9 Herbs and Supplements for Type 2 Diabetes

If you want to know what herbs and supplements are good for your blood sugar and type 2 diabetes, you have come to the right place.

Before Western medicine, people looked to nature for the treatment of medical ailments. Items such as flowers, roots, herbs, and barks were available and found therapeutic.

Early plant identification often derived from the condition they were to treat. An example of such is Lungwort. Thought to resemble a diseased lung, used as a therapeutic herb to treat lung ailments.

25% of modern prescription medications have at least one plant or herb-derived substance as ingredients. (Discovery). Ethnobotany is the study of traditional healing practices applied to modern medicine for development.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the largest of the old practices still in use. In part because the use is still applicable and practical. This type of medicine practice breaks up the bodies energies into meridians. Upsets to the particular meridians causes illness and disease.

Moreover, two meridians are Yin and Yang, which are the constituents of Qi, the life force energy. Herb identification occurs in the concept of Yin and Yang. These two have forces that are in balance. Yin is one of darkness and cold and Yang of warmth and heat.

When illness occurs, they either hot or cold. Western herbal medicine looks at the body systems the herbs are to treat, and the properties that it has. Some examples of this would be anti-inflammatory or immunostimulatory. Over the last few decades, Ethnobotany has become more popular as the incidence of diabetes mellitus has surged. We explore proven herbal remedies and herbs for blood sugar control here.

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Types of diabetes

Your blood sugar level it is the concentration of sugar in your blood. When there is not enough insulin in the blood, or the body is resistant to insulin, the body can not use the glucose.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Identified in the past as Juvenile diabetes, as it appeared in young people. In this disease state the body begins to attack the beta cells of the pancreas. The beta cells are responsible for making insulin. The damage is unfortunately permanent. The body doesn’t produce insulin secretion and requires insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is often the result of dysfunction in the body’s symptoms. Often we see a deterioration in pancreatic function that slows insulin production. Exercise, weight loss, dietary and lifestyle changes addresses concerns with Type 2 diabetes.

High blood sugar levels lead to the build up of an acid called ketones. Ketones are present in your blood when you don’t have enough insulin to respond to the glucose. The buildup of ketones can lead to unresponsiveness and a coma state.

The effects of high blood sugar

Syndrome X can occur by excess consumption of refined carbohydrates. This leads to weight gain, and causes the cells to be less sensitive to insulin. High blood sugar ensues and decreases glucose tolerance.

Syndrome X is the compilation of several disease states. This includes overweight, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia and diabetes. As this develops other health concerns emerge such as chronic insulin resistance. This is directly related to diet-induced inflammation.

Hepatic insulin resistance occurs when there is extensive visceral fat. Visceral adiposity causes a layer that makes it impossible for a hormonal response. Insulin is a pancreatic hormone that allows glucose (food) to enter the cells of tissues. Glucose metabolism is necessary for all energy and maintenance of life.

In traditional Chinese medicine, diabetes is a yin deficiency, known as Xiao Ke. A Yin deficiency characteristics include heat and dryness. This often affects the lungs, kidneys, and liver. Symptoms include excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, and urine containing sugar. Within Chinese medicine 3 areas exist in diabetes treatment. These include Diabetes due to lung heat, stomach fire, and kidney Yin deficiency.

supplements for diabetes

Supplements for Type 2 Diabetes: Ben’s Glyco-Optimizer

Consideration for People with diabetes

There are 7 key plants we will discuss as herbal supplements in diabetes care. Then, of these 7 herbs, the first 5 lower blood sugar. Ginger turmeric and cinnamon will also lower blood pressure.

So, what herbs and supplements are good for type 2 diabetes and lower blood sugar?

7 Herbs For Blood Sugar

1) Cinnamon

Cinnamon has shown to help with many issues surrounding Syndrome X.

The inclusion of cinnamon bark will:

  • Increase insulin and insulin sensitivity

  • Decrease in lipids, or fats, in the blood and prevent heart disease

  • Increase antioxidant use in the body

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Reduce Weight

  • Aide in digestion

  • Lower blood sugar levels

2) Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a herb where all parts of the plant have health benefits. In particular, Fenugreek seed has had a great impact on blood glucose. Further, one study with insulin-dependent diabetic patients found a 54 percent reduction in 24-h urinary glucose excretion.

