Diabetes is a health condition which must be taken seriously. While it is useful for diabetics to be under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner, there are some things which you can do to help keep the condition in check. Specifically, numerous herbs contain healthful properties which are beneficial in different ways to persons suffering from diabetes.
Fenugreek contains good amounts of a soluble fiber called mucilage which helps regulate sugar levels in the blood. Furthermore, fenugreek boosts levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the so-called “good” cholesterol, in the blood while at the same time reducing total cholesterol levels. This in turn helps prevent cardiovascular disease, something which diabetics are susceptible to.
Historically, onions have long been used to help treat diabetes in Europe and Asia. Indeed, modern scientific studies have affirmed the ability of onions to lower blood sugar levels. In addition, onions also protect cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Garlic has benefits for diabetics which are similar to those of onions. Research has shown that it has blood-sugar-lowering properties. And garlic also benefits cardiovascular health. One of the most healthful ways to consume garlic is raw and chopped up about 5 to 10 minutes before consumption.
Bitter melon, also called balsam pear, is a tropical fruit widely available in Africa, Asia and South America. This fruit, which looks like an ugly cucumber, has been well-used in folk medicine as a diabetes remedy. Clinical studies carried out on humans have shown the blood-sugar-lowering properties of the fruit’s fresh juice or the extract of the unripe fruit.
Unripe bitter melon can be found at Asian grocery stores, while bitter melon extracts may be available at health food stores.
Marsh mallow root contains good amounts of pectin, a soluble plant fiber which helps lower blood sugar levels.
Milk thistle, well-known as a liver tonic, was shown in a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research to lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. Furthermore, the study subjects also experienced significantly lower levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the so-called “bad” cholesterol), triglycerides and liver enzymes — these are markers of cardiovascular ailments.
Bilberry leaf tea has historically been used to treat diabetes. This use has been backed by research which has revealed its ability to lower blood sugar levels.
Further, the berries and their extracts offer more benefits to diabetics, including boosting vitamin C levels, reducing breakage of small blood vessels, preventing easy bruising and providing antioxidant effects. They also protect eye health by improving circulation to the retina.
Gurmar is an Indian folk remedy for diabetes which has been shown in some studies in India to help improve insulin production.
Ginkgo biloba is most well-known as an herb which improves brain health, but at the same time, it is also useful for diabetics, as it has been proven to help boost blood circulation to peripheral tissues in a person’s arms, fingers, legs and toes. This is a significant benefit for persons with diabetes, who often suffer from poor blood circulation to the extremities.
Other than a healthy diet and taking the above herbs, the most basic lifestyle change a diabetic can make to improve his or condition is to implement a moderate exercise regimen. Exercise can help diabetics in many ways, including improving blood circulation, regulating blood sugar levels, promoting weight loss and protecting cardiovascular health, and should form a core part of any diabetes treatment plan.