Natural Remedies for Type 2 Diabetes
What Weight Control Substances Are Used for Diabetes Treatment?
The following plant foods are sometimes used for diabetes treatment, particularly for those with type 2 diabetes.
Since weight and diabetes are linked, many people with diabetes turn to natural alternative therapies for diabetes treatment, particularly those that claim to help with weight loss, including:
- Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid)
- Momordica charantia (Chinese bitter melon)
- Sauropus androgynus (sweet leaf bush)
- Aristolochic acid
In addition, transdermal (skin patch) systems as well as oral sprays have been developed to purportedly reduce appetite and facilitate weight loss. One patch system uses homeopathic amounts of 29 different compounds to reduce appetite. What is the bottom line? There's not one published study available on its efficacy.
Are Herbs Really Safe for Diabetes Treatment?
In 2003, ephedrine -- also known as ma huang -- became the first herbal stimulant ever banned by the FDA. A popular component of over-the-counter weight loss drugs, ephedrine was found to have some benefits. However, the evidence of its ability to cause harm was far more compelling. In high doses, ephedrine has been known to cause insomnia (difficulty falling and staying asleep), high blood pressure, glaucoma, and urinary retention. This herbal supplement has also been associated with numerous cases of stroke.
Chitosan has received a great deal of recent publicity. It is derived from seashells and has the ability to bind to fat and prevent its absorption. Although it is said to facilitate weight loss, available studies thus far have not been encouraging.
Germander, Momordica charantia, Sauropus androgynus, and aristolochic acid have been associated with liver disease, pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.
The other so-called "obesity remedies" listed have not been rigorously studied, and those that been reviewed have yielded disappointing results.
Also, a recent survey of herbal preparations for obesity found that many preparations contained lead or arsenic and other toxic metals. Some also contain other undeclared ingredients. Occasionally, there was mistaken plant identity as well.
What to Consider Before Using Natural Therapies for Diabetes Treatment
Before you think about using a natural therapy for diabetes treatment, be sure to consider the following:
- Discuss any drugs you use, including herbal products, with your doctor before taking them.
- If you experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea, or skin rashes, stop taking the herbal product and notify your doctor immediately.
- Avoid preparations made with more than one herb.
- Beware of commercial claims of what herbal products can do. Look for scientific-based sources of information.
Select brands of natural products carefully. Only purchase brands that list the herb's common and scientific name, the name and address of the manufacturer, a batch and lot number, expiration date, dosage guidelines, and potential side effects.