7 Herbs That Help You Manage Your Blood Sugar
According to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, half of all Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic, many of them undiagnosed. If you are one of them, you are probably already up to your neck with various lists of foods are no longer allowed and your medicine cabinet is filling up with prescription drugs.
But, despite all the media hype describing diabetes as a “modern epidemic,” diabetes has been around for thousands of years and medical traditions from around the world have a host of tried and true herbal remedies to help manage your blood sugar.
Cinnamon — Yep, you probably have a jar of cinnamon in your kitchen cabinet right now, lonely and alone waiting for your next bowl of oatmeal. Now’s the time to put that herb to work. A study conducted in India in 2009 found an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 28 mg/dl for patients that consumed 2 grams of cinnamon (about a teaspoon) for 40 days. [I]
Hibiscus – Another popular herb for helping with blood pressure from the Indian Ayurvedic tradition of medicine is Hibiscus tea. Preliminary clinical studies support this application. Ayurvedic tradition recommends hibiscus tea 3 times daily.
Crepe Myrtle – Popular in traditional medicine from Australia and the South Pacific, studies show crepe myrtle may indeed be an effective herb for managing blood sugar. In a US clinical study in 2003, patients treated with crepe myrtle extract for just 22 weeks experienced a 20% – 30% drop in Fasting Blood Glucose. [II]
White Mulberry – Most famous as the exclusive food of silkworms, white mulberry is often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for treatment of high blood sugar. Popular US Doctor, Dr. Oz, featured White Mulberry tea and dried white mulberries on his show in 2014 (video link). A compound in white mulberry leaves called DNJ appears to block the body’s absorption of dietary sugars. [III]
Fenugreek – Fenugreek is a popular ingredient in Indian curries. A 2016 meta-study reported that fenugreek, “significantly decreased the levels of Fasting Blood Glucose” [IV]
Onion – Yes, the lowly onion may be the diabetic’s best friend (and if you eat as much as recommended quite possibly your only friend.) Studies show that eating large amounts of onion daily may simulate insulin production in the pancreas.[V]
Jiaogulan – Also known as Gynostemma, this little known Chinese vine is called locally the “Herb of Immortality” and is chock-full of health benefits including help for high blood pressure, the immune system, weight loss and diabetes. A 2013 Swedish clinical study reported that jiaogulan tea appeared to reverse insulin resistance resulting in up to a 20% reduction in fasting blood glucose in patients with diabetes. [VI]
As always with medical research, none of these finding should be considered definitive. But the long standing traditional use of these herbs coupled with supportive modern research strongly suggests that they are worth a try.
We’ve assembled a Blood Sugar Support Super Pack of our top recommendations to get you started today.
[I] R. Soni and V. Bhatnagar, Effect of Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Cassia) intervention on Blood Glucose of Middle Aged Adult Males with Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus, Ethno-Med, 3(2): 2009
[II] W. Judy, S. Hari et al, Antidiabetic activity of a standardized extract (Glucosol™) from Lagerstroemia speciosa leaves in Type II diabetics: A dose-dependence study, Journal of Ethnopharmocology, V. 87 2003.
[III] E. Chan, P. Lye, S-K Wong, Phytochemistry, pharmacology, and clinical trials of Morus alba, Chinese Journal of Natural Medicine, V.14, 2016
[IV] J. Gong, K. Fang et al. Effect of Fenugreek on Hyperglycaemia and Hyperlipidemia in Diabetes and Prediabetes: a Meta-analysis, Journal of Ethnopharmocology, August 2016.
[V] I. Eldin, E. Ahmed and A. Elwahab. Preliminary Study of the Clinical Hypoglycemic Effects of Allium cepa (Red Onion) in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Environmental Health Insights, V.4, 2010.
[VI] V. Huyen, D. Phan et al. Gynostemma pentaphyllum Tea Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Journal of Nutrion and Metabolism 2013.