Herbs For Diabetes

 

DiaHerbs is a special formulation of herbs that have been shown to support healthy blood glucose levels.* In DiaHerbs, Dr. Sarfraz Zaidi, MD, a leading endocrinologist has put together the most beneficial herbs in the appropriate proportions.

 

Here is the description of the formula of DiaHerbs

 

Serving Size = 3 capsules

Servings per Bottle = 30 

Amount per Serving: 

Organic Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract (25%) = 550 mg

Organic Fenugreek seed powder = 500 mg 

Jamun or Jamul (Eugenia Jambolana) powder = 500 mg

Organic Bitter Gourd powder = 250 mg 

Nopal (Opuntia streptacantha), leaf powder= 250 mg 

 

 

Other ingredients:

 

Gelatin ( bovine), rice powder, Magnesium stearate, Silicon Dioxide

 

 

 

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Each bottle contains 90 capsules

Price = US$ 19.95 per bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An excerpt from Dr. Zaidi's Book "Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes Scientifically,"

 

 

Herbal Remedies For Diabetes

 

FENUGREEK

(Trigonella foenum graecum) 

           

Fenugreek is used both in cooking and for the treatment of diabetes in many parts of the world, especially in India, China, Egypt and Middle Eastern countries. 

            A number of studies have shown that fenugreek can lower blood glucose level in diabetics. In a recently published study (1), researchers analyzed data from 10 clinical trials of Fenugreek in diabetic patients. They found that fenugreek significantly decreased fasting blood glucose by about 18 mg/dl (0.96 mmol/l), 2 hour post-meal glucose by about 40 mg/dl (2.19 mmol/l) and hemoglobin A1c by 0.85%, as compared with control interventions. 

            Clinical trials (2, 5) have also demonstrated that fenugreek treatment not only lowers glucose level, but also reduces serum triglycerides level, and total cholesterol level without lowering HDL cholesterol level in Type 2 diabetic patients. 

 

How Fenugreek May Work 

         

Fenugreek seeds are high in soluble fiber, which slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugar, as well as its absorption into the blood stream. Fenugreek also decreases emptying of the stomach and improves satiety. It also contains trigonelline, which acts like insulin at the level of muscle and fat cells. 

            In an animal study (3), researchers found that fenugreek seeds improves glucose levels in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes by delaying carbohydrate digestion and absorption, and enhancing insulin action. In another animal study (4), fenugreek seed extract was found to act like insulin at the level of muscle and fat cells. 

            In an experimental study (5), fenugreek increased the excretion of fat in the feces and consequently, decreased the accumulation of fat (triglycerides) in the liver, which is a common problem in Type 2 diabetics and causes fatty liver. In this way, fenugreek may help to prevent as well as treat fatty liver. 

 

What Type of Fenugreek?

            In one study (6), the researcher used six protocols - A, B, C, D, E and F: whole fenugreek seeds, defatted fenugreek seeds, gum isolate, degummed fenugreek seeds, cooked fenugreek seeds and cooked fenugreek leaves. The reduction in glucose level was greatest with whole seeds (42.4%), followed by gum isolate (37.5%), extracted seeds (36.9%), and cooked seeds (35.1%), in that order. 

Fenugreek Leaves May Not Be Helpful 

            In the same study (6), researcher found that the fenugreek leaves and degummed seeds showed little effect on lowering blood glucose. 

 

What Is The Dose Of Fenugreek? 

            The recommended dose of fenugreek has not yet been established. In clinical trials, the daily dose of fenugreek seeds ranged from 1 g to 100  g (median: 25 g), divided in equal doses and given two to three times a day. 

            From a practical point of view, I recommend using fenugreek seeds as ONE teaspoon with every meal. You can get fenugreek seeds from an Indian/Pakistani grocery store, where it is called Methi seeds. You will be surprised how cheap these seeds are. 

            Fenugreek/Methi seeds are hard and bitter. Therefore, they need to be cooked. Please refer to the recipes in this book to see how I use Fenugreek/Methi seeds in my cooking. 

            In case, you don't want to prepare your own food or don't like the taste of fenugreek seeds, you can take it in the form of a supplement.

