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Herbs for Blood Sugar Support
Trigonella Foenum-Grae-cum Extract (Fenugreek)
Fenugreek has been mentioned in early literature as a blood sugar stabilizing agent and such effects have been evaluated.1It is used as an adjunct in maintaining normal blood sugar levels, and is also supportive in maintaining blood lipids within normal levels.2
1. Sulman, F.G. and E.Menczel: Harokeach Haire 9:6 (1962). Chem. Abstr. 57:11308 e(1962)
2. Selected Medicinal Plants of India, CHEMEXCIL, Mumbai (1992)
Gymnema Sylvestre Extract (Gurmar)
Research suggests that the topical and selective anesthetic effect of the plant might result from the competition between these active glycosides and sweet substances for the receptor sites.1In a study of 22 patients who were given 400mg gymnema extract daily along with their usual medications, all patients demonstrated healthier blood sugar levels. Of 22 patients, 21 reported considerable improvement. 2 It was postulated that gymnema may enhance the production of insulin. 3
Gymnema also supports the heart and circulatory system, as well as the uterus and urinary tract. 4 It is interesting to note that gymnema extract is without side effects and supports blood sugar in a balanced way. When given to healthy volunteers, gymnema demonstrated adaptogenic effects.
1. Nature, 1969, 223, 94
1. Tripathi, S.N. et al: J.Res.Ind. Med. Res. 57:900 (1969)
Green Tea Extract
A relatively little known compound found in onions and in tea, especially green tea, called diphenylamine, appears to support healthy blood sugar levels. In addition, the blood sugar supporting effects of tea offers significant anti-aging benefits through calorie restriction, reduced glycation, and lower insulin secretion. Consuming a carbohydrate-rich meal with tea will slow down the release of glucose and reduce its absorption (it also reduces the absorption of iron, another anti-aging benefit). By preventing the harmful spike in insulin, tea offers other benefits that go with calorie restriction and insulin support.1
1. Deng ZY, Tao BY, et al. Effect of green tea and black tea on blood glucose, triglycerides and antioxidants in aged rats. J Agricult Food Chem 1998;46:3875-78.
Azadirachta Indica Extract (Neem)
1. Shibata el al : Ind. J. Phram., 17:230 (1955)
Eugenia Jambolana Extract (Jambu)
Momordica Charantia Extract (Bitter Melon)
Bitter melon contains several compounds with confirmed blood sugar supporting properties. Bitter melon also contains an insulin-like polypeptide called polypeptide-P, which is similar in structure to bovine insulin.
Bitter melon¡¯s mechanism for supporting healthy blood sugar levels is unknown, but in animal studies it has been proposed that it has a direct action similar to insulin. 2
The recommended dose of bitter melon depends on the form being consumed. Dosage for tincture ranges from 5ml 2 to 3 times daily to as high as 50ml per day. 3 However, bitter melon juice is very difficult to make palatable since, as the name implies, it is quite bitter. To avoid the bitter taste, the Indians and Chinese crush the herb and form tablets. In Central America, it is prepared as an extract or decoction. Dosages of capsulized dried powder range from 3-15g daily. However, to avoid the necessity of taking so many capsules, a standardized extract may be used at dosages of 100-200mg three times daily.
1. Welihinda J, Karunanayake EH, Sheriff MH, Jayasinghe KS. Effect of Momordica charantia on the glucose tolerance in maturity onset diabetes. J Ethnopharmacol 1986;17:277-282.
1. Reversing Diabetes pages 89 & 90, The Pill Guide Book to Natural Medicines ? pages 128 & 129
Vanadyl sulfate is a biologically active form of vanadium. Because of its insulin-like properties, vanadyl is being used to manage blood sugar. Studies show that vanadyl is very effective in normalizing blood sugar levels and controlling related conditions. 3
1. Cohen N, Halberstam M, Shlimovich P, et al. Oral vanadyl sulfate improves hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Clin Invest 1995;95:2501-2509.
1. Journal of Longevity ? Volume 5/No. 8, page 40, New Encyclopedia Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements & Herbs ? page 386
Tumeric (Curcumin 95%)
Curcuminoids are natural plant compounds that guard the cells, tissues and organs of the body from numerous ¡°inside¡± and ¡°outside¡± detrimental influences. Unlike other antioxidants, which have more of a ¡°policing effect¡± on such errant molecules, the turmeric cucuminoids merge with potential free radicals before they form.
Cayenne Pepper Extract
1. Henry, C. J. K., (1986). Effect of spiced food on metabolic rate. Human Nutrition: Clinical Nutrition, 40, 165-168
Piper Nigrum & Vinca Rosea (Banana Leaf Extract)
Banaba is a botanical extract that come from the leaves of the banaba tree. In Southeast Asia and the Philippines, the leaves are traditionally used as an herbal remedy to support healthy blood sugar levels. Banaba balances blood sugar, regulates insulin levels and supports healthy weight loss. 1
Corosolic acid, a triterpenoid found in the leaves, helps balance blood sugar by stimulating glucose uptake. This effect is similar to that of insulin, which induces glucose transport from the blood into body cells. 2, 3 Animal studies have shown it to be supportive for managing both blood sugar conditions and obesity. 3-5
Researchers have found that banaba contains at least 3 other active ingredients including lagerstroemin, flosin B and reginin A. These natural phytochemicals regulate glucose uptake, and may play a role in banaba¡¯s ability to support healthy blood sugar levels. 6,7
The blood sugar regulating properties of banaba have been demonstrated in cell culture and animal and human studies. In an animal study, banaba normalizes blood sugar, and also had a normalizing effect on blood pressure. 3-5, 7 In a human study, banaba extract showed significant blood sugar stabilizing effects. 8
1. American Diabetes Association, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-statistics/national-diabetes-fact-sheet.jsp (29 July 2004)
1. Anderson R et al. Isolation and characterization of polyphenol type-A polymers from cinnamon with insulin-like biological activity. J Agric Food Chem 2004, 52:65-70.
by Ruth Tay