A healthy diet and regular exercise are important parts of keeping your blood sugar levels in check, but even the healthiest people can find themselves with elevated blood sugar levels on occasion. Whether you’re concerned about pre-diabetes or diabetes, there are natural herbs that can help bring your blood sugar levels back to normal quickly and efficiently so you can continue living your life without worrying about it interfering with your life too much.
Are Herbs Safe To Take For Lowering Blood Sugar?
Herbs and supplements are not regulated by anyone. There is a lot of controversy surrounding herbs, and supplement use. The biggest concerns about supplement use have to do with when it comes to interactions with drugs and other health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. For example, certain herbs have an active ingredient called ephedra, which has been linked to heart disease, stroke and death in some patients. So how do you know if supplements are safe for you? It all depends on your personal health history and condition(s). You may want to get advice from your doctor before deciding if they're right for you.
Are Herbs Better Than Drugs?
While herbs may not be as powerful as drugs, they can still lower blood sugar levels. If you're trying to improve your blood sugar numbers and don't want to take medications, there are many natural options out there that you can try. Be sure to talk with your doctor about your choices before switching to a new supplement routine. Not all herbs are healthy for everyone, and some might interfere with medication you're already taking. Herbs that lower blood sugar include aloe vera gel, cinnamon, dandelion root, fenugreek seed extract, ginseng root and magnesium supplement... As always, be sure to talk with your doctor before using these or any other herbal supplements.
How Herbs Lower Blood Sugar
Many herbs contain naturally occurring phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that may help to normalize blood sugar levels and regulate glucose metabolism. There are several herbs that have been found to positively affect blood sugar levels. Studies of some of these herbs have shown positive results for patients with type 2 diabetes in lowering blood sugar, increasing HDL cholesterol and reducing LDL (the bad kind) cholesterol. Other studies suggest that these herbs can lower glucose intolerance, improve insulin sensitivity and decrease cravings for sweets.
Best Herbs to Lower Blood Sugar Fast
A powerful herb for regulating blood sugar levels. It should be used in combination with other herbs to boost its positive effects, as it has limited effects on its own. The Costus plant is a flowering plant native to parts of South America and Southeast Asia. While not often consumed directly, extracts from it are used in many medications. A key medicinal quality of costus igneus is its ability to enhance blood flow throughout your body; studies have also shown that it may lower blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes.
These leaves have been used in Asian cultures for centuries. While they might not seem to be a viable option for lowering blood sugar, they have been shown to lower insulin levels and help stabilize blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Research studies have shown that mango leaves can lower both fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels. This makes them a particularly good choice if you’re looking to reduce your a1c number without increasing your risk of hypoglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis.
Not only is aloe vera a perennial favorite as a treatment for burns, but it also has powerful blood sugar-lowering effects. The plant’s anthraquinone compounds activate adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which then kickstarts an enzyme that switches on insulin production and lowers blood sugar levels. Glucomannan, a fiber found in aloe vera gel, helps reduce food intake by delaying stomach emptying and suppressing appetite.
Eating cinnamon might help lower blood sugar levels as part of a balanced diet, according to research. In an animal study conducted by Georgia Health Sciences University, rats fed cinnamon for seven days saw their blood sugar and triglyceride levels drop by up to 25 percent. A group of healthy humans given 1.5 grams of cinnamon a day for 40 days also saw reductions in blood sugar and triglycerides, according to research published in Diabetes Care. Reducing these two risk factors might help people avoid cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Studies show that fenugreek may help lower blood sugar and HbA1c levels in people with diabetes. Additionally, it has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity. Fenugreek has also been shown to reduce post-meal glucose levels by up to 40% in some trials. Despite all of these benefits, most human trials have only lasted for about 2–3 months, meaning more research is needed to see if fenugreek truly works for long-term diabetes control.
You may have heard of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) as a medicinal herb, but it’s also one of nature’s best blood sugar support herbs. Ginseng has long been used to treat diabetes, and its active compounds can lower blood sugar levels and inhibit pancreatic alpha-amylase (an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates into sugars). These effects help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce carbohydrate cravings, and help with weight loss.
One supplement that you may want to add to your routine is berberine, which has been shown to lower blood sugar and A1C levels. It also helps support a healthy heart, as well as maintain or increase insulin sensitivity. You can purchase berberine in capsule form, but also look for it in herbal teas like guggulipid and ginger tea blends, where it’s paired with other herbs that help lower blood sugar.
Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, is often considered nature’s most powerful weapon against diabetes. In lab tests and animal studies, it has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels and support healthy cholesterol levels already within normal range. Turmeric also contains polyphenols and antioxidants that reduce inflammation throughout your body.
The results of several studies published in 2011 indicate that milk thistle is a helpful herb for lowering blood sugar. Milk thistle may reduce insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity, which can help people with diabetes reduce their blood sugar levels. The active compounds in milk thistle are thought to help prevent cell damage from free radicals. Milk thistle has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years as a treatment for liver disorders; however, its effect on diabetes is relatively new.
Low-carbohydrate diets can help reduce blood sugar, but for people with diabetes who can’t reduce their carb intake, plant-based Gymnema sylvestre (GS) supplements may be a good option. Gymnema has been shown to lower blood sugar by preventing carbs from converting into glucose. When you consume food with carbohydrates, your body releases insulin to convert that food into energy and store it away in fatty tissue or use it immediately.
Using ginger to lower blood sugar can be as simple as adding a few teaspoons of freshly grated ginger root to your vegetable or chicken broth when you’re cooking Asian food. Although many people like to drink fresh ginger tea for its medicinal properties, take care not to consume too much—ginger root contains volatile oils that could irritate your stomach if you drink it in excess.
The Bottom Line
Herbs can be used to lower blood sugar and help you manage your diabetes. And, contrary to what some may think, herbs are safe and side-effect-free if used appropriately. To use them best, incorporate them into your diet and exercise routine along with other treatments for diabetes. You'll not only feel better but look better too!