Caution:

            One has to be extra careful about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Long-term effects of fenugreek in humans are not known. Therefore, if you decide to take fenugreek, you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely. 

 

Any Side-Effects From Fenugreek? 

            The clinical studies did not report any serious side-effects from the fenugreek use. Fenugreek seeds contain fiber. Therefore, consumption of a large quantity of fenugreek seeds may cause diarrhea.

 

 

BITTER GOURD/ MELON

(Momordica charantia) 

           

Bitter gourd is also called bitter melon. It is vegetable that is commonly used in many Asian countries. InIndia and Pakistan, it is called Karela. You can easily get it from an Indian/Pakistani grocery store.In addition, bitter gourd has been used in traditional folk medicine in these countries for its beneficial effects on diabetes. In recent years, researchers have started to investigate bitter gourd, using the usual tools they employ to study medicines. Studies have been carried out in animals as well as humans, using juices, powders, extracts, and isolated compounds from bitter gourd. 

            In one animal study (7), bitter gourd supplementation reduced fasting blood glucose by 30% in rats. In addition, bitter gourd reduced the harmful effects of diabetes on the kidneys by about 30%.  

            In another animal study (8), bitter gourd not only lowered blood glucose, but also normalized the oxidative stress in diabetic rats.

            In a recent review article (9), the authors critically evaluated the studies that were designed to investigate the effects of bitter gourd on diabetes. They concluded that some of the studies do indicate anti-diabetic effects for patients. They also concluded that bitter gourd treatment is safe for humans.

How Bitter Gourd/Melon May Work

            Bitter gourd decreases glucose absorption from the intestines, and increases uptake and utilization of glucose in the muscles and fat. It also increases insulin secretion from the pancreas.

            Bitter gourd contains several substances which possess anti-diabetic properties. These include charantin, vicine, momordin and an insulin-like compound known as polypeptide-P. In an excellent study (10), Momordin was shown to up regulate the production and activation of PPARdelta, which is an important mechanism to lower blood sugar as well as serum triglycerides. Bitter gourd also contains Lectin, which reduces blood glucose concentrations by acting  at the level of muscle and fat. Lectin also suppresses appetite. In addition, bitter gourd is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C and Iron.

            Bitter gourd is also a powerful antioxidant. This property of bitter gourd is particularly useful in diabetics, who typically have excessive oxidative stress in their tissues. Consequently, they are in great need of anti-oxidants, much more so than the general population.

 

Dosage Of Bitter Gourd/Melon 

            The recommended dose of bitter gourd has not yet been established. Consuming large amounts of bitter gourd/melon may result in serious side-effects such as low blood sugar and its serious consequences. Therefore, I recommend using bitter gourd/melon as a vegetable as it has been used for centuries in several Asian countries. In this way, you get its beneficial effects, without getting in trouble. I have included my recipes on bitter gourd/melon in the Recipes section. 

            In case, you don't want to prepare your own food, you can take bitter gourd in the form of a supplement. 

Caution:

            One has to be extra careful about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Long-term effects of bitter gourd in humans are not known. Therefore, if you decide to take bitter gourd, you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely.

 

GURMAR

(Gymnema Sylvestre)

           

Gymnema Sylvestre is an herb, which is cultivated worldwide.  In Hindi, it is known as gurmar, which means "sugar killer." In India, it has been used to treat diabetes for ages. It is also known as Periploca of the woods, Chigengteng or Australian Cowplant, in English, and Waldschlinge in German. 

            In an experimental study (11), Gymnema Sylvestre leaf extract given to diabetic rats reduced blood glucose by 13.5 -60.0%. 

            In a human study (12), an extract from the leaves of Gymnema Sylvestre, was given to 22 Type 2 diabetic patients for 18 - 20 months as a supplement to their oral anti-diabetic drugs. There was a significant reduction in blood glucose and HbA1C (glycated hemoglobin). In many of these patients, the dose of their anti-diabetic drugs  could be decreased. Five of the 22 diabetic patients were able to discontinue their anti-diabetic drugs, and were able to maintain a good control of their diabetes with Gymnema Sylvestre leaf extract alone. 