Total cholesterol. It also reduced LDL and VLDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Fenugreek will:

  • Improve Insulin action and sensitivity

  • Reduce the amount of glucose absorbed in the intestinal tract

  • Slow down gastric emptying

3) Gymnema

Gymnema is a woody plant native to tropical areas. Gymnema is excellent for its anti-diabetic properties and weight loss. It contains turpentine saponins. Many anticancer drugs derive from this plant. Use for diabetes treatments includes:

  • Strengthen capillaries, which is useful in treatment of neuropathy and retinopathy

  • Protects the liver

  • Helps to lower cholesterol

4) Ginger

Ginger is a rhizome of plant and one of the most consumed spices worldwide. It has a long history of use to treat a variety of illnesses including nausea, indigestion and pain.

Researchers debate the amount of ginger that is therapeutic but there is conclusive evidence regarding the effect. When given these herbs inhibit high blood sugar. Some research has shown the hypolipidemic effect of ginger. In effect, it reduces weight by helping with lipid reduction. You can add Ginger (Zingiber) as a spice to recipes or enjoy it in herbal tea.

5) Turmeric

Turmeric is a root, like ginger. It is recognizable by its beautiful golden color that lends to curry. Turmeric or curcumin as another herb with anti-inflammatory properties. Helpful in the treatment of arthritis, digestive issues and improved liver functioning. Turmeric can assist in restoring a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Further, a well-known study conducted in 2013, with turmeric and diabetic rats had intriguing results. Turmeric improved glycemic control, liver disorders, adipose dysfunction, neuropathy, and beta cell function. So, curcumin could favorably affect most of the leading aspects of diabetes, including insulin resistance, hyperglycemia hyperlipidemia.

6) Aloe vera

For years Aloe Vera has eased the digestive tract. The aloe vera plant is native to the Arabian Peninsula. It contains specific compounds known as lectins, mannans and anthraquinones. These organic compounds are the backbone to many cellular processes.

Lectin proteins bind to sugars and cause agglutination (sticking together) of particular cells. Then the Lectins bind to protein forming a glycoprotein. This is a particularly important part of immunity as cells stick together to fight a disease.

There are many positives effects of Lectins, but can be hard on the intestinal tract. Poor digestion can cause deficiencies, making a balanced diet essential. (lectin) Mannans are a polysaccharide (carbohydrate) that have prebiotic qualities.

Further, mannans increase the hypoglycemic effect of Metformin by by changing the gut Microbiome. (prebiotic mannan). This becomes a complementary to those on oral diabetes medications.

Moreover, anthraquinones are natural compounds that have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and antimicrobial properties. They have shown potential in diabetic rats as key in the process of cytokine release. This delays autoimmune onset Type 1 diabetes (anthro). These 3 compounds make aloe an emerging complementary TCM treatment for diabetes.

7) Bitter melon

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia), used by the indigenous people of Africa, South America, and Asia for hundreds of years. Bitter melon is a powerful nutrient-dense plant with a complex array of beneficial compounds. These include bioactive chemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which all contribute to its remarkable versatility in treating a wide range of illnesses.

The fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamins B1, B2 and B3, as well as vitamin B9 (folate)”. (mordica). Bitter melon has a high-water content and a Yin cooling plant. Bitter melon treats diabetic ailments such as:

  • Hyperlipidemia

  • Digestive disorders

  • Microbial infections

  • Protects Beta Cell function

  • Stimulates muscular cell uptake of glucose

  • Boosts weight loss with its high fiber content. It also stimulates of bile acids, which increases digestions.

In TCM practitioners believe that the stomach produces fire that digests food. This can trigger hunger and also excessive hunger associated with diabetes.

Moreover, excessive heat and dryness in the kidney cause dysfunction. In diabetes, there is excessive urination. TCM practitioners often recommend the combination of bitter melon and acupuncture to treat this dysfunction. (TCM).

The bitter gourd is in the same family as cucumbers and zucchini. People often use it in Chinese stir-fries. The fruit contains at least three active substances with anti-diabetic properties.

These include Charanti and Vicine. Charanti has a blood glucose-lowering effect. Vicine and an insulin-like compound known as polypeptide-p. Further, these herbs and substances work alone or together to help reduce blood sugar levels and reduce sugar craving. It is a powerhouse of Vitamin A and C and strengthens the immune system. (Bitter gourd) It may help to ease blood sugar spikes and help maintain metabolism levels.

