There are two types of diabetes- type 1 and type 2. Both types involve the pancreas, one of whose function is to produce the hormone insulin. The body needs insulin to process glucose (sugar), its chief source of energy. Without sufficient insulin, blood glucose levels rise, causing the common symptoms of diabetes – being very thirsty or very hungry, feeling tired for no reason and urinating more than usual. When you have diabetes, your body has trouble turning glucose into energy. Instead of being used by your body, the glucose builds up in your blood. The rest of your body is starved of energy.
The type of diabetes that usually starts in childhood is called insulin-dependent, juvenile-onset or type l diabetes. In this case, the pancreas has lost all or most of its ability to make insulin, and affected persons need daily injections of the hormones to stay alive. Insulin-dependent diabetes appears suddenly, usually at an early age. This type is less common.
The most common type of diabetes is the non-insulin dependent or type 2. In this case insulin is made, but either the amount is insufficient to meet the body’s need or the amount is sufficient, but the body is unable to use it effectively. Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in people over 40 years old and overweight. The onset is usually gradual and the symptoms often go unnoticed. These symptoms build up over time and include- blurred vision, slow healing sores or cuts, yeast infections, itchy skin (usually in the vaginal or groin area), dry mouth and a need to urinate often.
No matter what the type is, diabetes should be monitored and treated carefully. Left untreated, diabetes can severely impair health and lead to heart or kidney disease, gum disease, loss of limb, high blood pressure, stroke, blood vessel thickening, nerve damage resulting in pain or loss of sensation, blindness, gangrene and even death.
How to check if one has diabetes:
Blood and urine tests are usually performed to see if one has diabetes. Normal blood sugar is between 70 mg/dl and 100 mg/dl. The standard diagnosis of diabetes is made when two blood tests show that your fasting blood sugar level (blood sugar before you have eaten anything) is 126 mg/dl or greater.
Signs of diabetes:
Many people with diabetes don’t even know they have the disease. Some signs of diabetes have severally been mentioned earlier and include: being very thirsty or very hungry, feeling tired for no reason, urinating excessively, losing weight for no reason, having cuts or bruises that are slow to heal, losing feeling or having tingling in your hands or feet.
Diabetes is sure a chronic condition that takes effort on your part. Once diagnosed, people are either on oral anti-diabetic medication or insulin for the rest of their lives. Considering the chronic nature of type 2 diabetes, it makes sense to explore natural remedies that have scientifically been proved effective to control this condition. Many of these remedies are easily available and they can provide a simpler way of controlling diabetes without much unpleasant side effects. Although some people use these remedies in addition to their medication, it is important to remember that such a combination can trigger off a sudden, drastic drop of blood glucose levels that can be dangerous. Therefore, it wise to speak to your health practitioner first.
The following are some natural remedies that have shown potential anti-diabetic activity:
Cinnamon- this mimics insulin, thus it may lower your need for insulin immediately. Take 1 teaspoon in hot water 2 x daily.
Green plantain peels- wash a plantain and peel it, then put the peel in a jar and cover with water. Let it sit overnight, and then drink this water 3 x a day. This lowers your blood sugar level. Keep drinking as needed and change the peel every other day and refill the jar with water.
Momordicacharantia (ejirin in Yoruba) – this is prepared in a variety of ways and may be able to help diabetics with insulin secretion, glucose oxidation and other processes. Whole plant is used either as infusions or decoctions.
Aloe vera: extract gel and blend to a smooth texture. Take 15 mls 2 x daily.
Curry leaves: wash about 5-10 fresh curry leaves, juice and take every morning for 60 days. This is said to prevent hereditary factors of diabetes and may also be remedy for diabetes due to obesity.
Mango leaves: the tender leaves of mango tree are considered useful in diabetes. An infusion is prepared by soaking 15 gm of fresh leaves in 250 ml of water overnight and squeezing them well in the morning. The filtrate should be taken every morning to control early diabetes. As an alternative, the leaves should be dried under the shade, powdered and ½ a teaspoon taken twice daily.
Basil (scent leaves): have been shown to lower blood sugar levels. The seeds are also beneficial by providing dietary fiber, which helps prevent rapid blood sugar elevations after meals.
Bitter leaf: preferably combined with basil and utazi (Gongronemalatifolium) either fresh or dried. Take morning and night.
Psidiumguajava (guava): studies have shown that guava leaves and extracts thereof possess quercertin, a flavonoid with hypoglycemic effect that helps to treat diabetes. When administered for a while, guava juice may reduce blood sugar in diabetic patients.Equal quantities of guava leaves and bitter leaves macerated or decocted and then filtered are also beneficial. Traditionally, the roots are beneficial in treating both types of diabetes.
Chromolaenaodorata (ewe akintola in Yoruba): an infusion or poultice of fresh leaves is used as wound dress for new and old diabetic sores. The leaves are also decocted and taken ¼ tumbler 2-3 x daily for 21 days.
Okra: the fiber in okra helps stabilize blood sugar, regulating the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract. It is best to eat your okra fresh. You can also slice 3 – medium sized okra lengthwise and soak in a glass of water overnight in room temperature, making sure that it stays covered. Decant and take 30 minutes before breakfast. Do this daily and see many of your symptoms alleviated.
Solanum (garden egg): this is a good source of dietary fiber. It serves as very good snack and also makes a good soup for diabetics. Leaves and fruits are to be used daily.
Mistletoe: 1-2 tablespoon is infused in a 60 cl of warm water overnight. Take 30 cl while warm first thing in the morning and also last thing at night.
Avocado seeds- slice the seed into several chunks. Add this to a pot of water and bring to boil, wait till the water turns brown. Strain the water mixture and drink when cool.
Garlic-may cause a reduction in blood glucose, increase secretion and slow the degradation of insulin. Add fresh cloves of garlic to your meals daily.