The effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicine in treating diabetes is well documented. The efficacy of herbs widely recommended in Ayurvedic texts for normalizing the blood sugar level has been validated in several clinical trials.
In Ayurveda, diabetes mellitus is known as Madhu meha. Owing to the adverse effect of high blood sugar on nearly every vital organ of the body, diabetes is referred to as ‘maharoga’ or the major disease in Ayurveda.Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes contain herbs that help to lower the blood sugar level by regulating metabolism of carbohydrates, regulating sugar absorption, stimulating insulin secretion and improving sensitivity to the hormone insulin.
Gymnema sylvestre is an effective hypoglycemic component in Ayurvedic medicines for diabetes. The common name of the herb is Gurmar, which means the sugar crusher.
The efficacy of Gymnema sylvestre leaves in reducing the blood sugar level has been demonstrated in experimental and clinical studies. Treatment with the herb helps to lower the fasting blood sugar level. By assisting regeneration of the residual pancreatic beta cells, it reduces dependence on insulin medications.
Coccinia indica is a powerful anti-diabetic agent. By regulating breakdown of starch, it helps to prevent sudden surge of blood sugar after consuming carbohydrates. It could also protect the vital organs from the adverse effect of high blood sugar level.
Abnormal changes in the fatty acid composition in diabetics could be prevented by consuming Coccinia indica leaves. By raising the plasma vitamin C level and reducing oxidant agents, Coccinia indica leaves protect diabetics from oxidative stress.
The bitter leaves and seeds of Azadirachta indica or the neem plant is beneficial for diabetes patients. It is used alone or combined with other anti-diabetes Ayurvedic herbs for improving glucose tolerance. Neem is especially recommended for preventing diabetic nephropathy.
Morus indica leaves are recommended in Ayurveda for lowering the blood sugar level. Experimental studies suggest that daily intake of Morus indica leaves for at least fifteen days causes about 38% reduction in the blood sugar level.
Mulberry leaves might correct lipid abnormalities in diabetics. By improving the antioxidant defense system of the body, mulberry leaves might protect diabetics from oxidative stress. It could also delay onset of cataract in diabetics.
The anti-diabetic effect of Momordica charantia or bitter gourd is well documented. It is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicines for diabetes. It helps to increase insulin secretion by improving the functions of the beta cells of the pancreas.
It might help to reverse pancreatic damage and aid regeneration of pancreatic beta cells. Intake of bitter gourd fruit pulp helps to increase the number of beta cells in the pancreas.
The fruit and seeds of Eugenia jambolana could significantly reduce the blood sugar level in diabetics. It stimulates secretion of insulin. It could also reduce the risk of kidney dysfunction in diabetics. Moreover, intake of Eugenic jambolana seed extract helps to accelerate the wound healing process in diabetics.
Trigonella foenum or fenugreek seeds help to reduce insulin resistance in diabetes mellitus patients. Clinical trials with fenugreek seed extract suggests that regular consumption of about 1gm of fenugreek seed extracts could significantly reduce the blood glucose level within two months. The hypoglycemic effect of fenugreek seeds is primarily attributed to the compound diosgenin.