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Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that is taking the world by storm especially in America. Projection statistics predict that in the next few years over 90% of the population will be pre-diabetic or full-blown type 2 diabetic. these alarming statistics are one of the reasons why it is so important for individuals to understand insulin, blood sugar, and how diet and lifestyle plays the biggest part in this diagnosis. There are various medicinal plants that have been found to play a huge role in the management and treatment of certain types of diabetes particularly type 2 diabetes. Most plants that are used today have anti-diabetic properties and they are rich sources of antioxidants which are important in diabetes since a lot of oxidative damage can be present, some of these plants are rich in other phenolics compounds and alkaloids. Herbs that are indicated in diabetes act on several pathways that modulate insulin, glucose, or glycogen. Whether this be through degradation or glucose uptake efficiency Herbs can act on the Krebs cycle, the AMPK pathway which is one of the pathways that metformin acts on as well, the glycolysis pathway and other metabolic signaling pathways. Diabetes mellitus is the condition that many herbs have a positive effect on, better than type 1. Some herbs can help improve insulin utilization, some can help improve glucose uptake, there are herbs that help with improving blood sugar levels by interfering with carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and there are some herbs that have been shown to improve the activity of the pancreatic beta cells.
Those susceptible to favism should avoid bitter melon since one of the compounds known as vicine is in fava beans and has been shown to induce favism. So consult with your doctor before using this product.
Dandelion root has been used for centuries and now even more than ever for liver and kidney health because of its bioactive compounds. Dandelion is an anti-diabetic herb which can be attributed to the chemical constituent which include chicoric acid, taraxasterol (TS), chlorogenic acid, and sesquiterpene lactones which is where the plant gets its bitterness from. The international diabetes federation statistics revealed that 80% of people have type 2 diabetes and they don't even know that they have it because many of the symptoms are symptoms that don't cause much of a life alteration. Dandelion can act on the kidneys in a few ways, one of the ways is by stimulating the natural filtration and function of the kidneys because it is so rich in antioxidants and bitter compounds. Studies have also found it to protect the kidneys from oxidative and free radical damage. The bitter compounds in dandelion root helps to reduce fluid retention and it acts as a natural diuretic.
Bitter melon is another powerhouse plant that exhibits anti-diabetic, anticancer, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory, activity, it also exhibits anti-tumor, hepatoprotective effects, and it has some antioxidant compounds. Bitter melon has a compound that researchers call the plant insulin, it is called charantin. M. Charantia has insulin releasing effects and has been shown to be more effective than some drugs that are designed to regulate blood sugar. Bitter melon also has another constituent known as polypeptide- P which does have insulin like properties and hypoglycemic properties. This polypeptide works to mimic the action of human insulin on the body and one study found that it may also be useful in type 1 diabetics. Type one diabetes tends to have a genetic component associated with it and when bitter melon was used through gene sequencing the charantia polypeptide also had an effect on the pancreas. The term P-insulin is used to describe its effects. The charantia compound also improves liver lipid profiles through modulating what is known as the PPAR-y system. Lastly bitter melon compounds help to increase the glucose uptake in the liver and some studies have found that the Charantia constituent may also help repair damaged beta cells or prevent their death.
Huckleberry (Bilberry): The berry family is rich in anthocyanins which are these water-soluble polyphenols that give plants there pink, red, purple, and blue color. Anthocyanins act to protect plants from radiation, temperature, oxidation, etc. When humans ingest anthocyanins, they act in a similar way. They provide antioxidants which help to stabilize DNA, modify adipocyte gene expression, improve insulin secretion and sensitivity and they have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Bilberry is an excellent source of anthocyanins and even a higher profile than most of the berries in the same family. Bilberry is used in a lot of glucose and anti-diabetic formulations because it helps tamp down the symptoms of diabetes. For instance, it has been shown to prevent and help control type 2 diabetes as well as regulate blood sugar levels. There is a lot of oxidative stress in the body when someone has diabetes and bilberry with its anthocyanin content has been shown to help neutralize some of that oxidative damage. Most of bilberry’s’ effects are mediated by acting on the enzyme known as a-glucosidase and this enzyme affects how insulin is secreted and glucose is transported. Anthocyanins also help to stimulate insulin secretion from the pancreatic beta cells and increase the uptake of glucose into the muscle cells and adipocytes in the absence of insulin in clinical trials.
Raspberry leaves: Raspberry along with bilberry is an excellent source of anthocyanins, raspberries also contain ellagic acid and both have been shown to improve insulin response, glucose uptake, lipid metabolism, as well as have some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Raspberry supplementations can benefit pre diabetics and type 2 diabetics due to its antioxidant properties since oxidation and inflammation play a huge role in type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases, The antioxidants in the plant work to increase the synthesis of the body’s endogenous antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. The anthocyanins have also been shown to reduce inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory cytokine gene expression in the white adipose tissue which it's helpful in those that struggle with obesity since white adipose tissue is metabolically active meaning that the more fat someone has, the more active hormones are which is what increases the risk for diseases when someone is obese. The anthocyanins are also present in raspberries which can also help with adipose reduction of inflammatory cytokine secretion. One study found that eating foods high in anthocyanins had the best protection against type 2 diabetes.
This is a well-known anti diabetic herb that has been used for centuries because of its pharmacological properties. It is also known as gurmar or sugar destroyer because it helps to tamp down sweet cravings. Some active constituents of this plant are gymnemic acid, gurmarin, tartaric acid, stigmasterol, betaine, glucose, calcium oxalate and choline. There was one study that found that gymnema could help regenerate the islet cells due to its hypoglycemic effects, and that it could increase glucose utilization in the body by increasing the activity of various enzymes that are responsible for glucose uptake and utilization. Gymnema helps to support the pancreas in various ways. In one study when subjects used Gymnema, researchers saw that there was an increased insulin release and a better glucose uptake into the cells.
Parsley is a very nutritious herb that has various antioxidants, flavonoids, in nutrients. There is some research or brown how parsley can be very beneficial to the kidneys. Parsley acts as a mild diuretic which can help regulate urinary pH and reduce blood pressure.
Prickly pear is a very popular fruit in the field of research that relates to diabetes and glucose parameters. In many clinical approaches for type 2 diabetes prickly pear is suggested for the onset. One study found that supplementations with prickly pear for two weeks resulted in significant differences in fasting glucose levels in healthy men that were also utilizing exercise. The prickly pear fruit also helped individuals with high cholesterol and high lipid profiles. Supplementations with prickly pear has been shown to improve metabolic syndrome which can be characterized by obesity, hypertension, lack of glucose of take and poor insulin utilization. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
Gentian root is a bitter herb just like dandelion and bitter herbs have a long history of being able to stimulate certain digestive enzymes and tamp down sugar cravings. The constituent gentainine does have some anti diabetic effects as well as liver protective, anti-inflammatory, and some diuretic effects to help with blood pressure.