know it as Aloe Vera, is also referred to as Aloe barbadensis. This multipurpose plant is used in a multitude of problems and is also considered as a medicinal plant for diabetes.
In scientific trials carried out in different universities. treatment with the ethanolic extract of the fresh leaf gel of this plant (300 and 500 mg/kg) in diabetic rats induced with STZ for 42 days resulted in a significant decrease in rapid blood glucose levels.
The hypoglycemic effect this extract can be compared with standard antidiabetic drugs (glibenclamide and metformin), so it opens a wide range of applications and combinations for diabetic people.
Chancapiedra (Phyllanthus amarus)
This herb for diabetes is a medicinal plant known as Phyllanthus amarus, is interesting for its hypoglycemic potential in central and southern India.
Oral administration of ethanolic extract from the leaves (400 mg/kg body weight) for 45 days caused a significant reduction in blood glucose levels in alloxan-induced diabetic mice and led to a significant improvement in the body weight of diabetic mice.
In addition, there was a reduction in the activities of the glucose-6-phosphatase and the fructose 1, 6-di-phosphatase in the liver. The activity of the glucokinase, compared to the control group, increased during treatment in the liver of diabetic rats.
From here, studies applied to humans will begin to study results and study their inclusion in the catalog of herbs for diabetes.
Ivy pumpkin (Coccinia indica)
Coccinia indica, also commonly known as ivy pumpkin, grows spontaneously (wild) in different parts of Asia and India. Traditionally employed in Ayurvedic remedies, the herb has been found to contain mimetic properties of insulin. That is, it can have the same potential as current insulin.
Significant changes in the glycemic control in studies involving Coccinia indica, and experts believe that it should be studied further, so it can be included within the initial list of herbs for diabetes.
Myrcia (Myrcia bella)
This plant belongs to the family of Myrtaceae it has been used by indigenous Brazilians as a traditional medicine as an astringent, diuretic, in treatments for hypertension and diabetes.
The hypoglycemic effects from an ethanolic extract to 70% of the leaves of the plants were investigated in diabetic rats. During a fourteen-day treatment with plant leaf extract (300 to 600 mg/kg body weight), fasting blood glucose was measured weekly.
Treatment with a dose of 600 mg/kg (the highest dose) decreased blood glucose fasting during the seventh day in diabetic mice while cholesterol and triglyceride levels decreased in the treated diabetic group.
These results showed that the extract has hypoglycemic properties and functions by regulating glucose consumption in the liver.
Ficus (Ficus carica)
Ficus carica, commonly known as fig leaf, is considered one of the main herbs for diabetes in Spain and southwestern Europe, although its active component is currently unknown.
Some animal studies suggest that fig leaf facilitates glucose absorption.
The efficacy of the plant, however, has not yet been validated in the treatment of diabetes, so it is still being studied.
Nigela (Nigella sativa)
In the study on the antidiabetic activity of the seeds of Nigella sativa, oral administration of vegetable capsules (at a dose of 2 gr/day) significantly reduced the activities of FBG, 2 HPG and HBA1 without changing the subjects’ body weight.
The results of this study confirmed that the doses applied can be used as adjuvant therapy in people with type 2 diabetes.
Gurma (Gymnema sylvestre)
Gymnema sylvestre it is also used in the traditional Ayurvedic medicine. The plant grows in the tropical forests of southern and central India, and has been linked to a significant drop in blood glucose.
Some animal studies have even reported cell regeneration and an increase in beta cell function.
Bitter melon (Momordica charantia)
The herb for diabetes Momordica Charantia it has a wide variety of vulgar names and is native to some areas of Asia, India, Africa and South America. Marketed as charantia, it is also known as karela or karolla and bitter melon.
The plant can be prepared in different ways and can help diabetics with insulin secretion, glucose oxidation and other processes. Acute effects on blood glucose levels have also been reported.
Common garlic (Allium sativum)
The antidiabetic effects of ethanolic extracts derived from Allium sativum were measured in normal diabetic rats and induced streptozotocin.
Oral administration of the ethanolic extract of this plant for 14 days showed a reduction in the level of serum glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, urea, uric acid, creatinine, AST (aspirate aminotransferase) and ALT (aspirate aminotransferase).
However, this extract increased the serum insulin in diabetic rats, but not in normal rats. Comparison of the yield of garlic extract and 600 mg/kg glibenclamide showed that the antidiabetic activity of the extract is more effective than glibenclamide.
In another study, it revealed that oral administration of ethanolic extract, juice and mature bulb oil of Allium sativum reduces blood glucose in STZ-induced diabetic rats by stimulating insulin secretion from cells of the pancreas.
Daily oral administration of 100 mg/kg garlic extract significantly decreased plasma glucose levels by increasing plasma insulin levels.
Therefore, we can consider common garlic a medicinal plant for diabetes and control of other disorders, and we must include it abundantly in our diet. Goodbye vampires.
Lysergic rose (Argyreia nervosa)
Oral administration of root of Nervous argyreia (500 mg/kg body weight) decreased blood glucose levels in rats without a previous glucose disorder.
When analyzing rats with oral glucose for 2 hours, glucose levels decreased significantly.
After consumption of the extract for a week in diabetic rats, a significant antihyperglycemic effect.
Bryonia (Bryonia alba)
Laboratory studies indicate that oral administration of Bryonia alba (200 mg/kg) for one week provides a significant decrease in glucose level in aloxane-induced diabetic rats.
In addition, there are other studies that corroborate the potential of this plant to include it in the catalog of herbs for diabetes.
Neem tree (Azadirachta indicates)
Administration of leaf extract for 1 month reduced blood glucose levels this time in diabetic rabbits.
