Monday, September 6, 2010


Diabetes is a disease in which the body has a shortage of insulin, a decreased ability to use insulin, or both. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose (sugar) to enter cells and be converted to energy. When diabetes is not controlled, glucose and fats remain in the blood and, over time, damage vital organs. 

My mother has Diabetes. So, it is of particular interest to me. She was diagnosed after a flood in her dance kept her from her normal workout routine. We have done research and she has found many things that help her control the disease and limit the amount of medication she needs to take. Her favorites are a daily ritual: Cinnamon in her oatmeal and drinking Hibiscus tea.

 Diabetes is a growing epidemic. 23.6 million people in the United States (7.8% of the total population) have diabetes. Of these, 5.7 million have undiagnosed diabetes.  In 2007, about 1.6 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years or older. African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native adults are twice as likely as white adults to have diabetes In 1999–2000, 7% of U.S. adolescents aged 12–19 years had impaired fasting glucose (prediabetes), putting them at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness, kidney failure, and nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations among adults.  Diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death on U.S. death certificates in 2006. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people without diabetes of similar age.

The information presented herein by ZAHARA'S GYPSY TEA  is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

The following ins some of the research on herbals and diabetes:


Aloe is useful when taken orally for diabetes.  In a single-blind, placebo-controlled study those taking glibenclamide and aloe showed improvements in blood glucose levels over a six week period that compared to those taking glibenclamide and placebo. (Bunyapraphatsara et al 1996) ( (B 363)


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.

A recent study found that 200 mg of ginseng extract per day improved blood sugar control as well as energy levels in Type 2 diabetes (NIDDM).


It lowers the risk of diabetic complications such as diabetic cataracts and retinopathy.


Leave of the Blue berry are commonly used by the folk since many years, for the treatment of diabetes. It is most active ingrediant 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.

Bitter melon may improve glucose control in type 2 diabetes. (Srivastava et al 1993)(B 399). In a systematic review by Yeh et al (2003) on herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes they concluded that other supplements with positive preliminary results include bitter melon (Momordica charantia).

Excessively high doses of bitter melon juice can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Small children or anyone with hypoglycemia should not take bitter melon, since this herb could theoretically trigger or worsen low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Furthermore, diabetics taking hypoglycemic drugs (such as chlorpropamide, glyburide, or phenformin) or insulin should use bitter melon with caution, as it may potentiate the effectiveness of the drugs, leading to severe hypoglycemia.


 Research has shown that capsaicin cream is an effective and safe treatment for relief of the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. (Tandan, 1992)(S)

Cinnamon has been used medicinally since ancient times. This popular spice was used in ancient Egypt, China, and India for culinary and medicinal purposes, and its use has also been documented in the Bible.
 A study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003 looked at 60 men and women with Type 2 diabetes who were taking diabetes pills. The participants took either 1, 3, or 6 grams of cassia cinnamon or a placebo, in capsule form, for 40 days. After this time, blood glucose levels dropped between 18% and 29% in all three groups that received cinnamon. However, only the participants who had taken the smallest amount of cinnamon (1 gram) continued to have improved blood glucose levels 20 days after they stopped taking it, for reasons the researchers didn’t quite understand.

In the study, cinnamon also helped lower triglycerides (a blood lipid) and LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol  evels. The benefits continued after 60 days, 20 days after participants had stopped taking cinnamon.

No significant changes in blood glucose or blood lipid levels occurred in the placebo group.
So, should you start shaking cinnamon on everything or start popping cinnamon capsules? First, keep in mind that this was a small study with only 60 subjects. Second, it was a short-term study, and the effects of taking cinnamon on a long-term basis aren’t known. Third, there’s no evidence that cinnamon helps people with Type 1 diabetes.

On the other hand, cinnamon is relatively safe. Keep in mind, though, that, some people may be allergic to cinnamon, and that cinnamon in large amounts may cause mouth sores or burn the skin. Also, as with any kind of supplement, it’s important to discuss its use with your health-care provider.

One gram of cinnamon, the lowest (and most effective) amount used in the study, is about ⅕ teaspoon. Three grams is about ½ teaspoon, and 6 grams is a little more than a teaspoon. If, after checking with your health-care provider, you want to see for yourself if cinnamon might help improve your blood glucose levels, start with the smallest dose (1 gram). Be sure to check your blood glucose levels often and keep good food and blood glucose records. Then, try sprinkling cinnamon on cereal and toast, or in your coffee, tea, or cocoa, spread out over the day. Another option is to take cassia cinnamon in capsule form, taking 500 milligrams twice daily. Just remember that cinnamon supplements, like all supplements, are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in terms of quality and effectiveness.