            In addition to lowering blood glucose, Gymnema Sylvestre is also found to decrease weight, lower serum triglycerides, leptin, glucose, apolipoprotein B (LDL cholesterol), and significantly increase HDL-cholesterol and antioxidant enzymes levels in liver tissue (13). These effects are highly desirable in Type 2 diabetics, who often are obese and have elevated triglycerides level, low HDL cholesterol, elevated Apo B ( LDL cholesterol) and high oxidative stress. 

 

Mechanism Of Action 

            The anti-diabetic effect of Gymnema Sylvestre is believed to be due to several chemical compounds known as gymnemic acids, gymnemasaponins, and gurmarin. 

            These compounds act at several levels to reduce blood sugar level: They reduce appetite by interfering with the effect of sweets in food on the taste buds. They also decrease the absorption of glucose from the intestines by modulating an enzyme in the stomach called GLP-1 ( Glucagon-Like Peptide-1). They also increase insulin production from the pancreas.

          In an excellent study (14), researchers brilliantly showed that Gymnema Sylvestre , along with Pterocarpus marsupium and  Eugenia jambolana caused an increase in GLP-1 levels. The authors proposed these herbs may have potent DPP-4 (dipeptidyl peptidase-4) inhibitory action. It is interesting to note there is a class of anti-diabetic drugs which are called DPP4-inhibitors. These drugs are very popular these days and include: Januvia, Onglyza, Tradjenta, etc. 

 

Dose Of Gymnema Sylvestre 

            In a clinical study (15), researchers gave 500 mg of Gymnema Sylvestre per day for a period of 3 months. They observed that Gymnema Sylvestre supplementation reduced food intake, fatigue, blood glucose (fasting and post-prandial), and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C).  In addition, there was a favorable shift in lipid profiles and in other clinico-biochemical tests. 

            In another clinical study (16), researchers used Gymnema Sylvestre  extract as 1000 mg per day for 60 days. They observed significant increases in circulating insulin levels, which were associated with significant reductions in fasting and post-meal blood glucose. 

Caution:

            One has to be extra careful about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), as Gymnema Sylvestre has been shown to cause an increase in insulin level. Long-term effects of Gymnema Sylvestre in humans are not known. Therefore, if you decide to take Gymnema Sylvestre, you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely. 

 

BIJASAR

(Pterocarpus Marsupium) 

           

Pterocarpus Marsupium (Indian Kino Tree, Bijasar) is a tree that grows well in India. Various parts of the tree are used in Traditional Indian Folk Medicine, especially in treating diabetes. 

            Several experimental studies have validated the claims that Pterocarpus Marsupium can indeed lower blood glucose levels. In one such study (17), P. Marsupium decreased the fasting and post-meal blood glucose in Type 2 diabetic rats.

 

Mechanism Of Action

            In the above mentioned study (17), P. Marsupium significantly decreased the elevated TNF-α (Tumor Necrosis Factor) level in Type 2 diabetic rats. TNF-α contributes to insulin resistance, which is the hallmark of Type 2 diabetes. The authors proposed that P. Marsupium may exert its anti-diabetic effects through decreasing insulin resistance by reducing the TNF-α level.

            As mentioned above, Pterocarpus Marsupium was also shown to cause an increase in GLP-1 levels in a study (14). The authors proposed Pterocarpus Marsupium may have potent DPP-4 (dipeptidyl peptidase-4) inhibitory action.

 

What About Human Studies?

            Well designed human studies are lacking at this time.

Caution:

            One has to be extra careful about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Long-term effects of Pterocarpus Marsupium in humans are not known. Therefore, if you decide to take Pterocarpus Marsupium, you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely.  

 

JAMUN OR JAMUL

(Eugenia Jambolana)           

 

Jamun (Eugenia Jambolana) grows abundantly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malayasia. It has been used in traditional folk medicine from ancient times.

            Jamun has been used in various alternative systems of medicine and before the discovery of insulin, was a frontline anti-diabetic medication, even in Europe. The brew, prepared by boiling Jamun seeds in boiling water. has been used in various traditional folk medicine in India (18).