8) Milk thistle

Milk thistle is of European descent. It has a characteristic purple flower and thorny appearance. Milk thistle is also very present in North America. Milk thistle reduces liver heat and nourishes liver Yin. The extract has many antidiabetic qualities:

  • Boosts antioxidants and antioxidant activity in the pancreas.

  • Stimulates growth of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas

  • Reduces glucose absorption and lowers blood glucose level after eating a meal

  • Lowers glucose level

  • Protects further free radical damage to the endocrine organs

  • Reduces risks of diabetic complications, including nephropathy and diabetic retinopathy. The latter being most common eye disease among diabetics.

9) Holy basil

Holy basil , also known as holy Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it aids the body in stress relief.

Studies show Tulsi can counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and antidepressant properties.

People widely use holy basil in Ayurvedic medicine to protect organs such as the liver and kidney against stress from diabetes.

Conclusion

So, as a diabetic patient, you face the complexity of the diagnosis. It can be information overload. Additionally, as you learn more you may think of the other health impairments and comorbidities associated with it. You may be apt to feel overwhelmed.

Ben’s Natural Diabetes Supplement: Glyco-Optimizer

Find out more details on Ayurvedic principles and practices, as well as supplements that can assist in diabetes care such as Glyco-Optimizer.

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Glyco-Optimizer, one of the leading supplements for type 2 diabetes, contains many of the items discussed here and could be a wonderful addition to your health care regimen.

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At Ben’s Natural Health, our motto is to combine holistic healing with modern science.

Ben’s Natural Health is the world’s first high-quality, all-natural, scientifically proven clinical supplement company. Our supplements are effective, natural and 100% side effect free.

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Sources

  1. Chien, S., Wu, Y., Chen, Z. and Yang, W., 2015. Naturally Occurring Anthraquinones: Chemistry and Therapeutic Potential in Autoimmune Diabetes. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, pp.1-13.
  2.  Tcmsimple.com. 2020. Chinese Medicine Treatment For Diabetes – TCM Simple. [online] Available at: <https://www.tcmsimple.com/diabetes.php> [Accessed 16 October 2020].
  3. Cohen, M., 2014. Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 5(4), p.251.
  4. Draw Science, 2015. Discovery and resupply of pharmacologically active plant-derived natural products: A review.
  5. Hindustan Times, 2018. Health benefits of bitter gourd, 5 reasons why it must be in your diet. [online] Available at: <https://www.hindustantimes.com/fitness/health-benefits-of-bitter-gourd-5-reasons-why-it-must-be-in-your-diet/story-23UzjCuVfD9bt608drczmN.html> [Accessed 16 October 2020].
  6.  Joseph, B. and Jini, D., 2013. Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 3(2), pp.93-102.
  7. Kazazis, C., Evangelopoulos, A., Kollas, A. and Vallianou, N., 2014. The Therapeutic Potential of Milk Thistle in Diabetes. The Review of Diabetic Studies, 11(2), pp.167-174.
  8.  Min Fu, D., 2013. Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review ,. Hindawi, Volume 2013 |Article ID 636053.
  9.  Sharma, R., 1986. Effect of fenugreek seeds and leaves on blood glucose and serum insulin responses in human subjects. Nutrition Research, 6(12), pp.1353-1364.
  10. Shidfar, F., Rajab, A., Rahideh, T., Khandouzi, N., Hosseini, S. and Shidfar, S., 2015. The effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on glycemic markers in patients with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 12(2).
  11.  Zheng, J., Li, H., Zhang, X., Jiang, M., Luo, C., Lu, Z., Xu, Z. and Shi, J., 2018. Prebiotic Mannan-Oligosaccharides Augment the Hypoglycemic Effects of Metformin in Correlation with Modulating Gut Microbiota. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 66(23), pp.5821-5831.
Alternative Text

Erin Palma (RD, CDN)

Erin has worked in the field of nutrition and the food industry for 16 years. Initially she studied Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University. She then went on to study nutrition at Syracuse University. She has served on the Genesee Dietetic Association Board, is part of the Diabetes Educators Association, and was a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Rochester Regional Center for Autism.

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