Ayurveda is a treasure trove of numerous herbal treatments. The ancient medical science is said to possess herbal therapies and medicines that help manage and treat various health conditions. Nowadays, the modern and globalised science integrates a lot of Ayurvedic practises in general wellness applications and, in some cases, in medical uses. One of the most common health conditions is diabetes, and Ayurveda has a number of herbal medicines that helps manage blood sugar. According to the book, 'The Complete Book Of Ayurvedic Remedies', by Dr. Vasant Lad, diabetes (or madhumeh) is a metabolic kapha type of disorder in which diminished functioning of agni (digestive fire) leads to a tendency towards high blood sugar.In order to control the spikes in blood sugar, Ayurveda suggests having sadabahar herb, which is also known as periwinkle and vinca rosea. Here's what you need to know about this herb.
What Is Sadabahar?
Sadabahar, or periwinkle, is a commonly found plant in India and is said to be native to Madagascar. It is an evergreen shrub that works as an ornamental plant and for medicinal purposes. The smooth, glossy and dark green coloured leaves along with flowers are said to act as natural medicine for type-2 diabetes. According to Ayurvedic expert Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, "sadabahar flowers and leaves are used to control blood sugar levels. One can have herbal tea made from flowers and leaves in the morning or you can also chew some three to four leaves to get effective results."
Health Benefits Of Sadabahar For Diabetes
Sadabahar has long been used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicines and is said to be a time-tested herbal treatment for managing conditions like diabetes, malaria, sore throats and leukaemia. Vinca rosea contains two active compounds, the alkaloids and the tannins. It is believed that the plant has more than 100 alkaloids, of which vincristine and vinblastine are most notable for their medicinal benefits.
How To Use Sadabahar For Diabetes?
1. The fresh leaves of sadabahar can be dried, powdered and stored in an air-tight container. Consume one teaspoon of this dried leaf powder with a cupful of fresh fruit juice or water daily. The powder may taste bitter.
2. Take not more than three to four leaves of the plant and chew them to manage blood sugar levels through the day.
3. Take the pink coloured flowers of the sadabahar plant and boil them in a cupful of water. Strain the water and drink it every morning on an empty stomach.
Diabetes is one of the most commonly found disorders affecting millions of people across the globe. Besides negatively impacting the blood sugar and insulin levels of the body, diabetes is the cause of the onset of a lot of other serious complications. Although these facts might seem scary, diabetes isn't something uncontrollable. With regular exercises, an appropriate diabetic diet and the inclusion of various anti-diabetic foods and herbs, diabetes can be controlled. This article talks about some important anti-diabetic foods and herbs, and how they play an instrumental role in preventing the progression of the disease. However, whether a particular herb suits your body or not, must be decided after proper medical consultation.
5 Of The Important Anti-Diabetic Foods And Herbs
Now that you know you've been diagnosed with diabetes, you must start working towards its control immediately. Delays will only aggravate the condition leading to several complications. The following five foods and herbs may help you manage your blood sugar levels, based on your body type and also the extent to which diabetes has progressed.
1. Bitter Melon
Bitter melon, also known as Momordica Charantia, is a medicinal fruit found to be helpful in reducing the blood sugar levels in the case of some diabetics. It can be taken in various forms including juice, seeds, supplementary form, or in the form of blended vegetable pulp. Bitter melon can be either eaten or consumed in liquid form. However, most of the diabetics prefer taking it in the form of supplements, as eating or drinking it may taste weird or unpleasant.
Cinnamon is a popular herb, or you may say more of a spice that originates from the bark of a tree. It can be used as a substitute for sugar to add sweetness to something. This is the reason why it is a popular pick amongst the Type-2 diabetics. Cinnamon is helpful in multiple ways. It helps in improving the levels of glucose, digestion, insulin, insulin sensitivity, blood pressure levels, antioxidant status, and many others.
