A number of diabetic herbs have been used around the wold since the ancient times. DiaHerbs is a special formulation of Five Herbs that have been shown to support healthy glucose levels already in the normal range.* In DiaHerbs, Dr. Sarfraz Zaidi, MD has put together the most beneficial herbs in the appropriate proportions.
FENUGREEK (Trigonella foenum graecum)
A number of studies have shown that fenugreek can lower blood glucose level in diabetics. In a recently published study (1), researchers analyzed data from 10 clinical trials of Fenugreek in diabetic patients. They found that fenugreek significantly decreased fasting blood glucose by about 18 mg/dl (0.96 mmol/l), 2 hour post-meal glucose by about 40 mg/dl (2.19 mmol/l) and hemoglobin A1c by 0.85%, as compared with control interventions.
Clinical trials (2-6) have also demonstrated that fenugreek treatment not only lowers glucose level, but also reduces serum triglycerides level and total cholesterol level without lowering HDL cholesterol level in Type 2 diabetic patients.
BITTER GOURD/ MELON (Momordica charantia)
Bitter gourd is also called bitter melon. It is vegetable that is commonly used in many Asian countries. In one animal study (7), bitter gourd supplementation reduced fasting blood glucose by 30% in rats. In another animal study (8), bitter gourd not only lowered blood glucose, but also normalized the oxidative stress in diabetic rats.
In a recent review article (9), the authors critically evaluated the studies that were designed to investigate the effects of bitter gourd on diabetes. They concluded that some of the studies do indicate anti-diabetic effects for patients. They also concluded that bitter gourd treatment is safe for humans.
GURMAR (Gymnema Sylvestre)
Gymnema Sylvestre is an herb, which is cultivated worldwide. In Hindi, it is known as gurmar, which means “sugar killer.” In an experimental study (11), Gymnema Sylvestre leaf extract given to diabetic rats reduced blood glucose by 13.5 -60.0%. In a human study (12), an extract from the leaves of Gymnema Sylvestre, was given to 22 Type 2 diabetic patients for 18 – 20 months as a supplement to their oral anti-diabetic drugs. There was a significant reduction in blood glucose and HbA1C (glycated hemoglobin). In many of these patients, the dose of their anti-diabetic drugs could be decreased. Five of the 22 diabetic patients were able to discontinue their anti-diabetic drugs and were able to maintain good control of their diabetes with Gymnema Sylvestre leaf extract alone.
In addition to lowering blood glucose, Gymnema Sylvestre is also found to decrease weight, lower serum triglycerides, leptin, glucose, apolipoprotein B (LDL cholesterol), and significantly increase HDL-cholesterol and antioxidant enzymes levels in liver tissue (13). These effects are highly desirable in Type 2 diabetics, who often are obese and have elevated triglycerides level, low HDL cholesterol, elevated Apo B (LDL cholesterol) and high oxidative stress.
JAMUN OR JAMUL (Eugenia Jambolana)
Eugenia Jambolana (Jamun) grows abundantly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malayasia. It has been used in traditional folk medicine from ancient times.
Jamun has been used in various alternative systems of medicine and before the discovery of insulin, was a frontline anti-diabetic medication, even in Europe. The brew, prepared by boiling Jamun seeds in boiling water has been used in various traditional folk medicine in India (14).
There are several studies showing the beneficial effects of Jamun on diabetes. In an excellent, placebo-controlled, prospective clinical study (15), researchers investigated the effects of Eugenia Jambolana seeds in Type 2 diabetic patients. They had three groups: 10 patients on no anti-diabetes drugs, 10 patients taking oral hypoglycemic drugs (with history of inadequate control) and a control group of non-diabetics.
Each group was given dry powdered seeds of Eugenia Jambolana for fourteen days. On the 15th day, fasting blood and urine samples for glucose were taken. The results were impressive. In every patient, there was a marked decrease in fasting blood glucose in patients on anti-diabetic drugs as well as in patents on no anti-diabetic drugs. Moreover, there was no decrease in the blood sugar of normal, non-diabetic individuals.
No individual experienced any side-effects except for mild headaches, which authors attributed to as psychosomatic in nature. No one experienced low blood sugar.
NOPAL (Opuntia Streptacantha)
Nopal (Opuntia Streptacantha) or the prickly pear cactus has been used for glucose control by Mexicans for centuries. Studies have reported improvement in glucose control and a decrease in insulin level indicating a decrease in insulin resistance.
