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
Bottle = 30
Organic Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract (25%) = 550 mg
Fenugreek seed powder = 500 mg
Jamun or Jamul (Eugenia Jambolana) powder = 500 mg
Bitter Gourd powder = 250 mg
(Opuntia streptacantha), leaf
powder= 250 mg
Gelatin ( bovine), rice powder, Magnesium stearate, Silicon Dioxide
Each bottle contains 90 capsules
Price = US$ 19.95 per bottle
An excerpt from Dr. Zaidi's Book
Type 2 Diabetes Scientifically,"
An excerpt from Dr. Zaidi's Book "Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes Scientifically,"
Herbal Remedies For Diabetes
(Trigonella foenum graecum)
Fenugreek is used both in cooking and for the treatment of
diabetes in many parts of the world, especially in
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
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.
Fenugreek May Work
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.
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
(median: 25 g), divided in equal doses and given two to three times a
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.
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.
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
Bitter gourd is also called bitter melon. It is vegetable that is
commonly used in many Asian countries. In
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.
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.
Gymnema Sylvestre is an herb, which
is cultivated worldwide. In
Hindi, it is known as gurmar, which means "sugar killer." In
In an experimental study (11), Gymnema
Sylvestre leaf extract given to diabetic rats reduced blood glucose by
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Marsupium (Indian Kino Tree, Bijasar) is a tree that grows well in
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.
One has to be extra careful about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Long-term effects of
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
Jamun (Eugenia Jambolana) grows abundantly in
Jamun has been used in various alternative systems of medicine
and before the discovery of insulin, was a frontline anti-diabetic
medication, even in
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 90 min (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
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
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,
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.
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 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
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
In another study (25), researchers enrolled 70 Type 2 diabetic
patients and divided them into two groups. One group received a daily
dose of 1600 mg
ginger, while the other group received
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Peltatum is a medicinal plant, which is
used in the treatment of diabetes in
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.
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
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.
Ficifolia Bouché (C.
ficifolia) is a pumpkin-type plant,
commonly cultivated in
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
One such study (34), was carried out in diabetic rats.
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
Mechanism Of Action
Recently, a substance called, D-chiro-inositol was proposed as
the compound responsible for lowering blood sugar (36). In addition,
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.
One has to be extra careful about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia),
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.
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.
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
In an excellent experimental study (38), raw garlic was shown to
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.
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
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
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 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.
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, 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.
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"Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes
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This article was written by Sarfraz Zaidi, MD, FACE. Dr. Zaidi specializes in Diabetes, Endocrinology 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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