Diabetes has almost become an epidemic in today’s world. Diabetes is a disorder that affects the way your body uses food for energy. Whatever sugar we take is generally broken down into simple sugar called ‘glucose’ in our body.
This glucose circulates within the blood and enter into the cells with the help of insulin. Insulin is a hormone, made within the Beta-cells of Pancreas. Due to sedentary life style and genetic predisposition, the beta cells are not able to make enough insulin, which is a key for glucose to enter into the cells. The key is not there and the glucose keeps on circulating within the blood.
This is called Diabetes.
There are two main types. Type I & Type II .
There is another condition known as Pre-Diabetes.
There are two main types of full-blown diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes are completely unable to produce insulin.
People with Type 2 diabetes can produce insulin, but their cells have become resistant to it. In either case, the glucose can’t move into the cells and blood glucose levels can become high. When these levels remain high for long time, they can cause serious complications.
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which the cells in your body are becoming resistant to insulin or your pancreas is not producing as much insulin as required. Your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. This is also known as “impaired fasting glucose” or “impaired glucose tolerance”. Every individual who has a Diabetic father or mother must go for glucose tolerance test or GTT. This can help in diagnosing pre-diabetic condition. A diagnosis of pre-diabetes is a warning sign that diabetes will develop later.
You can prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes by losing weight, making changes in your diet and exercising.
Type 1 Diabetes
In case of Type I (Insulin Dependent Diabetes) the person can’t make any insulin. Type 1 most often occurs before age 30, but may strike at any age. This is typically caused by genetic disorder. The pancreas produces very little or no insulin anymore. Frequent insulin injections are needed for Type 1. However there are certain herbs like Salacia oblonga and Pterocarpus marsupium which are found to be useful even in Type I diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
People suffering from Type II diabetes are having enough insulin but the cells have become resistant to it. This type of Diabetes has become very common and is spreading like an epidemic everywhere around the world. The most important reason for the cells to become resistant to insulin is sedentary life style which is being followed by modern age people.
95 percent of all diabetes cases are Type 2. What can be the reason? It’s a lifestyle disease, triggered by obesity, a lack of exercise, increased age and to some degree, genetic predisposition.
So the only way to prevent diabetes is to change the life style, which is the basic theory of Ayurveda to fight any disease. According to Ayurveda, Stress and life style is the reason for most of the illnesses including Type II diabetes.
Factors for developing Type II diabetes and herbs for them
As we know that there is no problem with the insulin production. It is there in the body in enough quantity, but the only problem is that it is not able to open the cells to make the glucose enter into them. All the glucose keep circulating within the blood. The cells become resistant to insulin. The reasons for Insulin resistance are –
The number one risk factor for Type 2 diabetes is obesity. Nearly 40 % of the patients suffering from Type II diabetes are obese.
Excessive fat interferes with body’s ability to use insulin properly. According to Ayurveda this is called ” Stroto-avarodh” i.e. blocked channels. This blockage in the channels of passage of Insulin is reason for greater insulin resistance.
Food and life style which cause blockage in the channels or ” Stroto-avarodh ” are curd, banana, heavy greasy diet, overeating, excess daytime sleep.
There are herbs which are useful in clearing the blockages and opening up the micro channels. These remove excessive fat from within the body. Herbs like Katuki (Picrorrhiza kurro), Vidang (Embelia ribes), Amalvetas (Garcinia cambogia), Triphala are useful in Type II diabetes because they open up the channels and helps in reducing the insulin resistance.
2. Sedentary Lifestyle
According to Charaka- an ancient Ayurvedic healer, lifestyle is damaging to health and bears responsibility for the growing obesity and diabetes. Inactivity and being overweight go hand in hand towards a diagnosis of Type 2. Muscle cells have more insulin receptors than fat cells, so a person can decrease insulin resistance by exercising. Sushruta another ancient Ayurveda surgeon explains by giving an analogy that who suffers from diabetes should walk at least 100 kilometers a day to keep his sugar level under control.
This indicates that one must walking and being more active also lowers blood sugar levels by helping insulin to be more effective.
3. Unhealthy Eating Habits
90% of people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. Unhealthy eating contributes largely to obesity. Too much fat, not enough fiber, and too many simple carbohydrates all contribute to a diagnosis of diabetes. Eating right is can turn the diagnosis around and reverse or prevent Type 2.
4. Family History and Genetics
It appears that people who have family members who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for developing it themselves. Indians have a higher than normal rate of Type 2 diabetes. Having a genetic disposition towards Type 2 is not a guarantee of a diagnosis. Lifestyle plays an important part in determining who gets diabetes. So it can be prevented if we go for changed life style to avoid diabetes.
5. Increased Age
It’s a very sad but true fact. The older we get, the risk of Type 2 diabetes is increased. Even if an elderly person is thin, he/she still may be predisposed to getting diabetes. As we age, the pancreas ages right along with us. It doesn’t make enough insulin it did when we were younger. Also, as our cells age, they become more resistant to insulin as well.
6. Stress, High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol
The hormones are under the control of our thought and our attitude towards events in life. The stress hormone immediately releases pool of glucose, corticosteroid hormones in our blood. There is immediate release of adrenal hormones, causing blood pressure and constriction of arteries.
