Herbs and supplements will not cure diabetes, but they can significantly help maintain lower blood sugar levels.
More and more research is showing that in combination with conventional therapy, they can offer relief of symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
Here are 6 herbs and supplements that can help with type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon is a fragrant and intensely flavored spice made from the bark of trees. It is widely used in spices for sweets, baked goods, etc.
It can add sweetness to dishes without adding sugar. For this reason, it is popular with people with diabetes, but you should know that this is not even close to everything.
An analysis of several studies suggests that cinnamon (depending on the type and composition, dose) may improve:
- Blood glucose levels
- Insulin levels and insulin sensitivity
- Blood fat levels
- Antioxidant status
- Blood pressure
Another such analysis showed that cinnamon can lead to lower blood sugar levels during starvation, lowering “bad” cholesterol, ie confirms previous conclusions.
Although these analyzes have not shown that cinnamon can have a significant effect on hemoglobin A1C (standard for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes), fat, cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity are particularly important parameters for diabetics.
It should be noted that most of the analyzed studies are tested on animals, so more research is needed to prove these effects in humans.
You can consume cinnamon by seasoning various dishes, tea, and as a supplement, but strictly in consultation with your doctor.
Aloe vera is a very common plant with really different uses. In addition to many, it can be used in diabetes.
This herb showed interesting properties in the examined laboratory mice. Namely, it acted on the protection and renewal of beta cells in the pancreas, ie cells that produce insulin. Experts believe this is probably due to its powerful antioxidant composition. Such results should be a motive for further research.
You can take aloe vera as a juice or in combination in a smoothie, but also as a supplement in consultation with your doctor. Aloe vera skin preparations should not be eaten.
Thistle or donkey thorn
People have been using this herb as a medicine since time immemorial, especially for the liver.
White thistle extract has been shown to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it suitable for diabetics. Most studies are promising, but still not convincing enough that the extract can be used as the sole treatment for type 2 diabetes. However, no significant side effects have been found, so supplementation with this herb can be used after consulting with a doctor.
Fenugreek (Greek seed)
Greek seed is another food that can lower blood glucose.
The seeds are rich in fiber and other components that can slow down the digestion of carbohydrates.
There is some evidence that this seed can also help prevent type 2 diabetes.
One study, which lasted 3 years, involved 66 people with prediabetes who consumed 5 grams of fenugreek powder daily and an equally large control group that did not use it at all. The results show that people with prediabetes who used fenugreek powder had a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers concluded that consuming this seed leads to an increase in insulin levels in the body, which in turn lowers blood sugar, but also lowers total cholesterol.
Fenugreek can be used as an herb, powder, or as supplement in the form of a capsule.
This is an herb also known as gurmar, originated from India, whose name means “sugar destroyer”.
In 2013, an analysis of the results of several studies was published, according to which patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes show signs of improvement after using Gymnema.
People with type 1 diabetes who took the herb extract for 18 months showed a significant drop in blood sugar levels while fasting, compared with those taking insulin alone.
Other studies of this herb have shown that people with type 2 diabetes respond well to both the leaves and the extract, ie they have reduced sugar levels and increased insulin levels.
Gymnema Sylvestre can be taken as an extract, as a supplement – capsules or its leaves can be used.
Ginger is a well-known herb (root) that has many beneficial effects on the body and has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine.
It is most often used for digestive and inflammatory problems, but according to a meta-study from 2015, it can also be useful in diabetes.
Ginger can lower blood glucose levels, but it can also lower insulin levels. This feature may contribute to the reduction of insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes.
The mechanism by which this happens is not clear to researchers, so more research is needed on the topic.
You can use ginger freshly grated, as a tea, juice, but also as a supplement.
It is very important to remember that these herbs can not be a stand-alone treatment for any type of diabetes and that before using any supplements, you should consult a professional.
The consultation is important because you can not determine the dosage yourself, because of the possible complications if you take some medications while supplementing, but also because your doctor has a complete insight into your medical history.