Fenugreek is known to help reduce blood sugar levels. It is rich in fibres and chemicals that reduce the rate of digestion of carbohydrates, and sugar. Researchers have found that the intake of fenugreek in the right quantities helps reduce cholesterol levels and also helps to increase the insulin levels, thereby resulting in a reduction in the blood sugar levels. Fenugreek can be consumed in many different ways such as adding it to warm water, add it as an herb in a few food stuffs, consume it in its powdered form by grinding it, or in the capsule form. Seek consultation from an established diabetes expert or doctor to know the right form of consumption in your case.
Ginger has been in use for a very long time to cure and prevent a lot of medical conditions. A review was done in the year 2015, which suggested ginger's usefulness in managing diabetes. Based on the results, it was found that ginger helped reduce blood sugar levels. At the same time, it was observed that ginger doesn't help reduce blood insulin levels. Of course, establishing ginger in the league of the most effective anti-diabetic food yet requires a lot of research. Ginger too can be taken in multiple ways including capsule, through tea, adding chopped ginger or its powder to food, or by consuming it in liquid form in ginger ale.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is well-known for its skin benefits. However, its benefits aren't limited to the skin, but extend to Type-2 diabetes as well. Aloe vera helps safeguard and repair the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Perhaps, this is on account of the antioxidant effect of the herb. Aloe vera can be either consumed in capsule form, or by adding the juiced pulp to a smoothie or a drink.
The effectiveness of herbs may vary from case to case, and therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the right herbs are consumed in the right quantities. Consult your doctor before you try out a new herb.
Diabetes is one of those health conditions, which cannot be cured, but can be managed well; be it through engaging in exercises, eating a healthy diet or medications. Ayurveda also suggests some herbs that can be effective in managing this condition well. One of the most popularly used herbs is vijaysar that is known to help regulate blood sugar levels. Scientifically termed as Pterocarpus Marsupium, vijaysar is well known as Malabar kino and Indian kino and is indigenous to Sri Lanka, India and Nepal. This herb is widely used in Ayurveda for its therapeutic and healing properties. Let's look at how vijaysar helps in maintaining your blood sugar levels and manage diabetes well.
Vijaysar Benefits: How Vijaysar helps in managing diabetes?
It is said that the anti-hyperlipdemic properties of vijaysar tree help reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipo-protein and serum triglyceride levels in the body. It also tends to reduce symptoms of diabetes like frequent urination, overeating and burning sensation in limbs. According to Ayurveda Expert, Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, "Vijaysar can used in the form of utensils like glass, or internally as powder, tablet and capsules. It improves insulin sensitivity, peripheral utilisation of glucose, GLUT4, Hepato glycogen levels, which ultimately reduce blood sugar levels."
According to Ayurveda expert Dr. Ram N Kumar from NirogStreet, "Vijaysar is native to India and found mostly in Indian subcontinent. Vijaysar found in western ghat jungles are considered good for controlling Prameha (Diabetes). Vijaysar increases digestive agni and increases insulin production in body. It is easy to take Vijaysar; cut into small pieces and put it into water, the colour of the water would change to red. Drink it in the morning before breakfast. The same wood can be used twice."
How to use vijaysar for diabetes?
1. It is believed that in olden times, Ayurveda gurus used blocks or pieces of vijaysar wood to control diabetes. It is said to be a time-tested method of managing blood sugar levels. Nowadays, it is more easily available in the form of powder, tablets and supplements. Here's how you can use vijaysar to control diabetes:
2. Vijaysar wood tumblers are available; all you need to do is to add some water in the tumbler overnight. The tumbler will turn the water into reddish brown colour and have a neutral taste. Drink it the morning on an empty stomach. Tumblers made of vijaysar wood are said to last upto 40-45 days.
3. You could simply soak a piece of vijaysar wood in water overnight and drink the water first thing in the morning to regulate diabetes.
4. You could also have vjiaysar in the form of tablets and powder with water.
Please note: In case you are a diabetic and have been advised to take medications, make sure you consult your diabetologist, as having medication and vijaysar together may significantly drop your blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar levels in the body maybe affected the most by your diet. Following a healthy diet, rich in complex carbohydrates, vegetables, as well as fruits with low glycaemic index, is essential for people suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetes. It is crucial for diabetics to replace processed carbohydrates from junk foods with healthy carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Usually, it is advised that diabetics must avoid starch in their daily diets as it can lead to sudden spikes in levels of blood sugar. This is because simple starches are easily absorbed and digested and release glucose instantly in the blood. However, there is a type of starch that diabetics can benefit from - resistant starch.
