Once diabetes mellitus is diagnosed, treatment consists of controlling the amount of glucose in the blood and preventing complications. Depending on the type of diabetes, this can be accomplished through regular physical exercise, a carefully controlled diet, and appropriate medication.
Apart from the traditional allopathic way of treating diabetes mellitus, there exist several herbal cure options as well. The obvious advantage in using herbal cures is the cost factor. Besides there is an increasing tendency for people to believe that plants and herbs do have curative powers sometimes bordering on the mystique. On top of that is the added belief that herbal remedies do not contain toxic ingredients that could adversely affect the human body. Therefore the popularity of these herbal cures is rising by the day.
Two things are important while taking herbal medications to counter diabetes. Firstly any herbal medicine should be given alongside a healthy lifestyle which should include a well balanced diet and proper exercise regimen. Secondly blood sugar levels must be taken periodically to check up whether the herbal cure was indeed working.
Here are a few herbal remedies popularly used to control diabetes.
Bitter Gourd - Take a cup of bitter gourd juice early morning on an empty stomach. Bitter gourd juice contains ingredients like Gurmarin a polypeptide that could lower blood sugar levels. Bitter Gourd supplements are also available in capsule form.
Cinnamon - Apart from being an aromatic spice used as a flavoring agent in dishes, cinnamon is used for combating various ailments like gastrointestinal complaints, urinary tract infections and diabetes. Cinnamon works to combat diabetes type 2 by increasing the availability of insulin in the body and also mimics insulin as well. The active ingredient in Cinnamon called MHCP (a polyphenol compound) is responsible for its therapeutic action.
Fenugreek seeds - Fenugreek seeds work in a multi-pronged way to reduce blood sugar levels. They augment the number of insulin receptors in red blood cells and also directly stimulate insulin secretion. Fenugreekine a substance in the seeds slows carbohydrate absorption and delays gastric emptying thereby reducing blood sugar levels. That's how fenugreek seeds help to combat diabetes. Pregnant women should not use fenugreek seeds. Flatulence and diarrhea are side effects that usually last only for a few days. Taking one teaspoon of powdered fenugreek seeds with a glass of water daily would suffice to lower blood sugar levels.
Aloe Vera - Aloe Vera gel is popularly used to treat burns. But Japanese research has shown that Aloe Vera gel is effective in reducing blood sugar levels and balancing the immune system. Phytosterol compounds in the gel are credited with this therapeutic action.
Nopal Cactus - Also known as prickly pear Nopal Cactus is a Mexican plant. Extracts of the stem of this plant which is used as a vegetable in Mexico and Central America slows carbohydrate absorption in the body, and that's how it helps lower blood glucose levels. Mild diarrhoea and increased stool volume are possible side effects in using Nopal Cactus
Gymnema Sylvestre - Gymnema Sylvestre is an herbal remedy under the Ayurvedic system of medicine in India used since ancient times, and is found to be very effective in lowering blood glucose levels. Chewing a few leaves of this herb will suffice although it is available in capsule form as well.
American Ginseng - American ginseng if taken before a meal has been found to reduce blood sugar. Studies have shown that three gram American Ginseng capsules taken before a meal reduced blood sugar by as much as twenty percent.