 Experimental and clinical studies have demonstrated the antidiabetic properties of fenugreek seeds. The active ingredient responsible for the antidiabetic properties of fenugreek is in the defatted portion of the seed that contains the alkaloid trogonelline, nicotinic acid and coumarin.


Ginkgo biloba extract may prove useful for prevention and treatment of early stage diabetic neuropathy.


Gymnema assists the pancreas in the production of insulin in Type 2 diabetes. Gymnema also improves the ability of insulin to lower blood sugar in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It decreases cravings for sweet. This herb can be an excellent substitute for oral blood sugar-lowering drugs in Type 2 diabetes. Some people take 500 mg per day of gymnema extract.


"Blood glucose and total lipid  levels were determined in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats after oral administration of an ethanol flower extract of Hibiscus rosa sinensis. A comparable hypoglycemic effect was evidenced from the data obtained after 7 and 21 days of oral administration of the extract and glibenclamide," scientists writing in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology report.

"Maximal diminution in blood glucose (41-46%) and insulin level (14%) was noticed after 21 days," stated Archana Sachdewa and L. D. Khemani at the Dayalbagh Educational.

In March and April of 2009, researchers at two different universities in Taiwan set out to examine the impact of hibicus on these devastating diabetes-related effects. They not only found that the botanical suppressed AGE activity, but also increased the function of glutathione, a type of amino acid necessary for healthy cellular metabolism and immune response. In addition, the researchers found that hibiscus offered protection to vascular smooth muscle cells from oxidative stress. Nigerian researchers at the Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan experienced similar findings in a 2007 study. In fact, to quote the abstract published in Fundamental Clinical Pharmacology, “…Hibiscus sabdariffa could be useful in preventing the development of atherosclerosis and possible related cardiovascular pathologies associated with diabetes.”


In a systematic review by Yeh et al (2003) on herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes they concluded that the best evidence for efficacy is available for ivy gourd (Coccinia indica) and American ginseng.


Kino is used in many of the European pharmacopeas. The gum-resin looks like dried blood (Dragon's blood), much used in Indian medicine. This herb has a long history of use in India as a treatment for diabetes. The flavonoid, (-)-epicatechin, extracted from the bark of this plant has been shown to prevent alloxan-induced beta 


Onion and garlic have significant blood sugar lowering action. The principal active ingredients are believed to be allyl propyl disulphide (APDS) and diallyl disulphide oxide (allicin), although other constitutents such as flavonoids may play a role as well. 
Experimental and clinical evidence suggests that APDS lowers glucose levels by competing with insulin for insulin-inactivating sites in the liver. This results in an increase of free insulin. APDS administered in doses of 125 mg/ kg to fasting humans was found to cause a marked fall in blood glucose levels and an increase in serum insulin. Allicin doses of 100 mg/kg produced a similar effect. 

Onion extract was found to reduce blood sugar levels during oral and intravenous glucose tolerance. The effect improved as the dosage was increased; however, beneficial effects were observed even for low levels that used in the diet (eg., 25 to 200 grams). The effects were similar in both raw and boiled onion extracts. Onions affect the hepatic metabolism of glucose and/or increases the release of insulin, and/or prevent insulin's destruction. 

The additional benefit of the use of garlic and onions are their beneficial cardiovascular effects. They are found to lower lipid levels, inhibit platelet aggregation and are antihypertensive. So, liberal use of onion and garlic are recommended for diabetics.  


Stevia has been used traditionally to treat diabetes. Early reports suggested that stevia might have beneficial effects on glucose tolerance (and therefore potentially help with diabetes), although not all reports have confirmed this. Even if stevia did not have direct antidiabetic effects, its use as a sweetener could reduce intake of sugars in such patients.


The ripe fruit of this cactus has been shown in some small studies to lower blood sugar ­levels. You may be able to find the fruit in your grocery store, but if not, look for it as a juice or powder at health food stores. Researchers speculate that the fruit may possibly lower blood sugar because it contains components that work similarly to insulin. The fruit is also high in fiber.

Herbs and foods can have different impact, on different individuals.
With any item for consumption, if you experience ill effects, discontinue the product and consult you doctor. If you are pregnant or nursing, herbal substances are not recommended. If you are taking any kind of medication, contact your doctor before using herb becuase of possible interaction.

No comments:

Post a Comment