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Herbs To Help Control Diabetes

There are many ways to control diabetes. We have already discussed exercise and diet. But before I summarize some of the herbs and vitamins that have been useful in treating diabetes, let me remind you that taking an herb or any other kind of supplement to help control your diabetes is not much better than taking a pill of synthesized drug for diabetes IF YOU ARE NOT EXERCISING FIRST, and eating a healthy diet. Sure, there may be less side effects from the herbs, but they tend to be milder and take more time to take effect than the drugs. Furthermore, the main point here is that if you don’t treat the cause of diabetes, then any treatment is at a severe disadvantage.

Treating type 2 diabetes with medication or herbs without a change in lifestyle is like driving a car with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake. On the other hand, by taking the foot off the accelerator (i.e. mitigating carb/sugar consumption and working out),  you can get a lot more results from the kinder, gentler herbs. Diet and exercise combined is the way to enhance the power of any herbal treatment, so with that proviso in mind, let’s talk about some herbs. This is only a partial list.

  • Cinnamon: This is one of my favorites because it is so easy to add to food: sprinkled on grapefruit, or in apple cider vinegar-based or other refreshing drinks. Cinnamon increases glucose metabolism, increases insulin sensitivity, and helps sugar metabolism by acting as an antioxidant as well. Furthermore, cinnamon lowers LDL cholesterol, and that helps diabetes as well.
  • Cayenne: Cayenne is another antioxidant, and it seems to help in diabetes by stimulating metabolism including that of sugar.
  • Fenugreek: Consumption of at least the defatted portion of the fenugreek seed has been shown to decrease blood sugar levels. Incidentally, it also lowers LDL, the bad cholesterol, while elevating HDL, the good cholesterol.
  • Gymnema Sylvestre: Gymnema Sylvestre deceases the sensation of sweetness on the tongue, which has been shown to decrease sugar consumption, and it also seems to help the regeneration of pancreatic cells that produce insulin.
  • Bitter Melon Extract: Among its many medicinal uses, bitter lemon has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity.
  • Green Tea Extract: Although it might have some stimulant effect, tea extracts can promote loss of weight by increasing metabolism without over stimulating the adrenal glands.

red cayenne peppers
As mentioned above, this is by no means a complete list. Many other herbs have effects that directly or indirectly help reduce serum blood sugar and stabilize blood sugar levels, or contribute in other ways to preventing the ravages of diabetes. Anything for instance that helps with appetite suppression, gives someone energy, or lifts depression so that a diabetic can exercise will help with blood sugar levels.

For example, Ginseng elevating mood by increasing overall energy levels, but also stabilizes blood sugar by itself.

And finally, I remind you again that no medication, no herb, and no supplement will be the answer to type 2 diabetes unless you are on the road to health with your diet and exercise programs.

Dr. Paul Berger, M.D.

Dr. Paul Berger, M.D.

Paul Berger, MD is a board-certified Family Practitioner in Boulder, Colorado. He is also board-certified and is a Founding Diplomat of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine as well as a former Board Member of the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Berger lives in Boulder with his family where they are all very involved in their local community.

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