Herbs That Control Blood Sugar

Sugar © by Uwe Hermann

When you put food into your mouth, you are not really eating.

Why?

Because most food has very little nourishment..

How this came to be is a story for another time.  However it is important for you to realize that what passes for food in the United States is sugar and a bunch of chemicals to give you a taste, but very little actual nourishment.

As a result, managing blood sugar levels is something that everyone needs to do.  The quality of much of our food is that bad. And given the amount of sugar in American food, managing blood sugar levels is going to be a challenge for the foreseeable future.

The Easiest Way To Manage Blood Sugar Levels

By far the easiest way to handle the blood sugar issue is to not have the problem. Depending on where you live and what types of food you have access to, it can be a challenge to put together a diet that is healthy: consisting of mainly vegetables, grains, fruits and legumes. Even those who have access to high quality food often find that having time to cook is difficult and healthy eating habits are difficult to achieve on a consistent basis.

Having said that, there is no question that making healthy eating an important long term priority is worth doing.  I would suggest starting with some good reading material:

  • one excellent resource is The Three Season Diet by Dr. John Douillard, which discusses the right way to eat for each season.  His book includes helpful recipes.
  • another is Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra.  This book is an excellent introduction to Ayurveda health practices including diet.  It includes food lists for each body type and can help you understand what is right for you.

While you are learning about and developing healthier eating habits herbs can come to the rescue to help you feel better.

 Herbs that Reduce Blood Sugar

There are a number of natural herbs that are very helpful for managing blood sugar.

They are:

  1. gymnema silvestre.  By all accounts, gymnema is the most useful herb for improving blood sugar levels.  The herb’s Hindu name refers to its function: “the sugar destroyer”.  According to WebMD, “Gymnema contains substances that decrease the absorption of sugar from the intestine. Gymnema may also increase the amount of insulin in the body and increase the growth of cells in the pancreas, which is the place in the body where insulin is made.”
  2. neem. Neem is an herbal remedy made from various parts of the neem tree grown primarily in southeast Asia, although it can be found in Florida in the US.  Neem is an herb that provides a lot of support to the immune system, treats a variety of illnesses and improves blood sugar levels according to WebMD.  It’s comprehensive benefits make it a worthwhile addition to a daily health regimen.
  3. ginseng.  Some studies have indicated that ginseng can reduce blood sugar levels. According to Science Daily, American ginseng improves blood sugar levels, although apparently ginseng root is not as effective.

In addition fenugreek and turmeric are two herbs that can be taken with as supplements or as spices  which also have a beneficial effect. Fortunately, these herbs and spices are relatively inexpensive and worth considering to avoid the pain and expenses of difficult chronic diseases like diabetes. I have used them and I have found them to be safe.

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Why Gokshura Can Help With Diabetes

IMGP3720 – puncture vines – the bane of my barefoot summertime walks as a youth – because I was too lazy to put on shoes and socks © by niiicedave

Gokshura is also called puncture vine.  It is used in Ayurveda to treat genitourinary conditions and remove toxins from the body. Diabetes creates excessive urination which is why it is classified as a urinary disease in Ayurveda.   Gokshura which is used to support the urinary system of the body is considered an important herb for treating diabetic urinary symptoms in Ayurveda.

According to the Ayurveda Encyclopedia, gokshura impacts the health of four systems of the body:

  • the nervous system
  • reproductive system
  • respiratory system
  • urinary systems

Gokshura improves low testosterone levels and all of the conditions and symptoms associated with it. According to WebMD low testosterone is a factor in depression, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and sleep issues.  In improving testosterone, gokshura supports the strength and stamina of the entire body by building all of the tissues including the tissues of the reproductive system.

Gokshura has sweet, cooling and alkaline promoting properties which means it nourishes at the same time it improves the digestive fire.  It is one of the rare herbs that promotes digestive fire and cools at the same time, making it beneficial for pitta dosha which  in Ayurveda body typing means a naturally warm body temperature and also governs the digestive fire.

Gokshura improves our health by ” nourishing ojas, which is the semi-vibrational material that connects body and soul and gives strength to the whole body” according to Shaka Vansya Ayurveda.

Gokshura removes toxins from the genitourinary tract including acidic toxins which are common in the modern Western diet. It is beneficial for highly sensitive people with diabetes not only because it removes toxins that may contribute to the disease but also because it pacifies vata dosha. What this means is that HSP’s with diabetes can improve their excessive urination symptoms using gokshura and also heal their nervous system at the same time.

Diabetes can be created by an imbalance in any of the three Ayurvedic doshas: vata, pitta and kapha.  Vata is the dosha that has particular significance for highly sensitive people since it manages the brain and the nervous system.

Gokshura helps HSP’s improve their urinary system symptoms, improve their strength, heal their nervous systems, and detox as well.  It may improve depression and insomnia symptoms as well. It is helpful for diabetes treatment which makes it a good herb to know about.

Control Blood Sugar With Gymnema

Gymnema sylvestre R.Br © by lalithamba

One natural way to control blood sugar is the herb gymnema silvestre, which is the main Ayurvedic herb for treating diabetes according to the Ayurveda Encyclopedia.

Gymnema removes sugar from the pancreas, stimulates pancreatic function, helps circulation and facilitates urine excretion.

Gymnema acts to reduces excess kapha (dosha in charge of body structure and lubrication and associated with obesity) and vata (the dosha responsible for movement and the nervous system). Vata imbalances created by stress can promote poor eating habits which can cause diabetes to develop.

Gymnema heals skin disorders and infections, ignites digestion and treats all metabolic disorders including diabetes. It is believed to be regenerative of pancreatic beta cells which means that it may offer diabetics the potential to restore pancreatic insulin production according to Ayurvedic Diet Solutions.

A number of studies demonstrate an increased awareness on the part of the medical research community that gymnema silvestre can help with diabetes treatment. According to WiseGeek, “the unique shape of gymnemic acid molecules are similar to that of glucose, allowing it to fill cell receptors in the lining the intestines, thereby preventing uptake of sugar molecules.” In addition, there is much evidence that gymnema silvestre gets rid of sugar tastes in the mouth reducing sugar cravings.

Gymnema silvestre has a long history of helping diabetic patients in India, a history that is making its way to the West.  Gymnema is available in a pill form making it easier to use than insulin.  In some cases it may alleviate the need for insulin supplementation. Gymnema is a promising treatment for diabetics that is worth looking into because it is relatively inexpensive, and easy to use. Although not recommended for pregnant and lactating women, this herb has proven to be safe over a long period of time.

Gymnema has been used by Ayurveda for centuries to help manage blood sugar and manage diabetes.  Western medicine has become interested in this herb and has begun investigating its benefits.  Here are links to some of the studies that bear out that gymnema does in fact lower blood sugar and improve pancreatic function:

  1. A novel Gymnema sylvestre extract stimulates insulin secretion from human islets in vivo and in vitro.
  2. In vitro callus and in vivo leaf extract of Gymnema sylvestre stimulate β-cells regeneration and anti-diabetic activity in Wistar rats.
  3. A novel dihydroxy gymnemic triacetate isolated from Gymnema sylvestre possessing normoglycemic and hypolipidemic activity on STZ-induced diabetic rats.
  4. Gymnema sylvestre for diabetes mellitus: a systematic review.
  5. An overview on the advances of Gymnema sylvestre: chemistry, pharmacology and patents.