Diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus or hyperglycemia, is a disease characterized by high blood glucose levels1. Glucose, or sugar, comes from the foods that you eat. Your pancreas creates a hormone called insulin, which aids in the uptake of glucose into your body’s cells1. Diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and amputations of the lower extremities1.
What Causes Diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes mellitus. Each is unique in its causes of diabetes and in its diabetes treatment.
- Diabetes Type 1 - Also called juvenile diabetes because it’s often diagnosed in childhood, diabetes type 1 is when your body does not produce insulin2. This occurs because of an autoimmune disorder that attacks the cells of the pancreas responsible for producing insulin3. Individuals with diabetes type 1 can manage their condition with insulin injection diabetes treatment, but it cannot be cured3.
- Diabetes Type 2 - Diabetes type 2 is the more common form of diabetes mellitus, affecting 90% of diabetes patients3. This occurs when your body can’t keep up with the amount of insulin it needs, so the glucose stays in your blood4. Diabetes type 2 can be controlled, and even reversed, through a healthy diabetes diet and frequent exercise, but it’s made worse through poor eating, being overweight, and living a sedentary lifestyle3. Though healthy diabetes diet choices can help, diet and exercise are not the only causes; your genetic makeup and certain medications are also contributing factors5.
Women can also experience gestational diabetes while pregnant6.
Diabetes symptoms are very diverse, which means that a person may experience some or none of the following symptoms:
- Excessive thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Tingling or numbness in extremities
- Sudden vision changes
- Dry skin
- Slow to heal sores
- More infections than usual1
Diabetes symptoms differ from person to person and also depend on their particular causes of diabetes. For example, someone with type 1 may also experience nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain1. Scientists have also looked into the link between diabetes and depression, but having depression does not necessarily mean you have diabetes7.
Natural Remedies and Herbs for Diabetes
There are many diabetes treatment options depending on your causes of diabetes. Most of these treatments occur through a lifestyle change, such as sticking to a diabetes diet to help manage your symptoms. Other natural remedies you can use include:
- Pasuchaca - Pasuchaca, also known as geranium dielsianum or andacushma, has been shown to supress blood glucose elevation after eating sucrose, maltose, and starch8.
- Cinnamon - Cinnamon helps in the treatment of diabetes by increasing the amount of naturally-occurring insulin in the body. You can brew it as tea (1 teaspoon for every 8 ounces of water) daily to enjoy its effects.
- Maca- Maca is a root that grows in the Andes mountains and is said to aid in the treatment of conditions like diabetes and depression. It helps stabilize blood sugar when you take it once daily.
- Bitter Gourd- Bitter Gourd, also known as bitter melon, helps your cells use glucose more efficiently9.Take 3 to 6 tablespoons of the juice daily, or eat the fruit as you would any other several times per week.
- Flaxseed - Flaxseed helps stabilize blood sugar and helps control blood sugar spikes. For the most benefits, take one tablespoon of flaxseed in a glass of water or milk before a meal.