diabetes

Licorice is adding a new skill to its resume: Diabetes Slayer

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 by: Raw Michelle
Tags: licorice, diabetes, herb

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Delicious
(NaturalNews) The diagnosis rate of diabetes continues to rise despite widespread medical knowledge, pharmaceutical treatment, and improved understanding of the impact that diet has on the course of disease. Following the current trends, 10% of the world's population can be expected to suffer from diabetes by 2030. An inability to regulate blood sugar can lead to far more serious problems like loss of vision, widespread nerve damage, and an inability to fight off infection that can turn a tiny cut into a potential threat of gangrene.

When the side effects of the medication look the same as the disease, something is wrong

In the nucleus of each cell, a piece of machinery called the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-gamma), regulates the use of blood sugar for energy, and converts excess blood sugar into fat storage. Current medication prescribed to people with diabetes typically targets this mechanism in an attempt to lower their blood sugar. Unfortunately, these drugs are also accompanied by common side effects that are frequently a barrier to their use, such as dizziness and nausea.

Plants have a copy of the chemical code scientists are trying to write

Because of the barriers that these side effects present, research is looking for dietary sources of chemicals with similar effects, both to bypass the side effects of the pharmaceuticals and reduce or eliminate the patient's long-term dependence on the medical system. Their research has brought them face to face with a naturally existing chemical that behaves in much the same way as the current medicines, binding to the PPAR-gamma and stimulate its functioning. The chemicals are called amorfrutins, and are found in two species of legume.

Glycyrrhiza foetida, more commonly recognized as licorice, and Amorpha fruticosa, an ornamental plant resembling the sweet pea, both proved useful in removing glucose from the blood, without the presumed consequences of the action. Under normal circumstances, this action results in storing more fat in adipose cells and more fatty acids in the liver. Essentially, they exchange dangerous blood sugar levels for increased body fat and liver damage.

Adding to the bag of tricks

Licorice root has already been used medicinally for thousands of years, and this newest feat is only possible at greatly increased concentrations in the lab. While licorice has other benefits, the positive effects on diabetes are going to have to wait until research finds a way to supply the needed concentrations while reconciling the effects of licorice in its natural state. Other chemicals in the plant also raise blood pressure, which also prevents using licorice in its raw form from being an option for many people with diabetes.

In the past, the root was used as an aid for immune system functioning; externally as topical preparations for conditions like eczema, and internally, in regular diet as preventative medicine, or popularly as a tea with a particular aptitude for resolving chest congestion. It might also be taken with other medicines, to protect the stomach and lungs from the potentially inflammatory contact.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/04/12/1116971109

http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/42/10/1757

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ppar/2010/325183/

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/licorice-000262.htm

About the author:
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general.

Click here to see more by Michelle

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