Though not a disease, diabetes is a prevalent condition that a lot of people suffer from globally. It is estimated that every 7 seconds someone dies either of diabetes or by any of its symptoms. By the word ‘Diabetes’, most people understand only type-2 diabetes. A lesser-known fact is that type-2 diabetes is very different from type-1 diabetes & also more prevalent.
Where type-1 diabetes is caused due to lack of insulin production in the body, in type-2 diabetes, the pancreas produces enough insulin, but the body is unable to use it. This is why, where type-1 diabetes can be managed by taking insulin externally, type-2 diabetes is incurable & often harder to manage.
Here is where Ayurveda comes to your rescue. It is proven that you can control type-2 diabetes with Ayurvedic treatment. Besides natural medication, Ayurvedic treatments incorporate the right eating habits, regular yoga & lifestyle changes to ensure better treatment of diabetes,
Ayurvedic Herbs For Diabetes Type 2
An essential part of Ayurvedic treatment for diabetes is the use of herbs. Here are 10 amazing herbs which are useful in the natural treatment of diabetes. But before you resort to taking any of these regularly, it is wise to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for advice.
1. Salacia Oblonga (Indian Saptarangi)
Salacia is an Ayurvedic herb native to India & Sri Lanka. It is helpful in stimulating insulin utilization in the body. It lowers blood glucose & insulin levels post-meal by binding with intestinal enzymes, alpha-glucosidases that break down the carbohydrates in the food. This reduces the levels of glucose in the bloodstream. A study suggests that Salacia enhances the glucose response of the body, thus lowering levels of glucose as well as insulin in the blood.
2. Ashwagandha (winter cherry)
Ashwagandha is known in Ayurveda for its hypoglycemic properties. It helps to decrease the levels of blood glucose while at the same time boosting the secretion & sensitivity of insulin in the blood. According to a study; regular consumption of Ashwagandha over a period of 30 days in patients gives positive results in them. Besides controlling diabetes, Ashwagandha can also decrease the levels of triglycerides & LDL in the blood, high levels of which often increase the chances of a heart stroke in diabetics.
The pretty hibiscus flowers can do much more than just increase the beauty of your gardens. They are known to help increase insulin sensitivity in the body, while at the same time managing healthy blood pressure. They stimulate the beta-cells of the pancreas to increase insulin secretion in the blood. Its function has been compared to tolbutamide in a study. Tolbutamide is known to improve glucose tolerance in patients by 2-3 fold.
3. Gymnema Sylvestre (Gurmar)
Commonly known as Gurmar, Gymnema is used in a number of anti-diabetic Ayurvedic medications. It is beneficial for both type-1 & type-2 diabetics. In type-2 diabetics, it has shown to reduce blood glucose levels, while enhancing insulin sensitivity. Gymnemic Acid-4, a compound made from Gymnema has also proven to be useful as a pro-anti glycemic drug.
4. Guduchi (Tinospora Cordifolia)
Guduchi is a herbaceous vine used for diabetic treatment. It enhances insulin sensitivity in the body while burning excess glucose, thus controlling blood glucose levels. A study has shown that patients treated with the Guduchi extract showed an improvement in their levels of insulin & c-peptide. C-peptide stimulates the regeneration of beta-cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Punarnava is used to treat multiple aspects of diabetes. Besides controlling the levels of glucose in the blood, it also enhances the secretion of plasma insulin in the blood. It is known to enhance the functioning of hepatic enzymes like hexokinase, while decreasing levels of blood sugars like glucose-6-phosphatase & fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase. Studies show that it also reduces glycosylated haemoglobin levels while increasing total haemoglobin levels of the body.
Guggul enhances the body’s glucose & lipid metabolism. It antagonizes steroid & lipid synthesis while improving the production of insulin in the body. This also helps reduce hypertension. A study suggests that it elevates the levels of plasma insulin & antioxidants in the body. It also lowers the levels of triglycerides & LDL, while depleting the levels of inflammatory cytokines. This protects the pancreatic beta-cells from apoptosis, promoting insulin production.
7. Hirda (Haritaki)
Also called Haritaki in Ayurveda, Hirda is proven to successfully cure diabetes. It stimulates pancreatic beta-cells to enhance the production of insulin. At the same time, it helps in the breakdown of starch to glucose, helping regulate blood sugar levels. Moreover, it also inhibits the incidence of diabetic nephropathy, that causes excess urinary albumin excretion & abnormal renal function. Renal diseases are suspected to be related to long-standing diabetes.
