Herbal Medicine for Diabetes
The herbs used in traditional Indian medicine to treat diabetes seems to lower blood sugar and insulin levels in a manner similar to prescription drugs, reports a new study.
Researchers gave extracts of Salacia oblonga to 39 healthy adults grass, and the results were promising. The larger dose of the herb extract – 1,000 milligrams – decreased levels of insulin and blood glucose by 29 and 23 percent respectively.
The Salacia oblonga, which is native to regions of India and Sri Lanka, binds to intestinal enzymes that break down carbohydrates in the body. These enzymes, called alpha-glycosidase, turn carbohydrates into glucose, the sugar that circulates throughout the body. If the enzyme binds to the herbal extract something a carbohydrate, then less glucose gets into the blood stream, resulting in lowered levels of glucose and insulin levels.
The “low levels of blood glucose lower the risk of disease-related complications in people with diabetes.”Also, poor compliance with diabetes medications often hinders the effectiveness of these drugs. It may be easier to get someone to take an herb with food or drink, compared with a pill. “
The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Thirty-nine healthy adults participated in four separate tests the tolerance of food. These meals, which were given in beverage form, were spaced three to 14 days apart. Each participant fasted for at least 10 hours before consuming the test beverage.
The researchers then used finger-prick method to draw blood samples from each person every 15 to 30 minutes for three hours. These blood samples were used to determine concentrations of insulin and blood glucose. The biggest changes in levels of glucose and insulin levels usually happen within the first two hours after eating.
The beverage that contained the highest concentration of the herbal extract – 1,000 milligrams – provided the most dramatic reduction in insulin levels and blood glucose. Insulin levels were 29 percent lower, while levels of blood glucose was 23 percent lower compared to the control beverage, which contained no herbal extract.
The participants collected their breath in small plastic tubes. The researchers then analyzed these breath samples for the content of hydrogen and methane – the level of any substance in the breath corresponds to the level in the colon.
The subjects also rated the frequency and intensity of nausea, abdominal cramping and distention and gas for two days after consuming each test meal.
Now he and his colleagues are trying to figure out what dose of the herb is most effective, they must be taken relative to a meal.
“We want to know how long it takes for the grass to the loop enzymes that break down carbohydrates,” “Participants in this study took the herb with their meal, but maybe taking it before eating would be even more effective.”
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