            There are several studies showing the beneficial effects of Jamun on diabetes. In a well designed scientific study (19), researchers gave seed extract of Eugenia Jambolana orally in diabetic rabbits. They observed a significant fall in Fasting Blood Glucose at 90min (28.6%), 7th day (35.6%) and 15th day (59.6%). Glycosylated hemoglobin (HBA1C) was significantly decreased (50.5%) after 15 days of treatment. There was significant increase in insulin levels in the blood. In addition, there was a decrease in the total lipids level. There were no adverse effects.

            In another study (20), researchers gave seed extract of Eugenia Jambolana orally in diabetic rabbits. They observed a significant improvement in serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), and the total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio.

            In another animal study (21), Eugenia Jambolana seeds not only decreased blood glucose level, but also reduced markers of oxidative stress in rats. In a study (21), it was shown to not only reduce blood glucose, but also to protect kidneys in diabetic rats. In another study (22), it was shown to reduce oxidative stress in diabetic rats.

 

How About Human Studies?           

            In an excellent, placebo-controlled, prospective clinical study (23), researchers investigated the effects of Eugenia Jambolana seeds in Type 2 diabetic patients. They had three groups: 10 patients on no anti-diabetes drugs, 10  patients taking oral hypoglycemic drugs (with history of inadequate control) and a control group of non-diabetics.            

            Each group was given dry powdered seeds of Eugenia Jambolana for fourteen days. On the 15th day, fasting blood and urine samples for glucose were taken. Then, there was a wash-out period of 1 week, after which blood and urine samples were drawn. Then, these patients were given extract of Eugenia Jambolana seeds for 14 days. On the 15th day, blood and urine samples of glucose were taken. After a wash-out period of one-week, fasting blood and urine samples for the monitoring of glucose level were again taken from these patients. These patients were then given alcoholic extract of the Eugenia Jambolana seeds for 14 days. On the 15th day, blood and urine samples of glucose were taken. 

            Out of ten patients, five received a low dose (2 grams thrice daily) and five received a high dose (4 grams thrice daily).  

            Six healthy subjects were kept as control: Three subjects received a low dose and three subjects received a high dose of powdered, aqueous and alcoholic extracts of seeds of Eugenia Jambolana as described above.  

            The results were impressive. In every patient, there was a marked decrease in fasting blood glucose, in both low-dose and high-dose groups, in patients on anti-diabetic drugs as well as in patents on no anti-diabetic drugs. Moreover, there was no decrease in the blood sugar of normal, non-diabetic individuals. 

            No individual experienced any side-effects except for mild headaches, which authors attributed to as psychosomatic in nature. No one experienced low blood sugar. This is the description of an ideal anti-diabetic agent: Control blood sugar when it is high, without causing low blood sugar. 

            The commonly used plant parts of the Jamun tree to treat diabetes are seeds, fruits and bark. Seeds seem to possess the most anti-diabetic activity, whereas leaves appear to have no anti-diabetic activity. In addition to diabetes, this tree is also used to treat a variety of ailments such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, peptic ulcer, bacterial infections, etc.

How Jamun May Work

            Jamun likely acts by several mechanisms. It seems to decrease the absorption of glucose from the stomach and intestine, through acting as a DPP-4 inhibitor as was shown in an animal study (14), mentioned above. In addition, it also seems to increase insulin level and decrease oxidative stress.

 

Dosage Of Jamun         

          Based on the above mentioned clinical study, Jamun seeds can be used as dried powder, or an extract. The dose for anti-diabetic effects appears to be 2 grams three times a day. 

Caution:

            Long-term effects of jamun in humans are not known. Therefore, if you decide to take jamun, you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely.

 

GINGER

(Zingiber Officinale) 

           

Ginger root has traditionally been used in many Asian countries as a spice/condiment, as well as for medicinal purposes such as diabetes, common colds, fever, muscle sprain, arthritis, motion sickness, cancer, etc. In recent years, there has been a great interest in the medical community about the health benefits of ginger. Recently, there has been a number of studies, animal as well as human, showing tremendous health benefits of ginger for diabetes, arthritis, cancer and cardiovascular health. 

             For example, in an excellent study (24), researchers enrolled 88 Type 2 diabetic patients. They divided them into two groups: Ginger group and Placebo group. The ginger group received ginger as 3 one-gram capsules daily to diabetic patients for 8 weeks. The placebo group received 3 one-gram dummy capsules daily for 8 weeks. At the end of 8 weeks, there was a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose, Hemoglobin A1C and insulin resistance in the group that received ginger, compared to the placebo group. 

