Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD
Diet can play an important role in the management of diabetes and there are many plants that have been shown to be beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels. In this article, we will discuss 10 remarkable anti-diabetic plants that are worth knowing about.
The bioactive components in these plants provide various therapeutic benefits through their anti-diabetic properties including the inhibition of alpha-glucosidase activity and potential improvement of glucose tolerance. Additionally, some of these herbs may also possess antioxidant effects which can further aid in managing diabetes symptoms and complications.
Bitter Melon (Bitter gourd)
Momordica charantia, more commonly referred to as Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd, is a plant belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family which has traditionally been used for its hypoglycemic properties in various parts of the world.
It is native to South America, East Africa, the Caribbean, and India and produces a knobble fruit that is bitter when ripe.
This remarkable plant is packed full of medicinal value due to its anti-oxidant properties that include flavonoids and phenols.
In addition, it contains active components such as Charantin and polypeptide-p which are known for their strong hypoglycemic effects.
Charantin alone can even replace diabetic treatments while Polypeptide-p has been found to be especially effective in treating Type 1 diabetes and acts similarly to human insulin.
Gymnema Sylvestre is another anti-diabetic plant whose extracts contain phytochemicals that also have significant hypoglycemic effects on humans.
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Fenugreek, a species of the Fabaceae family, is known for its potential to manage diabetes symptoms. It contains anti-diabetic components like trigonelline and galactomannans which are helpful in lowering the blood sugar level. Studies have shown that consuming fenugreek regularly can help regulate glucose metabolism and increase insulin production. Furthermore, it can also be used as an herbal supplement to improve the overall health of people with diabetes.
Fenugreek is thus a remarkable antidiabetic plant one should know about to keep their diabetes under control.
Garlic, native to Central Asia and Iran, is a powerhouse of essential nutrients that have been used for centuries in folk medicine. Allium sativum, from the Alliaceae family, has cardioprotective properties with anti-diabetic capabilities such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant& anti-glycation effects.
Raw garlic has good blood sugar decreasing properties & also helps to prevent future secondary complications in diabetes-affected individuals. Recent researches show that garlic extracts are a powerful source for reducing insulin resistance and it is ideal to consume at least 1 clove of garlic in type 2 diabetes as an alternative to antidiabetic chemical drugs.
Garlic compliments other remarkable anti-diabetic plants like ginseng, turmeric, Indian gooseberry, and okra which can be combined with this herbaceous plant for greater health benefits.
Gymnema (Cow Plant)
Gymnema Sylvestre, a shrub native to Africa, Sri Lanka, and India, is known for its anti-diabetic properties. Commonly known as the Cow plant, botanically it is named Gymnema Sylvestre and belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family. The active component responsible for controlling diabetes is the Gymnemic acid which has a unique property to eliminate the ability to recognize sugar taste. It serves as a receptor to reduce glucose absorption by the intestines, thereby regulating the blood glucose levels in the body. It is also called as ‘sugar destroyer’. Chewing too many leaves may cause side effects like the tongue losing the ability to recognize the sweet taste and hence should be avoided during pregnancy & lactation. For best results, it needs to be combined with other medicines too.
|Gymnema (Cow Plant)
|Improves Insulin Sensitivity; Lowers Blood Glucose Levels & Hemoglobin A1C; Reduces Triglyceride Levels; Protects against Oxidative Stress Damage Caused By Diabetes
|Polysaccharides & Glycoproteins
|Lowers Blood Glucose Levels; Enhances Insulin Response; Reduces Oxidative Stress & Inflammation Damage caused by Diabetes
|Cinnamaldehyde & Eugenol Anhydride Compounds
|Improves Insulin Sensitivity; Lowers Blood Glucose Levels & Hemoglobin A1C; Reduces Triglyceride Levels ; Protects against Oxidative Stress Damage Caused By Diabetes
|Nimbidin& Quercetin Compounds
|Increases Insulin Secretion & Sensitivity; Regulates Glucose Metabolism; Antioxidant Properties; Prevents Diabetic Complications like Neuropathy, Nephropathy, etc.
Green Chireta (Andrographis paniculata) is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Acanthaceae family, native to India and Sri Lanka. It is also known as “Bitter King” due to its strong bitterness.
Active constituents of this plant are diterpenes, flavones, and lactones which have shown remarkable anti-diabetic properties for many years now. Specifically, it has been observed to lower blood glucose levels by limiting intestinal absorption of glucose through the Glucose Tolerance Test.
Additionally, it can be used as a natural remedy for diabetes and other related disorders that require control of blood sugar levels. Thus, Green Chireta may be an important medicinal plant for people seeking herbal treatments or natural remedies for diabetes management.
Here are four key points about Green Chireta:
- It belongs to the Acanthaceae family
- Its active constituents are diterpenes, flavones, and lactones
- Known to lower blood glucose levels
- Used as a natural remedy for diabetes
Ginger, a rhizome belonging to the Zingiberaceae family, is widely consumed in various forms and is valued for its health-promoting properties.
