Four Herbs That Help With Diabetes Management
Nature offers us support for health and healing with its abundance of medicinal herbs.
A medicinal herb is a plant, or part of a plant, which is used in its entirety to enhance our physical well being. Each herb contains hundreds, sometimes thousands, of naturally occurring chemicals that work together synergistically to help us heal.
Some herbs have been used for millennia to treat illnesses such as diabetes. If you are struggling to maintain good glucose control, or want to strengthen your resistance to diabetes complications, consider talking to your diabetes care team about adding herbal supplements to your daily regimen.
Your physician or diabetes educator can make sure any herb you take is compatible with your prescription medications, and whether an herb is contraindicated for pregnant women, children, or for those with certain other medical conditions.
Four Helpful Herbs
Here are four diabetes-helpful herbs can be taken alone, or used in combination.
Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum) is a member of the ginseng family, and is sometimes called armored ginseng, or northwest ginseng (it grows in the Pacific Northwest). Devil’s club helps balance blood sugar levels, is a calming digestive tonic, and is reported to help some people lose weight.
Goat’s Rue (Galega officinalis) contains a compound called galegine that helps the body balance glucose levels and supports the breakdown and absorption of dietary fats and proteins. In Europe, Goat’s rue has been used for centuries to treat diabetes.
Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis) is a gentle, effective liver tonic that aids our body with the elimination of toxins. It also supports the pancreas, and promotes the digestion and absorption of food.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) has long been used to treat various diseases such as vision problems, headaches, and depression. Gingko helps those with diabetes by stimulating circulation, particularly in the peripheral areas of the hands, feet, eyes, and brain—areas often affected by diabetes-related circulation problems. Some research suggests ginkgo might also help prevent diabetic retinopathy.
Always purchase herbs from a reputable source. Check the label for an expiration date since some herbs lose potency quickly after being dried, and follow the dosage instructions given.