            In another study (25), researchers enrolled 70 Type 2 diabetic patients and divided them into two groups. One group received a daily dose of 1600mg ginger, while the other group received 1600mg of placebo for 12 weeks. Compared with the placebo group, ginger significantly reduced fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1C, insulin resistance, triglyceride, total cholesterol, CRP (C-Reactive Protein) and PGE2 (Prostaglandin E2). CRP and PGE2 are markers for inflammation, which is extremely common in diabetic patients and indicates risk for cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. 

 

How Ginger May Work           

            Ginger contains several compounds such as gingerols, shogaols, paradols and zingerone, which have been shown to possess anti-diabetic, anti-lipidemic, anti-inflammatory, anti-vomiting, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Ginger is also a strong anti-oxidant. 

 

Dose of Ginger           

            The recommended dose of ginger has not yet been established. I recommend using ginger as a spice/condiment, the way it has been used for thousands of years in several Asian countries.           

            In case, you don't want to prepare your own food or don't like the taste of ginger, you can take ginger in the form of a supplement. 

Caution:

            If you decide to take ginger, you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely. 

 

 

CINNAMON 

           

Physicians have long been intrigued by the beneficial effects of cinnamon. In December 2003, an excellent study was published in Diabetes Care. In this study (26), the investigators divided a total of 60 Type 2 diabetic patients into six groups. Group 1, 2 and 3 were given cinnamon powder in a daily dose of 1 gram, 3 grams and 6 grams  respectively. Group 4, 5 and 6 received placebo capsules. At the end of 40 days, there was a decrease of 18 - 29 % in fasting blood glucose in Cinnamon-treated  patients, as compared with placebo groups. 

            In addition, Cinnamon also decreased serum triglycerides by 23 - 30 %.  Patients consuming 6 grams of cinnamon powder appeared to have achieved results earlier, but by 40 days, all doses had the same efficacy. 

Caution:

            Long-term effects of cinnamon in humans are not known. Therefore, if you decide to take cinnamon, you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely.  

 

NOPAL

 (Opuntia Streptacantha) 

           

Nopal (Opuntia Streptacantha) or the prickly pear cactus has been used for glucose control by Mexicans for centuries. Studies have reported improvement in glucose control and a decrease in insulin level indicating a decrease in insulin resistance. 

            One such excellent study (27) was carried out in three groups of patients with Type 2 diabetes. Group one (16 patients) ingested 500 grams of broiled nopal stems. Group 2 (10 patients) received only 400 ml of water as a control test. Three tests were performed on group 3 (6 patients): one with nopal, a second with water and a third with ingestion of 500 grams broiled squash. Researchers found that serum glucose and serum insulin levels decreased significantly in groups 1 and 3, whereas no similar changes were noticed in group 2. The mean reduction of glucose reached 17% of basal values at 180 minutes in group 1 and 16% in group 3; The reduction of serum insulin at 180 minutes reached 50% in group 1 and 40% in group 3. This study shows that the stems of Nopal (O. streptacantha Lem.) lowers blood glucose as well as insulin level in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The mechanism of this effect is a reduction in insulin resistance. 

            It appears that heating nopal  is necessary to obtain the glucose-lowering effect. In one study (28), crude extracts did not cause a significant decrease of blood glucose, and the results were similar to the water control test .The intake of broiled nopal stems caused a significant decrease of blood glucose level, that reached a mean of 48 mg/dl lower than basal values at 180 minutes. 

            The glucose-lowering effect of nopal is seen between two to six hours after the ingestion of 500 grams  of broiled nopal stems (29). 

 

What Dose Of Nopal? 

            An excellent study (30) looked at the various doses of nopal in Type 2 diabetic patients. Researchers found a direct correlation between various doses and the glucose-lowering effect of nopal. They noticed a (mean) decrease in blood glucose of 2, 10, 30 and 46 mg/dl less than basal value with 0, 100, 300 and 500 grams of nopal respectively. 

Caution:  

            One has to be extra careful about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).  Long-term effects of nopal in humans are not known. Therefore, if you decide to take nopal, you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely.  

