Beneficial Herbs for Diabetes
With so many sugar free products on the market, it is alarming how the rate of pre-diabetes and Type II Diabetes is increasing. These were once thought to be conditions of the 40 to 50-year-old age group, but not anymore.
Fortunately diet, exercise, herbs and supplements can assist in the care of diabetes. Eating more foods with a low glycemic index affects the rate at which foods are turned into glucose. Foods higher in the glycemic index raise your blood sugar levels and stress your pancreas forcing your body to produce more fat, which causes weight gain. This may be why 80% of Type II Diabetics are over-weight. At the supermarket, watch for foods with fructose, sucrose, glucose or other forms of sugar on the labels. These get absorbed in the blood steam and turn into fat quickly.
The herb Gymnema has been used for over 2000 years in India for diabetes. In Sanskrit it means “destroyer of sugar.” It stimulates the beta cells in the pancreas to produce insulin and slows down the absorption of glucose through the intestine. What most people like about this herb is that after you have tasted it, the herb blocks the taste of sweets. This can help curb your cravings of sweets and carbohydrates.
Fenugreek has been well documented and used for a long time to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol, which seems to be a problem for many diabetics. It was also found to significantly drop blood glucose levels protecting the body from free radical damage associated with diabetes. Fenugreek’s unique compounds surround fats and sugars slowing down their absorption making it great for weight reduction. This may be of help for many diabetics who are having trouble losing weight. Plus, it contains amino acids that stimulate production of insulin.
There are other herbs that can be of benefit to diabetes; Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol, plus it helps to stimulate metabolism. Devils Claw helps decrease blood sugar levels helping curb sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Sandalwood helps to rejuvenate insulin production. The sulfur in onions and garlic has insulin-like actions that help to protect the circulatory system. Finally, stevia helps control blood glucose levels reducing glucagon. Plus, it can be used as an artificial sweetener with no calories, no carbs and no sugar.
Cecelia Avitable, Master Herbalist, is the owner of The Herb Corner. It is located at 277 N. Babcock St in Melbourne. Call 321-757-7522 for more information.