It contains bioactive compounds such as gingerol and zingiberol that have been found to reduce fasting blood sugar levels and regulate serum insulin levels.
Additionally, it has been linked to providing nutritional benefits that can help reduce the risk of diabetic complications.
Ginger can be consumed fresh, dried, or in oil form, making it an ideal choice for those seeking natural health remedies or plant-based therapies.
As with any dietary supplement, however, caution should be exercised when consuming ginger in combination with other anti-diabetic medications due to the potential risk of lowering blood sugar drastically.
Aloe vera, a member of the Liliaceae family, has long been used in traditional medicine for its numerous health benefits. It is native to Africa and has a remarkable anti-diabetic effect when combined with other medicines.
In order to manage diabetes, Aloe Vera can be consumed orally in the form of juice, gel or paste. Studies have shown that this plant-based therapy helps reduce blood glucose levels significantly, making it an effective herbal medicine for diabetes management.
Its effects are so powerful that it has been praised in Greek and Egyptian classics since ancient times (7000 years ago). Therefore, Aloe Vera should be considered one of the most remarkable anti-diabetic plants known to mankind.
Olive, a tall evergreen tree belonging to the Oleaceae family, has been used in traditional medicine for its medicinal properties.
Studies have revealed that extra virgin olive oil helps reduce insulin resistance and prevent diabetes.
It is also known to improve glycemic control, which helps maintain cellular health.
Polyphenols like oleuropein are believed to provide these medicinal benefits and can be consumed orally in the form of extracts, powder, or tea.
Olive oil is also a popular ingredient in many dishes such as salads with tuna or pizza recipes and can be used as a salad dressing too.
Thus, olive is one of the remarkable anti-diabetic plants that should be taken into consideration when looking into natural remedies for diabetes prevention.
Coccinia indica, commonly referred to as Ivy gourd, is gaining attention for its potential role in managing post-prandial blood sugar levels. As an herbal remedy, it has been used traditionally for centuries and is part of alternative medicine. It grows wild in India and the small elongated fruit is a popular vegetable there. The leaves are also used medicinally. Not only does it mimic insulin, but it also has antioxidant properties that can help with natural healing processes. Eating ivy gourd raw or boiled into salads can be beneficial and those following a plant-based diet should consider adding this remarkable anti-diabetic plant to their meals. In summary, Ivy gourd has traditional remedies, antioxidant properties, and alternative medicine benefits, can be incorporated into a plant-based diet, and provides natural healing benefits for those looking to manage their post-prandial blood sugar levels.
Lady’s finger (Okra or Bhindi)
Abelmoschus esculentus, commonly referred to as Lady’s finger or okra, is a tall-growing vegetable found in India, the Caribbean, and the Americas that has been traditionally used as a remedy for diabetes and other debilitating illnesses. The superior insoluble fiber responsible for this effect is effective in stabilizing blood glucose levels by reducing intestinal absorption.
It can be consumed raw or cooked into stews and fries, with ground seeds used as a coffee substitute. Studies have even shown its effectiveness for gestational diabetes in pregnant rats when consuming okra water. Furthermore, it is part of traditional medicine in Turkey where it is consumed as an okra roast:
- Okra contains soluble fiber which helps reduce type 2 diabetes symptoms by moderating blood sugar levels
- The antioxidants present help reduce inflammation associated with diabetes
- Consuming lady’s finger can help promote weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise
- Eating okra regularly may reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases
- Including Lady’s Finger in your plant-based diet can help improve overall health alongside regulating blood sugar levels.
Other Remarkable Plants for Blood Sugar Control
Recent research suggests that certain plants offer potential benefits for blood sugar control. Among these are ginseng, Indian gooseberry, turmeric, neem, and cinnamon which have long been used in traditional medicine for a variety of conditions.
Ginseng is thought to regulate insulin levels and boost pancreatic health while Indian gooseberry has been found to support metabolic disorders and help maintain healthy glucose levels. Turmeric possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties which can be beneficial in diabetes prevention and management.
Neem has also demonstrated its ability to improve glycemic control as well as support the immune system by increasing natural killer cell activity. Finally, cinnamon has shown promise in helping the pancreas produce insulin more efficiently.
Herbal teas made from these plants may serve as an effective way to incorporate them into a daily routine for improved blood sugar regulation over time.
- Diet plays an important role in managing diabetes, and there are 10 remarkable anti-diabetic plants worth knowing about.
- These plants contain bioactive components that provide therapeutic benefits and may improve glycemic control and promote health benefits for those with diabetes.
- Some individual plants, like olive, ivy gourd, lady’s finger or okra, and ginseng, can be incorporated into a plant-based diet and may have specific benefits for managing diabetes symptoms.
- Traditional medicine has utilized plants like Indian gooseberry, turmeric, neem, and cinnamon for their potential therapeutic effects on metabolic disorders and insulin regulation.
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