More people are turning towards dietary ways to help manage type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In fact, studies have shown that diabetics are more likely to use dietary supplements than non-diabetics.
The herbs below have shown some of the most promising results in helping to treat diabetes. Keep in mind some natural supplements may interact with diabetic drugs, so always check with your physician before trying a new regime.
1. Green Tea
A 2012 research study showed that mice fed an antioxidant found in green tea had a significant reduction in their blood sugar levels compared to mice that were not fed the antioxidant. They were given an amount that would be equivalent to a cup and a half of green tea to a human.
Interestingly, the antioxidant was most effective when it was fed to the mice with corn starch. This suggests that green tea could help humans control blood sugar spikes that often occur when we eat starchy foods, such as breads and other baked goods. The researchers pointed out that the most benefit would be to drink green tea at the same time as eating starchy foods.
A 2011 scientific review of eight different clinical studies found that they consistently showed the intake of cinnamon significantly lowered blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. The results showed benefits from both whole or ground cinnamon, or cinnamon extract.
Another study published in Diabetes Care followed people with type 2 diabetes who took 1, 3 or 6 grams of cinnamon per day for 40 days. All amounts of cinnamon reduced their blood glucose levels, as well as their triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
This would suggest that 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon is a good daily target. It can easily be included in main dishes, desserts or breakfast items like smoothies. Cinnamon extract is another option that can be found at natural food stores.
3. Bitter Melon
This is a green, oblong-shaped fruit that is often grown in tropical and subtropical regions, such as South America and Asia. It has a distinct warty texture on the outside skin. As the name suggests, it is highly bitter, but this can vary depending on where it is grown. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals.