complications of Type 2 diabetes mimic those of Type 1, but
also include a high incidence of heart disease, high blood
pressure, and stroke.
Three methods of treatment are available for diabetic patients:
diet alone; diet and an oral hypoglycemic agent (which lowers
blood sugar levels); or diet and insulin. By itself, diet
can adequately control approximately 50 percent of new diabetes
cases, while 20 to 30 percent need an oral hypoglycemic medication.
Another 20 to 30 percent require insulin. The age and weight
of the patient at diagnosis are closely related to the type
of treatment likely to be required. The earlier diabetes is
diagnosed, the easier it is to treat effectively.
While medical herbalists are trained with the same diagnostic
skills as orthodox doctors, they take a more holistic approach
to illness. Rather than focusing on just a disease’s symptoms,
herbalists try to identify and treat the cause of the illness,
in an effort to eradicate the problem itself. Herbalists
use their remedies to restore balance to the body, enabling
it to rely on its own healing powers.
The first consultation generally takes an hour, during which
the herbalist learns about the patient’s medical history
and begins to build a picture of this person as a whole
being. Healing is a matter of teamwork, with patient, practitioner,
and the prescribed treatment all working together to restore
the body to health.
Attaining optimum health for someone with diabetes is key.
An herbalist focuses on the mental, physical, and spiritual
well-being of each patient, making diet and lifestyle recommendations
and choosing specific herbs for treatment. Note: At the
forefront of any herbalist’s practice should be the credo,
“Herbal medicine is safe medicine.” With the patient’s consent,
a general practitioner should be kept abreast of every aspect
of herbal treatment, to avoid the possibility of negative
Numerous herbs are highly effective in the treatment of
diabetes and the blood sugar problems that lead to this
condition. This doesn’t mean you can, or should, discontinue
the use of insulin or other drugs. Due to the very individualistic
nature of diabetic symptoms, patients interested in herbal
treatment should locate a qualified NIMH and/or CPP registered
medical herbalist, rather than attempt to self-medicate.
This Ayurvedic remedy is one of the most common herbs used
in the treatment of both Types 1 and 2 diabetes. Gymnema
appears to stimulate the pancreas, prompting it to produce
more insulin. Gymnemic acid, a constituent of the herb,
acts directly on the tongue receptors (taste buds), blocking
their ability to sense sweetness. This action can curb the
intake of sweets that may be aggravating the condition,
but occurs only when the herb is chewed or placed upon the
tongue before eating—not when gymnema is taken in pill or