Amla is an effective herb for managing diabetes. It can help prevent pancreatitis & thus manage blood sugar levels. The chromium in amla regulates carbohydrate metabolism increasing responsiveness to insulin. Being high in antioxidants & vitamin C, it helps fight off other symptoms of diabetes. A study proves the benefits of amla in reducing blood sugar levels & the levels of LDL.
Bibhitaki is high in gallic acid & ellagic acid, both of which are phytochemicals that promote insulin secretion from the pancreas. It also alleviates insulin resistance & reduces high blood sugar levels. A study has proven the benefits of the aqueous extract of Bibhitaki in treating diabetes. It suggests that Bibhitaki stimulates the secretion & action of insulin. Though more studies are required to prove the efficiency of Bibhitaki, it is still a popularly used herb for the treatment of diabetes.
Ayurvedic Medicine For Diabtes Type 2
The only way you can truly control diabetes is by constant medication. For diabetes, we suggest Salacia-O. It is the capsule form of the herb Salacia Oblonga, benefits of which have been mentioned above.
Salacia-O is highly beneficial in keeping diabetes in check. It contains a-glucosidase inhibitors, Salacinol & Kotalanol 9, all of which help maintain a lower level of glucose in the blood. Salacia also inhibits the activity of Aldose Reductase, which is related to chronic diabetic complications. It is more than 200 times stronger than the anti-diabetic drug Acarbose.
Benefits of Salacia-O:
- It helps regulate blood sugar levels.
- It reduces the level of cholesterol & triglycerides in the body.
- It helps in retinopathy.
The suggested dosage of Salacia-O is 1 capsule twice/thrice a day depending on the severity of diabetes. The capsule must be taken at least 30 minutes before any meal with normal water.
It is always wise to first consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before opting to take any medication on your own. This will help you gain an accurate evaluation of your condition. Also, the doctor can suggest the right home remedies to accompany medication.
Yogasana For Diabetes Type 2
Where herbs help improve insulin sensitivity in the body, yoga acts on other symptoms caused due to type-2 diabetes. It strengthens the body, improving immunity & thus the body’s resistance to diseases. It also improves the functioning of organs like the pancreas, liver as well as the kidneys. Moreover, it enhances blood circulation to all parts of the body, keeping your blood sugar in control.
Yoga helps alleviate symptoms like fatigue, frequent urination, frequent cravings, etc. Regularly practicing Yoga asanas for type 2 diabetes also helps maintain a healthy weight which is primarily important for diabetics as excess weight can worsen their situation. Useful yoga asanas for diabetics are Shalabh asana (locust pose), Vriksha asana (tree pose), Manduk asana (frog pose), Dhanur asana (bow pose) etc.
Diet Tips For Diabetes Type 2
Your diet can help or hamper in treating type 2 diabetes. Eating right can help keep your blood sugar levels in check, while at the same time aiding the effect of Ayurvedic medications. Here are a few dietary changes you need to make to manage your diabetes.
- Do not skip any meals of the day as that could disturb the blood sugar levels.
- Avoid foods high in carbohydrates as carbs convert to glucose in the body. This can spike up your blood glucose sugar level. So, stay away from starchy foods & foods high in carbohydrates like white flour, white bread, potatoes, dairy products, pasta, etc.
- Avoid foods high in artificial sugars like packaged food that can worsen your condition.
- Include fibre-rich foods like vegetables, legumes, fruits & whole grain foods that can reduce sugar absorption into the blood.
- Resort to eating fruits instead of desserts to enhance metabolism. Prefer eating citrus fruits, berries or apples for greater benefit, At the same time, avoid eating fruits like bananas, grapes or mangoes which can cause your blood sugar levels to rise
- Including oats, brown rice, flax seeds, onion, garlic, fenugreek or cinnamon in your daily diet is recommended.
- When it comes to eating vegetables, gourds, spinach, cauliflowers, cabbage & carrot should be favoured.
- Include tender coconut water in your diet.
Along with the tips mentioned above, you can also opt for some home remedies for better treatment of type 2 diabetes. Though incurable, diabetes can be managed easily with the right medication.
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