Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels is a major problem in the U.S. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes and 79 million are likely to develop diabetes over time. High blood glucose happens when the body has too little insulin or when the body can’t use insulin properly. Changes in your diet and exercise can help but if you need a little more help, here are 7 herbs to help regulate blood sugar levels:
1. Cinnamon: has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels. Only about half of a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can improve one’s insulin sensitivity and help controlling weight, thereby decreasing one’s risk for heart disease. Studies have proved that cinnamon can significantly lower HbA1c levels, as well as significantly reduced blood pressure. Cinnamon supplementation may be considered as an additional dietary supplement option to regulate blood glucose and blood pressure levels.
2. Gymnema: this herb Ayurvedic name, Gurmar, means ‘destroyer of sugar’ and it has some unusually beneficial properties for treating diabetes. One of the primary active ingredients in Gymnema sylvestre is gymnemic acid, a unique compound which increases the production of insulin, improves glucose utilization and may even help to regenerate islet beta cells within the pancreas which produce insulin. Gymnema sylvestre supplementation appears to improve glucose control in patients with type II diabetes.
3. Bitter melon: this vine-grown vegetable is also called bitter apple, bitter gourd or bitter cucumber. Diabetes Health reports that several compounds in bitter melon may have glucose-lowering properties, including polypeptide P, vicine, and momordin and charantin, which are glycosides. The taste of bitter melon is very bitter, so you may consider supplements or eat it with sweeter vegetables such as onions, baby corn, or bell peppers.
4. Neem: found abundantly in India, the bitter leaf has a number of amazing medicinal properties. Neem enhances insulin receptor sensitivity, helps improve blood circulation by dilating the blood vessels and, consequently, lowering blood glucose levels
5. Fenugreek: its dried seeds have culinary uses but this traditional herb has also been part of herbal medicine for centuries. Practitioners recommend fenugreek to improve symptoms of menopause and also to increase milk production in breastfeeding women. However, fenugreek supplements can also be used as a traditional remedy for high cholesterol and diabetes.
6. Prickly Pear Cactus: often part of the diet in Mexican and Mexican-American cultures, Prickly pear cactus can also be used for type 2 diabetes as studies have shown that frequent intake of this prickly pear can help to regulate blood sugar levels. Prickly pear cactus contains fiber and pectin, which can lower blood glucose by decreasing the absorption of sugar in the stomach and intestine.
7. Ginseng: several studies have found that American ginseng lowered blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The effect was seen both on fasting blood sugar and on postprandial glucose levels. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who took American ginseng before or together with a high sugar drink experienced less of an increase in blood glucose levels.
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