This extract had effects similar to those of the antidiabetic drug glibenclamide. Neem extract can control blood glucose and appears to be helpful in preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes.
In another parallel study, the antidiabetic effects of neem were evaluated and it was found that administration of a single dose of aqueous extract from the bark and root (250 mg/kg) can reduce urea (13%), triglycerides (32%), cholesterol (15%), glucose (18%), lipids (15%) and creatinine (23%) in diabetic rats for 24 hours after treatment.
Caraway (Carum carvi) and alcaparo (Capparis spinosa)
The hypoglycemic effects of caraway were determined (Carum carvi) and caper (Capparis spinosa) in normal diabetic rats and streptozotocin (medicine obtained from the fungus Streptomyces achromogenes).
The oral administration A single dose or daily consumption of 14 doses of aqueous extracts of these plants provided a significant reduction in blood glucose levels in diabetic rats.
Blood glucose levels were approximately normal 2 weeks later of the use of both extracts, so it is considered a fairly important advance given the long term it provides.
In addition, no changes in plasma insulin concentrations were observed after treatment in normal diabetic recesses. It seems that the mechanisms of action for these plants are independent of insulin secretions, so this set of herbs for diabetes will have to be studied alongside current medications.
In fact, the antihyperglycemic activities of aqueous extracts of Carum carvi and Capparis spinosa in diabetic rats, the potential effect occurs without affecting the plasma insulin concentration.
From the caraway, apart from being considered a medicinal plant for diabetes, it also has great potential to improve digestion.
Mango (Mangifera indica)
The anti-diabetic properties of Mangifera indica were evaluated in glucose-induced diabetic, normoglycemic, hyperglycemic and streptozotocin rats.
The aqueous extract of this plant leaf decreased the glucose level in hyperglycemia induced by normoglycemia and glucose, however, it did not demonstrate any effect on the group of diabetic mice induced by STZ.
The hypoglycemic effects of the extract are comparable with an oral dose of chlorpromide under the same conditions.
In another study, during the treatment of diabetic rats with mango peel powder, there was an increase in antioxidant activity and lipid peroxidation in plasma, liver and kidney decreased.
Oral administration of the plant leaf (1 gr/kg) did not modify the blood glucose level in normoglycemic agents or in STZ-induced diabetic rats, but when the extract and glucose are administered at the same tiempo, the antidiabetic activity of the extract is observable
The antidiabetic activity of the extract in this study is likely due to lower intestinal glucose absorption.
Aside from being a fruit rich in flavor, antioxidants, vitamins, and other healthy components, mango also has the potential to control glucose.
Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Ocimum sanctum is an herb used in the traditional medicine of many countries, and is commonly known as holy basil.
A controlled clinical trial showed a positive effect on postprandial and fasting glucose, and experts predict that the herb could improve beta cell functioning and facilitate the process of insulin secretion.
Therefore, it could be introduced into the group of herbs for diabetes.
Acacia (Acacia arabica)
In a study that was conducted to evaluate the antidiabetic activity of the acacia plant, oral administration of 200 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg of Acacia bark extract to streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats over a 21-day period increased serum insulin.
In addition, it decreased high serum resistance to glucose and insulin, and improved the lipid profile. This plant contains polyphenols, tannins, and flavonoids (e.g., quercetin). The presence of these substances with antioxidant properties is an explanation of the antidiabetic effects of this plant.
Acacia arabica extract (which shares components along with other diabetes herbs) improves plasma glucose levels, metabolic disorders in lipid metabolism, and oxidative stress in STZ-induced diabetic rats. In addition, the extract the bark of Acacia arabica was used for 2 weeks in diabetic rats, significantly reduced blood glucose level and improved cholesterol, triglyceride, HDL and LDL levels
Nopal or prickly pear (Opuntia streptacantha)
Opuntia streptacantha (nopal) is commonly known as the nopal in the arid regions where it grows, and prickly pear in Spain.
The inhabitants of the Mexican desert have traditionally employed the plant in glucose control. Intestinal glucose uptake can be affected by some properties of the plant, and animal studies have found significant reductions in postprandial glucose and HbA1c.
Again, to validate nopal as an effective means of helping diabetic patients, long-term clinical trials are needed, but there is a fairly solid foundation, as in other herbs for diabetes control.
Silibum marianum (milk thistle)
Silibum marianum it is also known as milk thistle, and is a member of the family Asteraceae.
Milk thistle contains high concentrations of flavonoids and antioxidants (like many other herbs for diabetes), some of which may have a beneficial effect on insulin resistance. However, the role of milk thistle in glycemic control is poorly understood.
Infusions to lower sugar
Many of these mentioned plants can be used as infusions to lower sugar. A useful and comfortable way to take advantage of its benefits while enjoying a quiet and flavoring infusion.
The most characteristic infusions to lower sugar are the following:
Sugar-lowering infusion of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum)
Trigonella foenum graecum it is known as fenugreek and is widely grown in India, North Africa and parts of the Mediterranean. It is also part of Ayurvedic treatment and is widely used in cooking.
Of the few uncontrolled trials that have been conducted in type 2 diabetics, most report a better glycemic control.
Infusion to lower the sugar of Ginseng (different species)
The term Ginseng does not refer to a specific plant, but is a collective name for a variety of different plant species.
In some studies they used American ginseng, decreases appeared in gfasting lucemia. Among these varieties with good results against diabetes, species such as:
- Korean ginseng
- Siberian ginseng
- American ginseng
- Japanese ginseng
As is the case with many of the catalogued diabetes herbs used around the world, more long-term studies are needed to check the effectiveness of ginseng.