 

KUNTH  

(Psacalium peltatum)           

           

Psacalium Peltatum is a medicinal plant, which is used in the treatment of diabetes in Mexico. 

            Scientific research confirms its anti-diabetic effects. In one such study (31), a water preparation of this plant caused a decrease in the blood glucose levels in mice.  

 

Mechanism of Action 

            It has been demonstrated that Psacalium Peltatum (AP-fraction) roots contains a carbohydrate-type compound with blood glucose-lowering property (32). 

            In another study (33),researchers showed that the a water preparation from Psacalium Peltatum (AP-fraction), not only lowered blood glucose in mice, but also showed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers concluded that Psacalium Peltatum may be valuable in preventing insulin resistance, as well as the development and progression of diabetic complications caused by chronic inflammation. 

            An experimental study (34) in rabbits demonstrated that some pancreatic function or the presence of insulin is required for the glucose-lowering activity of this plant. 

 

What Dose of Psacalium peltatum (Kunth)            

            The safe, effective dose of Psacalium peltatum (Kunth) has not been determined for human use. Perhaps the best way is how it is used in folk medicine in Mexico, as a water preparation of its roots. 

Caution:  

            One has to be extra careful about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Long-term effects of of Psacalium peltatum (Kunth), in humans are not known. Therefore, if you decide to take Psacalium peltatum (Kunth), you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely.

 

 

CUCURBITA Ficifolia 

           

Cucurbita Ficifolia Bouché (C. ficifolia) is a pumpkin-type plant, commonly cultivated in Mexico and Latin America. It is also cultivated in Asia. Its various names in English include: Siam pumpkin, Thai marrow, Thin Vermicelli pumpkin, Asian pumpkin, fig-leaf gourd, shark fin melon, black seeded melon, pie melon (in Australia and New Zealand), Malabar gourd or squash. It also has several names in local languages in Latin America and Asia.

            Cucurbita Ficifolia is used in folk medicine to treat diabetes. Several experimental and clinical studies have shown that the fruit from Cucurbita Ficifolia does possess significant blood-glucose lowering effects. 

            One such study (34), was carried out in diabetic rats. Oral administration of the fruit extract for 30 days resulted in a significant reduction in blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), and an increase in plasma insulin level. 

            In a Clinical study (35), Type 2 diabetic patients were given raw extract of Cucurbita Ficifolia or water in a single dose of 4 ml/Kg body weight, in two different sessions at least separated by 1 week. The patients had stopped their pharmacologic medication 24 hours prior to each part of the study. The oral administration of C. ficifolia was followed by a significant decrease in blood glucose levels, from a mean of 217 mg/dl to 169 mg/dl 3 hours after and to 150 mg/dl, 5 hours after the extract administration. 

 

Mechanism Of Action 

            Recently, a substance called, D-chiro-inositol was proposed as the compound responsible for lowering blood sugar (36). In addition, Cucurbita Ficifolia has been shown to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (36). 

 

What Dose Of Cucurbita Ficifolia?           

            The safe, effective dose of Cucurbita Ficifolia has not been determined in humans. Based on the above clinical study, a dose of 4ml/kg body weight of raw extract of Cucurbita Ficifolia fruit, seems reasonable for Type 2 diabetic patients. However, it is prudent to stop anti-diabetic drugs for 24-hours before taking the raw extract of Cucurbita Ficifolia fruit, as was done in the study. One should monitor blood sugar several times a day, initially to figure out how their blood sugars respond to the raw extract of Cucurbita Ficifolia fruit. Then, one can add anti-diabetic drugs accordingly.

 

Caution:       

            One has to be extra careful about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), as Cucurbita Ficifolia causes an increase in insulin level.  

            Long-term effects of of Cucurbita Ficifolia in humans are not known. Therefore, if you decide to take Cucurbita Ficifolia, you should watch out for any unusual symptoms, as well as monitor blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, liver and kidney functions closely.

  

GARLIC

(Allium Sativum) 

           

The health benefits of garlic have been recognized since ancient times. In an excellent study (37), researchers compared the results of Garlic (as 250 mg twice a day) plus Metformin therapy with Metformin-alone therapy in Type 2 diabetic patients. There were 30 patients in each group. Patients were followed for 12 weeks.

