Diabetes mellitus, most commonly referred to as diabetes, is a chronic disease that is creating a buzz in the world of medicine. This killer disease is the oldest known disease and it is estimated by World Health Organization, that the number of people suffering from this disease would reach 300 million by the year 2025.
This disease is characterized by higher than normal blood sugar levels in the body. A certain amount of blood sugar or glucose is always essential for proper cell nutrition and metabolism, but abnormally high levels of glucose can be harmful and lead to various complications and damage to organs.
Glucose that is produced from the body as well from the food we eat needs to enter the cell for metabolism and to provide energy, but without the aid of hormone called insulin that is produced by the Islets of Langerhans located in the pancreas, glucose cannot enter the cells of the body. Thus, in both the cases of insufficient supply of insulin and the inability of the insulin to open the doors of the cell for glucose to enter, the sugar remains in the blood, causing increased blood sugar level in the body.
It thus becomes imperative to chalk out measures to control this silent killer disease. Several research studies have shown that Chinese herbs seem to have an impact in controlling this disease.
Cinnamon, the bark of an evergreen tree has exhibited various other properties besides lowering blood sugar; it also acts as anti-hypertensive and can lower blood cholesterol. Cinnamon has found to be effective for people suffering from insulin resistant diabetes. Cinnamon has a chemical compound called hydroxychalcone and that has properties to reduce glucose level in the body to a significant extent. This by itself has prompted several medical practitioners to add a daily dose of cinnamon to diabetic patients.
Another herb that is leaves of the plant Gymnema sylvestre known as Australian Cow Plant have a property of destroying the taste of sugar. The extracts of the leaves of these plants, upon experiments have proved to be beneficial in inducing the pancreas to secrete insulin. It has also shown effective result in blocking dietary starch.
Again, patients suffering from type II diabetes, that is, the non-insulin dependent diabetic patients have found that the fruits of the plant Momordica charantia (bitter gourd) are hypoglycemic agents. It is being used as a great alternative herbal supplement for diabetic management.
Again, de-fatted fenugreek seeds extract have proved to be beneficial in treating patients with both type I and type II diabetes. It has also shown great result in lowering urinary sugar and serum cholesterol level.
Several other extracts of plants such as Pterocarpus marsupium, Salacia species, Holy Basil, Tinospora cordifolia and Szygium cumini are found to have positive effects in controlling glucose level in blood stream.
In the recent times, it is this ayurvedic approach that is gaining grounds in the western world where herbs and minerals are being used to cure diseases. The safety and efficacy of these herbs today are being validated in clinics and laboratory.