Life is getting rushed and every day is becoming a blur. Now, we are caught in a hasty cycle of work and sleep with a little leisure squeezed in between.
To keep up with this fast-paced world, we have had to make some major sacrifice, often without even realizing it. Not sure what I am talking about? Well take a deep breath and try to answer the list of questions given below:
- When was the last time you put everything on pause and took time out for your body?
- When was the last time you enjoyed a workout or went for a solitary walk?
- When was the last time you consciously made a culinary choice that was healthy for you?
- The last time you were sick, did you take medication and doze off or did you actively seek out natural remedies?
If you can remember, well and good you are on the right track (but do read on because this blog will add to your knowledge of traditional medicine). If you cannot, then do not worry because you can get started today!
Our Proximity to Nature
You see, our ancestors feared getting eaten by a T-Rex but they were also blessed in many ways.
Back then, life was even paced and mankind was connected to nature. Not only did they have a lot of leisure time on their hands, but they also had time to explore and uncover the wisdom in nature.
In ancient times, people had to learn the basics of healing. With no modern medicine to fall back on, they went out into meadows, savannahs, mountains, found natural ingredients and harnessed their therapeutic properties by making potent salves and healthy concoctions.
< Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
For most of our history, we survived using natural medicine or what is now known as complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM). Simply put, CAM includes healing techniques and medicines that are utilised in addition to (hence, ‘complimentary) or instead of (hence ‘alternative’) standard medical treatments.
CAM borrows heavily from the natural wisdom and remedies our ancestors uncovered throughout human history. It includes, but is not limited to, dietary supplements, herbal medication, natural brews and several therapeutic regiments such as massages (we love them!), spiritual healing as well as meditation.
Then we stumbled across modern medicine and shed away all our traditional wisdom.
With big pharma came instant relief but turns out relying solely on medication was not exactly a smart move either because with modern medication came side effects and with side effects came more medicines that suppressed those effects.
Do you see a cycle in play there?
Well luckily, now we can benefit from the best of both worlds and break the cycle. Medication is important in treating conditions, but we can supplement it with alternative, herb-derived ingredients and self-love to regain that intricate balance that keeps us healthy.
This also explains perfectly the worldwide reversion to traditional healing methods and natural remedies.
Alternative Medicine and Diabetes Mellitus
With up to 415 million (1 in 11) people suffering from Diabetes Mellitus in the world, it is a subject that deserves its fair share of conversation. In the United Kingdom (UK) alone, it is estimated that up to 4 million (1 in every 16) people are suffering from diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes. This means that 6% of the UK’s total population is diabetic, which is big.
Even though there are medicines that can help diabetic individuals regulate their sugar levels and reduce disruptive symptoms of the condition, they are not enough. That is why medical practitioners recommend that you make some major lifestyle changes to remain healthy. Your physician might ask you to eat healthy or exercise regularly.
CAM and herbal therapy fit nicely into this and compliments conventional medication. There are some natural ingredients that impact the body positively by stabilising the blood sugar levels and even lowering them.
While a lot of diabetics swear by CAM and some pilot studies have been conducted to explore their effects on the body, we still need more extensive research to back herbal medicines up. Some of these medications may interfere with the medication you are already taking so we highly recommend you consult with your physician before incorporating them into your diet.
5 Wonderful Alternative Treatments for Diabetes:
To create this list, we have plucked herbal remedies that work for diabetes from all around the world. So without further ado, lets dive right in!
We have our ancient Chinese kin to thank for this amazingly beneficial remedy since Ginseng root used to be an integral ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. Ginseng is basically the root portion of the Panax plant which is a slow-growing, short sapling with oval shaped leaves. The fleshy Ginseng root has in it many beneficial active ingredients that are said to lower blood sugar levels and, in turn, benefit diabetic individuals.
Both American and Korean varieties of Ginseng root contain active anti-oxidant compounds, known as ginsenosides, which reduce both oxidative stress and inflammation by reducing free radical activity on a cellular level. It is worth mentioning that oxidative stress and swelling both contribute to the development of diabetes.
Moreover, pilot studies have concluded that Ginseng helps improve pancreatic function, promotes insulin production and facilitates the uptake of blood sugar.
A study conducted on a group of 19 diabetic (Type 2) individuals explored the effects of 6 grams (g) of Korean Red Ginseng on the body. During the study, participants were asked to consume Ginseng root along with their usual anti-diabetic medication and diet.
