Many bitter herbs and ingredients have been used for centuries to reduce blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. Many Ayurvedic and herbal remedies for diabetes contain intensely bitter herbs.
In this post let’s look into all the famous bitter herbs which may aid in controlling diabetes. There are 6 herbs and 2 spices.
1. Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd
Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd or Momordica charantia, is a vegetable that has been traditionally used in Asian and African countries for medicinal purposes, particularly for managing diabetes.
It’s a popular vegetable as it gives unique aroma and flavour to curry, dry fry & sabji etc. It is also consumed as a spicy chips in Southern India.
Bitter melon (Karela) contains several compounds, including charantin, vicine, and polypeptide-p, that have been shown to have blood sugar-lowering effects. These compounds work by increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing glucose production in the liver, which can help regulate blood sugar levels.
2. Gymnema Sylvestre (Gurmar)
Gymnema Sylvestre is a herb that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
It is known for its ability to regulate blood sugar levels and has gained popularity as a natural remedy for diabetes.
The Hindi word “Gurmar” means “Sugar Killer!” It’s also called “Madhu Nashini” which means sugar destroyer.
Gymnema Sylvestre contains compounds called gymnemic acids, which have been shown to have anti-diabetic properties. These compounds work by blocking the absorption of sugar in the intestines and by increasing insulin secretion in the pancreas.
3. Aloe vera; the bitter succulent
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Recent studies have shown that aloe vera may have potential benefits for individuals with diabetes.
Aloe vera has been found to have hypoglycemic effects, which means it can help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
The plant contains compounds that are thought to increase insulin sensitivity and stimulate the uptake of glucose by the body’s cells. Aloe vera is also rich in antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and prevent damage to the pancreas, the organ responsible for producing insulin.
One study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that aloe vera gel significantly reduced blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
4. Berberine (Alkaloid)
Berberine is a natural compound found in a variety of plants, including goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape.
It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various ailments, including diabetes.
Recent research has shown that berberine may be an effective treatment option for people with diabetes by helping to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
- One study found that berberine was able to lower fasting blood sugar levels by an average of 20%, compared to a placebo group.
- Another study showed that berberine was as effective as the diabetes drug metformin in reducing blood sugar levels.
- Berberine has also been shown to improve lipid metabolism, reduce inflammation, and protect against oxidative stress. [source]
5. Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle, also known as Silybum marianum, is a herbaceous plant (flower) that has been used for centuries for its numerous health benefits.
It is mainly known for its liver-protective properties, but recent studies have shown that it can also be beneficial for individuals with diabetes. It’s very effective in preventing/curing fatty livers disease.
Milk thistle contains a compound called silymarin, which has been found to improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
6. Fenugreek seeds
Fenugreek, also known as Trigonella foenum-graecum, is a herb commonly used in traditional medicine to manage various health conditions.
Recent studies have found that fenugreek may be helpful in managing blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.
The herb contains compounds such as saponins and alkaloids that may have anti-diabetic properties. These compounds help to slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thereby reducing the postprandial rise in blood sugar levels.
The next 2 ingredients are spices with mild bitter taste. Therefore It should not taken as primary sugar controller.
7. Cinnamon Spice
Cinnamon may help improve insulin sensitivity by activating insulin receptors and altering the signaling pathways that control glucose uptake and utilization in cells.
Cinnamon is a aromatic spice with mild bitter taste. It’s added to many dishes to enhance flavor and taste.
Several studies have shown that cinnamon can significantly reduce fasting blood sugar levels, which is the blood sugar level after not eating for several hours.
8. Ginger Root
Ginger contains a compound called gingerol, which has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent natural remedy for managing diabetes.
Ginger has been found to have a positive effect on other diabetes-related complications, such as diabetic nephropathy, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic neuropathy.
Bitter herbs and ingredients that improve insulin sensitivity have been used for centuries in traditional medicine practices. Don’t take any sugar coated gummy, no matter how healthy they are!
These natural remedies have gained popularity in recent years due to their ability to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Healthy diet and regular exercise is still essential.
Sheetal Sharma, Msc. ‘Applied Nutrition’ is the medical editor & co-founder of HealthBuzzPortal. Being a Yoga enthusiasts she likes exploring alternative remedies.