Diabetes: What Is Resistant Starch?
Resistant starch is a type of starch that is not easily digested in the upper digestive tract and consequently a small part of it remains in the gut unchanged. This functions as sustenance for the bacteria in the large intestine, resulting in benefits for the body. It results in growth of helpful bacteria in the gut as well as leads to release of short chain fatty acids, which are essential for colon health. There are a number of different types of resistant starch as well. Some types can be consumed through dietary sources, while some others are synthetically manufactured via chemical processes. The main benefit of resistant starch comes from the fact that it is soluble and fermentable fibre.
Benefits Of Resistant Starch For Diabetics
Resistant starch is important for feeding the cells lining your colon. However, it is also said to have a number of powerful health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity in diabetes patients. Here's how resistant starch can help diabetes patients:
1. Improves Glucose Metabolism
Meals with resistant starch in them have been said to reduce blood sugar spikes after the meal. Resistant starch has also been known to improve the body's responsiveness to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for metabolising sugars and keeping blood sugar levels under check. A 2010 study, published in the journal Diabetic Medicine, concluded that consuming resistant starch improved insulin sensitivity in metabolic syndrome patients.
2. Aides Weight Loss
Foods rich in resistant starch tend to be low in calories. Resistant starch has been shown to promote feelings of satiety or fullness, thus, keeping hunger pangs at bay and aiding weight loss by making them eat lesser calories. Losing weight can help diabetics manage the condition better as weight loss improves the body's ability to effectively respond to insulin.
Diabetes Diet: Foods Rich In Resistant Starch
Here are some of the foods that diabetics may add to their diet to improve their intake of resistant starch and the respective quantities of resistant starch in them*:
1. Raw banana and Banana flour: Contain 4.7gm and 42 gm resistant starch, respectively.
2. Oats and oatmeal: 17.6 gm and 0.5 gm respectively.
3. Lentils: 5 gm
4. Cooked White Beans: 7.4 gm
5. Cooked Pearl Barley (Jau): 3.2 gm
*Data according to Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2008; all quantities are specified for portions equivalent to 1 cup (approx. 227 gms).
Diabetics are advised to consult their nutritionist/dietitian before adding anything to their daily diet. Excessive consumption of resistant starch has also been known to cause flatulence.
One of the most common myths about diabetes is that it is caused by consuming too much of sugary foods. Indeed, sweets can affect your body but they do not cause diabetes. Diabetes is a health condition which is caused by high blood sugar levels. It is extremely unhealthy and can adversely impact the overall health. However, there's also no denying the fact that intake of sugar items in such conditions can increase it significantly. Hence diabetic patients should avoid high sugary foods in order to prevent hyperglycaemia, also known as high blood sugar. If you're suffering from diabetes, then it is of utmost importance to take care of your carbohydrate intake as it can trigger the sugar levels to a great extent.
When it comes to desserts, it is essential for diabetic patients to not go overboard with them. Having diabetes not always means that you totally have to cut yourself from sugar. Instead, you may swap it with some other natural sweets. According to Expert Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta, "Diabetic patients can have desserts until the desserts are providing them with nutritional requirements. They should make sure that the desserts are made with artificial sweeteners and with the help of natural ingredients. You can even have brown rice with milk with some artificial sweeteners and can add some dry fruits to enhance the taste. What matters is that they should be made up of natural ingredients and sugar substitutes must be there"
Desserts like cookies, pastries, cakes and ice creams should not be eaten as they won't be providing you with the sufficient nutritional value. Instead, you could opt for low-fat sugar-free frozen yogurt, fig bars, or even some unsweetened oat cookies. If you happen to have a sweet tooth and find it difficult to resist on them, then make sure that you buy one bar at a time, instead of buying in bulk and storing it at home. This will save you from unnecessary odd hour munching. Apart from this, it is quite important to give priority to the nutritional value in the anything you consume. So, choose wisely!