Alternative Approaches...diabetes healing
by Jennifer LB Leese
Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines that include everything from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes. Examples of alternative therapies include acupuncture, guided imagery, chiropractic treatments, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage and many others.
For people living with diabetes, several conventional options are available, as well as a host of effective herbal approaches. Although not as widely administered, herbal therapy serves to diminish the symptoms of diabetes while addressing the root cause of the problem and, in conjunction with orthodox treatment, can put a diabetic on the road to better health.
Here are a few tips to get you started...
Acupuncture is a procedure in which a practitioner inserts needles into designated points on the skin. Some scientists believe that acupuncture triggers the release of the body's natural painkillers. Acupuncture has been shown to offer relief from chronic pain and is sometimes used by people with neuropathy, the painful nerve damage of diabetes.
Biofeedback emphasizes relaxation and stress-reduction techniques to help people learn to deal with the body's response to pain.
Guided imagery is a relaxation technique in which a person thinks of peaceful images or images that foster a sense of control over diabetes.
The basic problem in diabetes is that the level of glucose in the blood is higher than normal, whilst inside the cell it is low. The causes of this condition are complex and it can result in a range of complications that occur primarily in the arteries and the capillaries.
Diet is a major consideration in the treatment and control of diabetes. It is not simply a matter of avoiding foods rich in carbohydrate, but setting up an eating regime that avoids peaks of glucose entering the blood. Each diet must be tailor-made to suit the individual concerned.
The roots of diabetes are complex and treatment must get to these roots. Professional advice is definitely recommended.
Numerous medicinal plants and herbs grow abundantly in the Philippines. Many of these plants and herbs are currently undergoing clinical trials for efficacy against diabetes in various research facilities while some of them have already passed rigorous tests and are already on the market.
Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa). In the Philippines, Banaba is a popular medicine plant and is used in treatment of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is the most common of the endocrine disorders, affecting over 1% of all people living in the Western World. Banaba is high in corosolic acid, which is used in many treatments for diabetes. It is a natural plant insulin, can be taken orally, and has no side effects, according to Japanese research.
Ampalaya (Momordica charantia), also known as bitter melon is another herb that has long been known in the Philippines as one of the best anti-hyperglycemic herbs and has proven itself beyond doubt as effective against diabetes. Ampalaya has a potent mix of flavanoids and alkaloids that are believed to make the Pancreas either produce more insulin, make the body more sensitive to insulin already produced, and/or generate new beta cell populations at the Islets of Langerhans. Ampalaya, besides its prowess against diabetes, is also an important ingredient in the treatment of goiters, hemorrhoids, hepa infections, HIV/AIDS and cancers.
Fenugreek seeds Trigonella foenum-graecum. Also known as bird's foot, the medicinal properties of fenugreek are found in the ripe, dry seeds. Crushed or powdered, these seeds can be used externally and applied as poultices for boils, hives, ulcers, and eczema. Internally, fenugreek seeds have been used in folk medicine to reduce blood sugar, increase lactation and treat pellagra, appetite loss, indigestion, dyspepsia, bronchitis, fever, hernia, impotence, vomiting, catarrh of the respiratory tract, and stomach ulcers.
Garlic. Many studies involving garlic have shown improved diabetes control in animals. One possible mechanism of action of garlic on serum glucose may be direct: it may increase the pancreatic secretion of insulin from beta cells, or it may enhance insulin's release from its bound state. More human studies are needed before garlic supplements can be recommended for diabetic patients.
Ginseng. Several types of plants are referred to as ginseng but most studies of ginseng and diabetes have used American ginseng. Those studies have shown some glucose-lowering effects in fasting and post-prandial (after meal) blood glucose levels as well as in A1C levels (average blood glucose levels over a 3-month period).
Goat's Rue. Also known as French Lilac, this remarkable plant not only possess effective anti-diabetic properties, but it can also promote weight-loss, prevent the formation of dangerous blood clots and act as a powerful anti-bacterial agent too.
Chromium has been widely publicized as therapy to improve diabetes control. Although there are several studies that support a role for chromium as beneficial in diabetes, currently there are no recommendations for its use in diabetes management.
Magnesium has been studied for years as a form of therapy to improve glucose control in people with diabetes. A lack of magnesium has been associated with insulin secretion abnormalities and has been associated with diabetes complications.
Vanadium is derived from plant sources and has been shown in a few studies to increase a person's sensitivity to insulin. Thus far, no recommendations exist for supplementation to be given to people with diabetes.
Since weight and diabetes are linked, many people with diabetes turn to alternative therapies that claim to help with weight loss, including Chitosan, Chromium, and Germander.
Most plant foods are rich in fiber, which is beneficial for helping control blood glucose levels.
There are no clinical trials with promising results for many of the other herbs being proposed for diabetes, such as garlic, ginger, ginseng, hawthorn or nettle. If you have diabetes and are considering taking any of these herbal substances or supplements, talk to your doctor before you take them.
Fruits and vegetables are famous healthy foods, but there are three fruits in particular that can be especially beneficial for diabetes patients: apples, grapefruits and jambul fruits.
Apple. Arguably the most popular fruit, apples are sub-acid foods that have a rich perctin content and have proven rather beneficial to diabetes patients. Pectin, one of the most potent components in apples, can be found in the rind and in the pulp, and acts as a detoxifier of the body by supplying an inordinate amount of galacrturonic acid. This helps remove harmful waste from the bloodstream and can lower a diabetic's insulin requirements by up to or even more than 35%.
Grapefruit is significantly less popular than the apple, but it is no less beneficial for diabetes patients. A citrus fruit with a unique favor, the grapefruit is wonderful for overall nutrition, and many physicians believe that the intake of grapefruit from an early age might significantly decrease the amount of diabetes cases in the world.
Jambul fruit is indigenous to India and, like apples and grapefruit, contains certain anti-diabetes properties. The Jambul's primary effect is on the pancreas, as it controls the conversion of starch into sugar and moderates blood glucose levels. Many diabetes patients crush the seeds of the Jambul into a glass of water in order to reduce the amount of sugar in urine, while also allaying thirst.
Nature has gifted us with the most powerful cures for just about any disease. Everyday, medical research is pushing the frontier of nature's healing power by exploring her medicine in the form of various plants, trees, herbs, animals and, believe it or not, insects! She provides us with the blueprints for compounds that make up more than half of the known drugs that form the core western medicine. She has given us cures for diseases that, since the dawn of man, should have proven fatal.
Many successful medicinal practices and cures, lost to old civilizations, are now being rediscovered.
You should 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. Select brands 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.
Source: Sources: WedMD, Alternative Diabetes, Ray Sahelian, M.D., MedicineNet, Asian Herbal Medicine