Promising Herbs to Diminish Diabetes

Valuable plants help lower blood sugar levels.


| June/July 2004



Diabetes

A combination of diet, exercise and herbs helps battle diabetes.

It is estimated that 7.2 percent of American adults (about 17 million people) have diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 5.9 million of those people don’t even know they have it. The prevalence of diabetes is increasing rapidly, at a rate of 7 percent per year. At this rate, the diabetic population will just about double every decade.

Diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. Its chief complications include arterial plaque (atherosclerosis), heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, nerve degeneration, foot ulcers, gum disease and, occasionally, dementia. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.

Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, usually is diagnosed in children, teens and young adults (before age 25) and accounts for 5 to 10 percent of American diabetics. This form involves complete destruction of the cells in the pancreas (called beta cells) that produce the hormone insulin.

The remaining 90 to 95 percent of diabetics in the United States have non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, or type 2, which usually is diagnosed after 40 years of age. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by a loss of sensitivity to insulin. Typically, insulin levels in the blood are actually increased, but the tissues have lost their ability to respond to the hormone.

Herbal Support

While diet and exercise are essential in managing diabetes, several herbs have shown great promise in supporting the battle against this disease.





elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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