diabetes treatment home remedies
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Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience

In our Indian diets, we use several spices, herbs, and roots every day. They are an indispensable part of a quintessential Indian meal. Recent research has identified some of those spices as showing promising results for their use in diabetes. Read on to find out what they are and how to best use them.

Turmeric (Haldi)

Why it is good:

Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids. A trial on overweight persons with diabetes found that curcuminoids help to lower blood glucose levels.(1) Curcumin is also believed to help prevent complications in people with diabetes. (2)

How to have:

The trial mentioned above found that taking 300 mg of purified curcuminoids (the main yellow pigments found in turmeric) had the beneficial effect. Use the curcuminoid extracts that are commercially available, or prepare a powder from dried turmeric stems, and have half a teaspoon of this in a glass of warm milk every day. If you have access to the fresh turmeric stems, wash and peel a ¼ inch piece, chop finely and mix into curry pastes and soups.

Points to keep in mind:

Some people may experience little nausea, upset stomach or diarrhoea with turmeric. Don’t take turmeric if you have gallbladder disease, kidney stones or anaemia.

Basil (Tulsi)

Why it is good:

A 2012 study observed the effects of basil on persons with type 2 diabetes for 90 days. The study found that the group that received basil along with the anti-diabetic drug Glibenclamide showed a greater drop in fasting, post-prandial and HbA1c levels as compared to the group that received only Glibenclamide.(3)

How to have:

Chew on 3-4 fresh basil leaves every day or drink one tablespoon of tulsi juice prepared by grinding the leaves with a little water. Another option is to prepare tulsi tea by steeping four leaves of tulsi in half a glass of hot water for a few minutes.

Points to keep in mind:

Don’t use leaves from the plant that you may grow in your house. The medicinal plant is of a different variety. Also, basil may cause slowing of blood clotting, so avoid using it if you have a bleeding disorder.

Here are some more home remedies such as methi (fenugreek), dalchini (cinnamon), karela (bitter gourd) and jamun (Indian blackberry) that can also help in controlling diabetes.

Ginger (Adrak)

Why it is good:

Several studies have found that consuming ginger powder for 8 to 12 weeks helps to reduce fasting blood glucose and HbA1c levels, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation in persons with type 2 diabetes. (4, 5, 6)

How to have:

The studies mentioned found beneficial effects with doses ranging from 1.5 to 3 grams of ginger powder. Dried ginger powder is commercially available, or you can powder the dried stems at home, and add into your tea, soups, stir-fry vegetables and chutneys. If you like your ginger fresh, wash, chop finely and use. Drink a glass of warm ginger tea prepared by steeping the fresh stem or dried powder in hot water for a few minutes and straining it before drinking.

Points to keep in mind:

Make sure you don’t take more than 4 grams of ginger per day to avoid acidity, upset stomach and diarrhoea. Ginger may reduce blood pressure and also cause thinning of blood, so use with caution if you’re on antihypertensives or have a bleeding disorder.


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 Black seed (Kalajeera/Kalonji)

Why it is good:

Several trials have been conducted using black seed in persons with type 2 diabetes. About half of the trials showed that taking this spice caused fasting blood glucose and HbA1c levels to decrease significantly. (7) Another trial found that supplementing oral anti-diabetic drugs with black seed helped to reduce fasting blood glucose levels and also lowered insulin resistance in persons with type 2 diabetics. (8) Yet another study found that people with diabetes who were given 2 grams of black seed per day showed a marked decrease in their total cholesterol, triglyceride and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and a rise in the levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). This implies that black seed could help protect people with diabetes from developing heart-related complications. (9)

How to have:

Both the seeds and oil are commercially available. The oil is a more concentrated product and lesser quantity may suffice – add 1 teaspoon of the oil into your daily cup of coffee or tea, or into a cup of yoghurt. Dry roast the seeds and mix into stir-fried vegetables or salads. Or powder the roasted seeds, and add a pinch of it to gravies.

Points to keep in mind:

Black seed may cause blood clotting to slow; avoid use if you have some bleeding disorder. It may also cause a drop in blood pressure and increase sleep. Remember that it has a strong flavour and may change the taste.

What we’ve presented in this article is based on what the research says. We’d love to hear about your experiences with these spices and the effects you noticed, so do write in with your stories!

References

  1. L.X. Na, H.Z. Pan, X.L. Zhou, D.J. Sun, M.Meng, X.X. Li et al. Curcuminoids exert glucose-lowering effect in type 2 diabetes by decreasing serum free fatty acids: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Sep;57(9):1569-77. Doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201200131. Epub 2012 Aug 29.
  2. D. Zhang, M. Fu, S-H Gao, J-L Liu. Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013, Nov; 2013: 636053. Doi:  10.1155/2013/636053
  3. G. Somasundaram, K. Manimekalai, K.J. Salwe, J. Pandiamunian. Evaluation Of The Antidiabetic Effect Of Ocimum Sanctum In Type 2 Diabetic Patients. International Journal of Life Science and Pharma Research. Jul-Sept 2012; 2(3); P 75-81 Available online at http://www.ijlpr.com/admin/php/uploads/95_pdf.pdf
  4. T. Arabou, N. Aryaeian, M. Valizadeh, F. Sharifi, A. Hosseini, M. Djalali. The effect of ginger consumption on glycemic status, lipid profile and some inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014 Jun; 65(4): 515-20. Doi: 10.3109/09637486.2014.880671. Epub 2014 Feb 4.
  5. N. Khandouzi, F. Shidfar, A. Rajab, T. Rahideh, P. Hosseini, M.M. Taheri. The effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin a1c, apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein a-I and malondialdehyde in type 2 diabetic patients. Iran J Pharm Res. 2015 Winter; 14(1):131-40. Available online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25561919
  6. F. Shidfar, A. Rajab, T. Rahideh, N. Khandouzi, S. Hosseini, S. Shidfar. The effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on glycemic markers in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Complement Integr Med. 2015 Jun; 12(2):165-70. Doi: 10.1515/jcim-2014-0021.
  7. A. Mohtashami, M.H. Entezari. Effects of Nigella sativa supplementation on blood parameters and anthropometric indices in adults: A systematic review on clinical trials. J Res Med Sci. 2016 Jan 28; 21:3. eCollection 2016. Available online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27904549
  8. H. Kaatabi, A.O. Bamosa, A. Badar, A. Al-Elq, A. Hozaifa, F. Lebda et al. Nigella sativa improves glycemic control and ameliorates oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: placebo controlled participant blinded clinical trial.  PLoS One. 2015 Feb 23;10(2): e0113486. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113486. eCollection 2015.
  9. H. Kaatabi, A.O. Bamosa, F. Lebda, A. Al-Elq, A. Al-Sultan. Favorable impact of Nigella sativa seeds on lipid profile in type 2 diabetic patients. J Family Community Med. 2012 Sep;19(3):155-61. doi: 10.4103/2230-8229.102311.

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Disclaimer: The information we share is verified by experts and scientifically validated. However, it is not a replacement for a doctor’s advice. Please always check with your doctor before trying anything suggested on this website.