Diabetes is the consequence of years of consistently high blood sugar. Of course, there are prescription and over-the-counter drugs for managing insulin sensitivity. However, as we have mentioned time and again, we are advocates of remedies found abundantly in nature. This list of herbs for diabetes outlines just some of the natural resources at your disposal. We recommend exploring these pathways before turning to anything made in a lab.
1. Milk Thistle
Do you want to know how to lower blood sugar without medication? Milk thistle is one of the top herbs. We have discussed the various benefits of milk thistle in a previous post. The herb is traditionally taken as a tonic for treating liver issues. What makes this compound so potent is an antioxidant known as silymarin. While more studies are warranted, early research suggests it may be helpful in treating type II diabetes.
Milk thistle is also rich in the antioxidant silibinin. It’s believed this potent compound may reduce production of IKKbeta. Researchers1 suspect this enzyme may disrupt insulin signaling.
The fenugreek plant is native to South and Central Asia. It has long been prized for its medicinal qualities. It’s especially a staple in traditional Chinese medicine where it’s prescribed for treating low testosterone in men and increasing breast milk production in women. This also happens to be one of the natural ways to lower blood sugar and one of the best herbs for diabetes. Studies2 show it lowers blood glucose in diabetics. In another study3, healthy non-diabetics who ingested the herb saw their blood sugar levels drop by 13.4 percent.
This is a relatively new herb in the western market. However, it has been in wide distribution in tropical climates around India and parts of Africa for thousands of years. It’s believed that chewing on the leaves stimulates the release of insulin. This was verified in a study4 published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. The herb is still being studied, though preliminary findings show this may be one of the most potent herbs for diabetes.
Another highlight of gymnema lies in a compound known as gymnemic acid. At the molecular level, it’s very similar to glucose but behaves very differently in the body. If consumed before eating sugary foods, gymnemic acid blocks sugar from absorbing into the intestines.
Ginger is a far more well-known herb in western culture. Despite the number of studies available, researchers are still discovering new benefits regarding this wonder herb. We also included ginger as one of the top foods for reducing inflammation. When people ask us how to get blood sugar down, we often suggest ginger simply because of its popularity in alternative medicine. The evidence of this herb for diabetes is also strong.
A study5 published in a 2009 issue of European Journal of Pharmacology showed that subjects given the ginger extract spissum saw their blood glucose levels drop by 35 percent and their insulin rise by 10 percent.
5. Curry Leaves
As you can probably guess, this is an herb used commonly in curry. New research suggests this may be a powerful tonic for treating diabetes. In a study reviewed in the Guardian, evidence suggests curry leaves may slow the rate starch breaks down to glucose. This slows the release of glucose entering the bloodstream. Curry leaves also contain additional antioxidants known to treat other ailments, such as dysentery, bloating and peptic ulcers.
This is another one of the more obscure herbs. It contains polyphenols that may help stabilize blood sugar. Even more importantly, new evidence6 suggests it may reduce Advanced Glycation End (AGE). Researchers are just learning about AGE, but they suspect this to be the main culprit responsible for many of the complications that diabetics experience, such as clogged arteries and retina damage.
Marjoram has a flavor similar to oregano; feel free to sprinkle it liberally to any of your favorite dishes.
Ginseng is not to be confused with ginger. People tend to treat the two as if they were interchangeable, even though they’re two entirely different compounds. Like ginger, however, ginseng is well known and is one of the many natural ways to lower blood sugar. Research shows that both Panax and American ginseng significantly reduces A1C levels. If you’re not familiar with A1C, this is a blood test doctors use to monitor a patient’s diabetes management plan.
You need no introduction to turmeric if you have been following our posts for some time. We did an entire post on turmeric for joint pain. This spice is just as effective for treating diabetes. How so? Curcumin is the primary compound in turmeric. A study7 published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that curcumin may prevent insulin resistance and reduce liver glucose production. In addition, curcumin also increases AMP kinase production. This is an enzyme that recent studies8 suggest may effectively treat diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
These Herbs for Diabetes Boost Insulin Sensitivity
If you want to know how to lower blood sugar without medication, you don’t need to look past natural herbs and spices. Why do you need to turn to man-made medicine when nature has all the answers? This is precisely why we created Sensolin, an all-natural supplement designed to lower blood sugar and prevent the onset of diabetes. This makes it convenient to acquire some of the most potent compounds without scavenging foreign supermarkets for the right herbs and spices.