Not only do they damage your heart vessels but they are two key components in Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms including obesity, a high fat diet, and lack of exercise. Having metabolic syndrome increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
HERBS FOR DIABETES-
Following are the herbs, which have been extensively researched by modern parameters by various research scholars. They have also been described in ancient Ayurvedic texts as herbal solution for diabetes. These are –
1. Saptrangi – Salacia oblonga
2. Vizaysaar – Pterocarpus marsupium
3. Gurmaar – Gymnema sylvestrae
4. Jamun – Syzigium cumini
5. Bilva Leaves- Leaves of Aegle marmelos
6. Karela – Momordica charanatia
7. Methi – Trigonella foenum graecum
8. Neem – Azadirachta indica
9. Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum
10. Daruhaldi – Berberis aristata
11. Haridra – Curcuma longa
12. Sadabahar- Vinca rosea
13. Amla – Emblica officinalis
1. Saptrangi – Salacia oblonga
This is a wonderful remedy for diabetes. It is a tree whose bark is effective in controlling diabetes. It is extensively studied in the western herbal schools, but in Ayurveda it is being used since ages. The herb have been found to have diabetes controlling properties.
2. Vizaysaar – Pterocarpus marsupium
This is a big tree whose bark is very useful for diabetes. The bark of the tree is made into a wooden glass and the glass is termed as “The miracle cure for diabetes”. Some water is kept in the wooden glass overnight and is consumed early morning by diabetes patients. The color of the water changes to brown and glass is changed after around 1 month when the water color does not change. Diabetes support contains extract of bark of this miracle tree.
3. Gurmaar- Gymnema sylvestrae-
In Hindi language, ‘Gur’ means Sugar and ‘Maar’ mean Kill. Gurmaar means “The sugar killer”. It is a twine that is known since ages in Ayurveda for its sugar controlling properties. Recent studies show that it contains Gymnemic acid molecules responsible for its anti-diabetic action. They bind with glucose molecules in the intestines and inhibit their entry into the blood stream. Thus it is effective in controlling sugar levels.
4. Jamun – Syzigium cumini-
It is a popular fruit tree growing wild in plains of India. The seeds of this tree are dried up and then a powder is made of them. The powder of the seeds of Jamun fruit is very effective in controlling sugar levels. It is astringent in taste which is opposite to sweet. Anything astringent in taste is useful for diseases caused by excessive sweetness like obesity and diabetes.
5. Bilva – Aegle marmelos-
This tree has three leaves together on its branches. Any tree who has combination of three leaves is considered in Ayurveda as divine and seat of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The leaves are offered every Mondays in Shiva temples. This fruit of this tree is useful in irritable bowel syndrome. The leaves of Bilva are excellent for diabetes. The leaves are dried and powder is made and mixed with other herbs for better results.
6. Karela – Momordica charanatia-
The juice of this fruit is a miracle in treating and preventing diabetes and its complications. 30 ml of Karela juice every morning empty stomach is recommended for best results. It can be taken along with Amla juice for better results, as Amla is rich in natural vitamin C and is also effective in diabetes. Karela contains natural chromium and other micronutrients, whereas Amla is also rich in natural anti-oxidants like vitamin C and others.
7. Methi- Trigonella-foenum-graecum-
Since ages Fenugreek is being used as a medicine in India, Egypt, Middle east and other ancient civilizations. Fenugreek has excellent properties to bring sugar levels as well as cholesterol levels under control. The seed powder of Methi is used to lower down sugar levels. It can be mixed with herbs described above.
8. Neem – Azadirachta indica-
Azadirachtin, Nimbin and Nimbidin are effective alkaloids found in neem. They act not only as blood purifiers but also controls sugar level very effectively. Neem is also useful in many skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, rashes. The skin diseases associated with diabetes also respond to this herb quickly. It also helps in clearing away the blocked channels and maintains the flow of bile from within the liver and improves liver function.
9.Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum-
It is popularly known as ‘The Holy Basil’ is a sacred plant according to Hindu mythology. People in India worship this plant as it has tremendous medicinal properties. Regular use of leaves of this plant controls blood sugar levels very effectively. It is also useful in many types of cancers, viral and bacterial infections, sore throat, cough and cold etc.
10.Daruhaldi – Berberis aristata-
This is a rhizome growing mainly in South India. The roots of this herb are taken out and grinded well. The herb powder stimulates pancreas to pump more insulin into blood. It also helps in preventing insulin resistance among cells. It acts as a channel opener for glucose into the cells. This also purifies the blood.
11.Haridra- Curcuma longa-
This is very popular herb and is commonly called Turmeric. Turmeric powder is an effective anti-allergic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and one of the best natural anti-diabetic. It works in the same way as Berberis aristata. It helps in purifying the blood, channel opener, helps in reducing the insulin resistance and thus making the way for glucose into the cells.
12.Sadabahar- Vinca rosea-
It is always flowering plant, growing almost in every house in India. It is known as periwinkle in English. The plant contains very precious alkaloids ‘ vincristine’ and ‘vinblastine’ which are used in allopathic medicine as anti-cancer injections. The herb leaves are very useful in controlling the diabetes. The herb leaves are mixed with other herbs described above to get good results.
13. Amla – Emblica officinalis –
Amla is world’s richest natural source of vitamin C and is nature’s super anti-oxidant. One amla contains 30 times more vitamin C than an orange. It prevents ageing and therefore delayes the onset of complications of diabetes. Amla powder, Amla juice can be consumed regularly to get the benefits in diabetes and other diseases.