Originally published October 18 2012
Manage your blood sugar and diabetes with these four herbs
by Angela Doss
(NaturalNews) Modern medicine may have its place in emergency care, but when it comes to the prevention or management of chronic illness, many conventional treatments are lacking. In the case of diabetes, the battle is loudly proclaimed to be one of blood sugar regulation. "Check your sugar, and take your drugs as prescribed," seems the tired message of most industry doctors to a steadily increasing number of diabetics.
But where modern medicine falls short in its rigid symptoms-only approach, alternative healing can help to bridge the gap. Instead of measuring success by glucose levels in the blood while simultaneously blaming the poor pancreas for what is more likely a whole-body deficiency, holistic applications can help restore the body's ability to heal itself - to maintain homeostasis. Where a healthy person's body converts carbohydrates from food into glucose and also produces insulin to convert that glucose into energy, in diabetics, the body cannot produce enough insulin to make possible that conversion of glucose into energy. As a result, the glucose builds up in the blood and can lead to any number of very serious conditions, like blindness, kidney failure, neuropathy and coma.
From a scientific perspective, what we call "diabetes" actually has less to do with controlling blood sugar and more to do with the body's regulation of the hormones, insulin and leptin, or how well the body makes use of energy. "Diabetes is the end point of deranged sugar and carbohydrate metabolism," according to Dr. Larry Wilson, M.D. (http://drlwilson.com/articles/DIABETES.htm). In fact, the term "diabetes" (irrespective of Type) may be further purported to be a superficial label for a cluster of symptoms not yet fully understood by medical science, whose true origins lie more deeply within than even a microscope can see.
While some approaches are more spiritual than others, in order to facilitate the healing process under circumstances as serious as diabetes, full detoxification and dietary programs are often recommended and can prove most beneficial in helping to rid the body of toxins while also supplying it with deficient minerals and other essential nutrients. But the busy pace of stressful lives can make changing course all at once rather difficult. That's where the following herbs and natural remedies may help, thanks to research demonstrating their natural proclivity for easing the burden of diabetes management.
Gymnema SylvestreKnown by its Hindi name as the "sugar destroyer," this plant is regarded as one of the most powerful herbs for the regulation of diabetes, Types 1 and 2. Besides reducing cravings for sweets, studies show Gymnema can actually stimulate the body to produce more of its own insulin, by regenerating insulin-making beta cells in the pancreas. Though more extensive studies are pending, the herb has demonstrated no side effects and assumes its sugar-lowering role only in cases of diabetes, at a typical dosage of 200-250 milligrams twice daily.
GinsengChinese medicine has made regular use of Asian ginseng for thousands of years, thanks to its demonstrated ability both to amplify the release of insulin from the pancreas and to elevate the number of insulin receptors present. One study indicated that 200 milligrams of ginseng extract per day over an eight-week period improved mood, blood sugar control, body weight and energy levels in Type 2 diabetics. A separate study on the North American variety indicates the herb significantly prevented oxidative stress and may even help diabetics to protect against kidney disease.
Gingko bilobaBecause of its effective increase of blood flow to areas such as the brain, the limbs and the extremities, ginkgo is regarded as an important element in the treatment of vascular insufficiency - especially as it relates to diabetes, where poor circulation can have severe consequences. Clinical studies have shown the herb can prevent diabetic retinopathy in diabetic rats and may, therefore, be similarly effective in humans. For these purposes, a typical dosage of Ginkgo extract is 40-80 milligrams (at a concentration of 24 percent ginkgo flavoglycoside) three times daily.
Nopal leavesStudies show the profound effects of this Mexican herbal remedy on everything from improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels, to the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Traditionally served with eggs, in salads or as part of a stir-fry dish, the nutritive richness of this otherwise unusual morsel is earning it greater recognition as a "functional food" by health enthusiasts. Just a one cup serving is packed with fiber, pectin, antioxidant vitamins A and C, trace amounts of vitamin K and folate as well as several essential minerals, like calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous.
Other nutritive solutions for managing diabetes include eating more onions and garlic, whose sulfur-containing allyl propyl disulfide (APDS) helps the body to make better use of insulin (which is also a disulfide) by competing with it for insulin-inactivating sites in the liver. The result is that the body has more free insulin available for use in the glucose-to-energy conversion process, and blood sugar levels decrease.
Carefully supervised food-based magnesium and chromium supplementation may also prove beneficial, as deficiencies of both minerals are common in people with diabetes. Studies suggest that appropriate levels of these minerals may help to improve insulin and overall metabolic function. (http://drlwilson.com/do%20hair%20analysis.htm)
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