How to use natural remedies to control diabetes better


India is now engulfed by the diabetes demon like never before, thanks to our changing lifestyle, stress and lack of exercise. Since it is a chronic disease, patients are usually on anti-diabetic medication for life. And if their sugar levels are not controlled, they may be prescribed insulin. Even though it is difficult to completely stop taking the medication, given the chronic nature of the disease, it may be wise to try some natural remedies and yoga to help control glucose levels naturally too. But remember, do consult your doctor before starting on any of the remedies listed below, especially because a combination of allopathic and natural remedies can trigger off a sudden, drastic drop of blood glucose levels that can be dangerous.

Here are details of five such herbal remedies that have shown promise of useful anti-diabetic activity, along with what is known of their mechanism of action.

Fenugreek or methi

Used in paranthas and various Indian curries, methi has many health benefits. In recent times, clinical trials on people with type 2 diabetes show that fenugreek has the valuable property of reducing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the stomach during the process of digestion; it also appears to be capable of stimulating the pancreatic cells to increase insulin production. Both these actions are believed to be a result of the action by an amino acid present in fenugreek called 4-hydroxyisoleucine.


How to use: 

  • Soak the methi seeds in water overnight and drink this water and chew on the seeds first thing in the morning.
  • Place methi seeds in a skillet and dry roast using medium heat for about two minutes, with constant stirring. Allow the seeds to cool and then powder; add one teaspoon of this powder to hot or cold water and take once or twice in a day.
  • Boil one cup of water and add 2 tablespoons of methi seeds, steep for about 10 minutes and then strain and consume the liquid. Do this twice every day to see a reduction of blood glucose levels.

Bitter gourd, bitter melon or Karela

Several studies have found that bitter gourd or karela extracts have the ability to reduce the activity of the alpha glucosidase enzyme and this helps to reduce the hyperglycemia (increase in sugar levels) that typically follows a meal. This insulin-like action is believed to be due to a substance called polypeptide-P. Bitter melon has also been found to contain a phytonutrient called charantin that allows the glucose from the blood to be moved into the muscles, adipose (fat) tissue and liver, lowering blood glucose levels in diabetics.


How to use: 

  • Select a green bitter gourd, slice it lengthwise, and scrape away the flesh to remove the seeds. Then add the vegetable to a blender and run it to obtain a juice. Drink one small glass of this juice first thing every morning.
  • Take some pieces of dried bitter gourd, boil in one cup of water and consume this tea once or twice in a day. This tea is not as bitter as the fresh juice and easier to consume.
  • Cut a few slices of bitter gourd and add to stir-fry dishes, especially in combination with vegetables that have a sweetish taste of their own – this will help mask their bitter taste. Here are more ways to include bitter gourd or karela in your diet.

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