It was found that the participants were able to maintain healthy sugar levels throughout the duration of the study. After taking the root regularly for 12 weeks, the diabetic adults had an 11% reduction in their blood sugar levels, a 38% decrease in fasting insulin levels and a 33% increased insulin sensitivity.
Another study was conducted to explore the effects of American Ginseng on 10 diabetic individuals found that the adults had improved glucose levels after a sugary drink was offered to them.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), a popular weight loss aide, is also thought have benefits for diabetic individuals because of its rich antioxidant content (polyphenols). Apple Cider Vinegar also regulates cholesterol levels which works to the advantage of diabetic individuals.
Several preliminary studies have been conducted to study the miraculous properties of this vinegar but more clinical (human-based) research is required to fully understand how ACV helps with weight loss, cholesterol stabilization and blood glucose reduction. One rationale offered is that ACV slows down the breakdown of starchy foods during digestion and that, in turn, keeps the food in the stomach. Another theory is that ACV alters glucose production in liver.
A study conducted on 10 individuals in 2004 by the American Diabetes Association found that the raw ACV helped in regulating glucose levels. During the study, participants with Type 2 diabetes were administered two tablespoons of vinegar before their bedtime. It was found that regular ACV intake helped moderate glucose levels. Another study conducted on 30 individuals found that ACV seemed to bring blood sugar levels down.
Cinnamon is an aromatic and earthy spice obtained from the bark of trees that fall in the Cinnamomum genus. Loved and cherished for its distinct and strong flavour, cinnamon has found its way in everything from food to beverages and even cosmetics.
Initial trials have shown that cinnamon is packed with active compounds that reduce inflammation, decrease cholesterol and lower blood glucose levels, both of which are beneficial for diabetic people.
A small study conducted back in 2003 found that taking alternating dosages of cinnamon (1 g, 3 g or 6 g) for about 40 days lowered glucose, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels. 10 years on, a meta-analysis based on 10 studies showed that cinnamon significantly lowered fasting glucose levels, LDL and triglyceride levels.
- Black Seed Oil
Black seed oil, a special cold-pressed oil, derived from the seeds of Nigella Sativa plant was also found to have hypoglycemic effects. Several studies were conducted on the subject and it was found that black seed oil had many benefits for diabetic individuals.
A study combined black seed oil with conventional anti-diabetic medication and told the participants to take the mix regularly. The same study found that black cumin seed oil decreases blood glucose levels by stimulating the production of insulin naturally and increasing our body’s sensitivity to the sugar controlling hormone. The aforementioned study also revealed that raw black seed oil stimulated cellular activity and helped in the process of insulin production.
Moreover, an overview published in the British Journal of Pharmaceutical Research found that this Eastern herbal oil promoted the activity of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and also encouraged their regeneration and repair. These findings were further supplemented by two studies conducted n 2013 and 2014 on diabetic rats. Researchers reached the conclusion that black seed supplements decrease glucose levels and enhance insulin production.
Black seed oil also has additional benefits for diabetics. Other benefits of this wonderfully restorative oil include an improvement in cholesterol levels, decrease in weight, lowered inflammation, and blood pressure stabilisation all of which can help diabetics.
Fenugreek is another Middle Eastern herb that is of a special importance for those with diabetes. Fenugreek seeds are obtained from the Fenugreek plant, which is a semi-arid sapling with oblong leaves. Seeds from the Fenugreek plant are used in an assortment of local and regional dishes owing to their distinct flavour and aroma.
The therapeutic effects of the Fenugreek plant have been explored in both clinical (human) and animal trials. In one study, conducted on a group of 25 individuals, Fenugreek seeds were offered to each participant. The study found that Fenugreek played a significant role in lowering blood sugar levels.
Remember, no cure is an ‘overnight’ cure and remedies take their time to yield results. Since miracle cures do not exist, you will have to be patient and consistent to experience the beneficial effects of the mentioned herbal remedies.
Make Lifestyle Changes
You should also consider exercising regularly and charting up a diet plan with your general physician. When used in conjunction with health-promoting activities such as exercise, a balanced diet and your regular diabetes medication, these herbal remedies will work wonders for you.
We hope you found this information helpful. Which other herbal remedies have you tried to control your diabetes? Let us know your story in the comments section!