One such excellent study (16) was carried out in three groups of patients with Type 2 diabetes. Group one (16 patients) ingested 500 grams of broiled nopal stems. Group 2 (10 patients) received only 400 ml of water as a control test. Three tests were performed on group 3 (6 patients): one with nopal, a second with water and a third with ingestion of 500 grams broiled squash. Researchers found that serum glucose and serum insulin levels decreased significantly in groups 1 and 3, whereas no similar changes were noticed in group 2. The mean reduction of glucose reached 17% of basal values at 180 minutes in group 1 and 16% in group 3; The reduction of serum insulin at 180 minutes reached 50% in group 1 and 40% in group 3. This study shows that the stems of Nopal (O. streptacantha Lem.) lowers blood glucose as well as insulin level in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The mechanism of this effect is a reduction in insulin resistance.
- Bordia A1, Verma SK, Srivastava KC. Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum L.) on blood lipids, blood sugar and platelet aggregation in patients with coronary artery disease. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1997 May;56(5):379-84.
- Hannan JM1, Ali L, Rokeya B, Khaleque J, Akhter M, Flatt PR, Abdel-Wahab YH. Soluble dietary fibre fraction of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) seed improves glucose homeostasis in animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes by delaying carbohydrate digestion and absorption, and enhancing insulin action.Br J Nutr. 2007 Mar;97(3):514-21
- Maleppillil Vavachan Vijayakumar,1 Sandeep Singh,1 Rishi Raj Chhipa,1 and Manoj Kumar Bhat.1The hypoglycaemic activity of fenugreek seed extract is mediated through the stimulation of an insulin signalling pathway. Br J Pharmacol. Sep 2005; 146(1): 41–48.
- Etsuko Muraki1 Yukie Hayashi,2 Hiroshige Chiba,1 Nobuyo Tsunoda,1 and Keizo Kasono1. Dose-dependent effects, safety and tolerability of fenugreek in diet-induced metabolic disorders in rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2011; 10: 240.
- R.D. Sharma. Effect of fenugreek seeds and leaves on blood glucose and serum insulin responses in human subjects. Nutrition Research. Vol.6, Issue 12, Dec 1986; 1353–1364
- Shetty AK1, Kumar GS, Sambaiah K, Salimath PV. Effect of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) on glycaemic status in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2005 Sep;60(3):109-12.
- Sathishsekar D1, Subramanian S. Beneficial effects of Momordica charantia seeds in the treatment of STZ-induced diabetes in experimental rats. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Jun;28(6):978-83.
- Habicht SD, Ludwig C, Yang RY, Krawinkel MB1. Momordica charantia and Type 2 Diabetes: From in vitro to Human Studies. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2014 Jan;10(1):48-60.
- Sasa M1, Inoue I, Shinoda Y, Takahashi S, Seo M, Komoda T, Awata T, Katayama S. Activating effect of momordin, extract of bitter melon (Momordica Charantia L.), on the promoter of human PPARdelta. J Atheroscler Thromb. 2009;16(6):888-92.
- Sugihara Y1, Nojima H, Matsuda H, Murakami T, Yoshikawa M, Kimura I. Antihyperglycemic effects of gymnemic acid IV, a compound derived from Gymnema sylvestre leaves in streptozotocin-diabetic mice.J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2000;2(4):321-7.
- Baskaran K1, Kizar Ahamath B, Radha Shanmugasundaram K, Shanmugasundaram ER. Antidiabetic effect of a leaf extract from Gymnema sylvestre in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct;30(3):295-300.
- Kumar V1, Bhandari U2, Tripathi CD3, Khanna G4. Anti-obesity effect of Gymnema sylvestre extract on high fat diet-induced obesity in Wistar rats. Drug Res. 2013 Dec;63(12):625-32
- Baliga MS1, Fernandes S, Thilakchand KR, D’souza P, Rao S. Scientific validation of the antidiabetic effects of Syzygium jambolanum DC (black plum), a traditional medicinal plant of India. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Mar;19(3):191-7.
- Waheed A, Miana G.A., Ahmad S.I. CLINICAL INVESTIGATION OF HYPOGLYCEMIC EFFECT OF EUGENIA JAMBOLANA IN TYPE-II (NIDDM) DIABETES MELLITUS. Pakistan Journal of Pharmacology. Vol.24, No.1, January 2007, pp.13-17
- Frati-Munari AC1, Gordillo BE, Altamirano P, Ariza CR. Hypoglycemic effect of Opuntia streptacantha Lemaire in NIDDM. Diabetes Care. 1988 Jan;11(1):63-6.
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