With over 200 million people suffering from diabetes worldwide, and counting, it's fast becoming the # 1 epidemic of modern times. A major cause of end-stage renal disease, preventable amputations and blindness, the efficacy of many alternative medicine treatments in managing diabetes has been explored.
While conventional medicine has prescriptions of endocrine disorder drugs for diabetes, alternative therapeutic approaches to its management include herbs, plant extracts and more.
The following are some naturals and alternative therapeutics that seem promising to scientists studying their effect on diabetes.
1. Fenugreek: This herb is commonly used for appetite loss, and to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding women. And a handful of studies have discovered that fenugreek may help in bringing down blood sugar levels in diabetes sufferers, that's according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines (NCCAM).
Some time back, the Diabetes UK referred to several herbs being studied, including momordica cymbalaria, gymnema sylvestre and swertia chirayita.
2. Momordica Cymbalaria Roots: This a cucumber-like vegetable was assessed by scientists for its effect on Type 2 diabetes control and their tests on diabetic rats showed an improved glucose tolerance.
3. Gymnema Sylvestre Herb: Originating from the Indian tropical forests, this herb when tested for its effects on the body's ability to produce insulin, seemed to have a direct impact on the pancreatic insulin producing cells.
4. Swertia Chirayita Bark: Laboratory studies on the bark have found that some compounds separated from it appear to set off insulin production, in addition to enhancing its action.
5. Berberine: Chemically classified as a salt and found in the roots and barks of many plants, it has been documented in Chinese literature for having glucose lowering properties. According to Research Australia, the compound is indeed able to help lower blood sugar levels in animal models of diabetes.
6. Tai Chi Exercises: This isn't quite a herb, nonetheless, according to the April 2008 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Tai Chi exercises can improve the management of type 2 diabetes via improving blood glucose levels.
Despite appearing promising, experts believe that a lot more research is needed to definitively establish some of these alternative medicines' degree of efficacy.