            Researchers observed a significantly greater reduction in the fasting as well as the post-meal blood glucose levels in the Garlic plus Metformin group as compared to the Metformin-alone group.

            In addition, the Garlic plus Metformin group had a greater reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol and CRP (C-reactive protein), and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol compared to the Metformin-alone group. 

 

Mechanism Of Action 

            Garlic contains a variety of effective compounds, such as allicin, which is a sulfur-containing compound. It possesses antioxidant, glucose-lowering and triglyceride lowering properties. In addition, allicin also protects against clot formation, improves blood circulation and can lower blood pressure, all of which are desirable effects in patients with Type 2 diabetes. 

            In an excellent experimental study (38), raw garlic was shown to significantly reduce blood glucose, insulin, triglyceride and uric acid levels, as well as insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetic rats. 

            In another study (39), aged-garlic extract was shown to be beneficial in men with established Coronary Artery Disease.

 

How Much Garlic? 

            The best way is to use fresh garlic in food, as well as consume aged-garlic sometimes. If you do not or cannot consume garlic, then garlic in a dose of 250 mg twice a day seems appropriate. This dose was used in the clinical study (37) in Type 2 diabetics mentioned above.

 

ONION

(Allium Cepa) 

         

Onions are grown and eaten all over the world. In addition, onions are known to possess tremendous health benefits such as anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, cholesterol-lowering, and blood pressure- lowering effects in folk medicines. 

            In recent years, mainstream medicine has shown tremendous interest in evaluating the health benefits of many plants of medicinal potential, including onions. 

            In a clinical study (40), Onion was given as fresh, chopped, small pieces, 100 gm to Type 2 as well as Type 1 diabetic patients. Researchers observed a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose level. Fasting blood glucose dropped by about 89 mg/dl in Type 1 diabetics, and by 40 mg/dl in Type 2 diabetics four hours after the ingestion of the onion. 

 

Mechanism Of Action 

            Onion is rich in flavonoids, such as quercetin, and sulphur compounds, such as cysteine and allyl propyl disulphide. These compounds possess anti-diabetic, antibiotic, cholesterol-lowering, anti-clot, and other various beneficial biological effects. 

            In one experimental study (41), a sulphur-containing compound from onion, S-methyl cysteine sulfoxide, showed a modest ability to decrease blood glucose. This effect appears to be due to increasing insulin production and/or its action. This compound was also found to possess strong anti-oxidant property.  

 

How Much Onion? 

            The best way to benefit from onions is to use them in cooking in a traditional way. Eating raw onions at 100 grams dose appear to be safe and effective, as was shown in the above mentioned study (40).

 

 

In Summary 

           

In summary, many herbs are used in folk medicine to treat diabetes all over the world. In recent years, there has been tremendous interest in mainstream medicine to investigate these herbs. Researchers are using modern techniques, as well as modern standards, to test these herbs. Now, there is enough scientific evidence for many of these herbs to be effective in lowering blood sugar level in laboratory animals, as described in this chapter. However, there are only a few clinical studies in diabetic patients, which are usually short-term. Clinical studies with long-term data are even more rare.

            Therefore, if you decide to include herbs as a part of your diabetes treatment program, monitor your blood glucose closely, let your physician know about all of the herbs and vitamins that you take and have your blood tested regularly at about 3-month intervals, for HbA1c, liver function and kidney function. If you develop any unusual symptoms, consider stopping the herbs, and see if the symptom goes away.

            In the end, I cannot over-emphasize that you should keep your physician informed of all of your vitamins and herbs.  

 

 

 

References:

 

1. Neelakantan N1, Narayanan M, de Souza RJ, van Dam RM. Effect of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) intake on glycemia: a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Nutr J. 2014 Jan 18;13:7 

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Excerpts from "Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes Scientifically." 

 

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This article was written by Sarfraz Zaidi, MD, FACE. Dr. Zaidi specializes in Diabetes, photoEndocrinology and Metabolism.

 

 

Dr. Zaidi is a former Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA. Currently he is Medical Director of the Jamila Diabetes and Endocrine Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California.

 

 

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