Diabetes - An Ayurvedic Approach

Diabetes - An Ayurvedic Approach

Diabetes - An Ayurvedic Approach

Ayurveda treats any illness or condition by considering the source. Diabetes is no different. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to utilize glucose properly resulting in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and sugar in urine. This happens due to deficiency of insulin in the pancreas or insulin resistance. According to Ayurveda there are 20 forms of Diabetes (Prameha): 4 are due to Vata, 6 result from Pitta, and 10 are caused by Kapha. But Diabetes (Prameha) is mainly a kapha doshaja disease. There are four ways in which Ayurveda can help with diabetes:

Ayurveda for Diabetes: Detoxification

Diabetes can cause obesity or emaciation depending on the constitution of the individual. Diabetes sufferers who are not too debilitated may benefit from a detoxification process of the body. Toxins can interfere with digestion and may build up in the body contributing to the imbalances that create diabetes. Any detox practices or herbal remedies that assist with the removal of toxins can be beneficial.

Ayurveda offers a comprehensive detoxification program called panchakarma, which can be expensive. An alternative is to seek out Ayurveda practitioners who can offer a customized detox plan using herbal and other strategies for in-home detoxification.

Ayurveda for Diabetes: Diet

The diabetic food plan in Ayurveda is a simplified diet with a goal of minimizing sugar creation in the body to manage blood glucose levels. Depending on the individual's constitution the diet will consist of barley, light and bitter vegetables, ghee, herbs and any other suitable foods. Honey is balancing for Kapha and may help some individuals.

A person diagnosed with diabetes would be wise to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner to make sure they eat foods appropriate for their constitution and the type of diabetes they have since there are 24 different causes of diabetes.

Eating a kapha balancing diet when you have a predominantly vata constitution may not be your best course of action. Ayurveda customizes the diet and herbal plan according to each persons constitution and current imbalances, which is one of the reasons it is so effective.

Ayurveda for Diabetes: Herbal Remedies

Ayurveda also prescribes use of certain herbs which can help in curing diabetes. Herbal preparations attracted attention of various scholars in the management of metabolic syndrome. Below are some ayurvedic herbs that are commonly used to relieve diabetes symptoms.

Turmeric: Turmeric powder is an effective anti-allergic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and one of the best natural anti-diabetic. It helps in purifying the blood, channel opener, helps in reducing the insulin resistance and thus making the way for glucose into the cells. One can take turmeric with aloe vera for good results.

Saptrangi: This is a wonderful remedy for diabetes. It is a tree whose bark is effective in controlling diabetes. It is extensively studied in the western herbal schools, but in Ayurveda it is being used since ages. The herb have been found to have diabetes controlling properties.

Vizaysaar: This is a big tree whose bark is very useful for diabetes. The bark of the tree is made into a wooden glass and the glass is termed as "The miracle cure for diabetes". Some water is kept in the wooden glass overnight and is consumed early morning by diabetes patients. The color of the water changes to brown and glass is changed after around 1 month when the water color does not change. Diabetes support contains extract of bark of this miracle tree.

Gurmar: In hindi Gurmaar means "The sugar destroyer". It is a twine that is known since ages in Ayurveda for its sugar controlling properties. Recent studies show that it contains Gymnemic acid molecules responsible for its anti-diabetic action. They bind with glucose molecules in the intestines and inhibit their entry into the blood stream. Thus it is effective in controlling sugar levels.

Bilva: This tree has three leaves together on its branches. Any tree who has combination of three leaves is considered in Ayurveda as divine and seat of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar. The fruit of this tree is useful in irritable bowel syndrome. The leaves of Bilva are excellent for diabetes. The leaves are dried, made into a powder and mixed with other herbs for better results.

Karela: The juice of this vegetable is a miracle in treating and preventing diabetes and its complications. 30 ml of Karela juice every morning on an empty stomach is recommended for best results. It can be taken along with Amla juice for better results.

Fenugreek: A hot and pungent herb that helps reduce excess kapha. Fenugreek has excellent properties to bring sugar levels as well as cholesterol levels under control. The fenugreek seed powder of is used to lower down sugar levels.

Neem: Neem has traditionally been used in Ayurveda to purify the blood and support the immune system. It helps to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

Tulsi: People in India worship this plant as it has tremendous medicinal properties. Regular use of tulsi leaves controls the blood sugar levels very effectively. It is also useful in many types of cancers, viral and bacterial infections, sore throat, cough and cold etc.

Amla: Amla is world's richest natural source of vitamin C and is nature's super anti-oxidant. One amla contains 30 times more vitamin C than an orange. It prevents ageing and therefore delays the onset of complications of diabetes.

Guggulu: Guggulu has been traditionally used in Ayurveda to gently detoxify the body and support proper nutrition by stimulating the body's metabolism to improve digestion and eliminate waste products. It helps to remove excess sugar and fat from the body through its scraping actions.

Ayurveda for Diabetes: Lifestyle Changes

Exercise and yoga forms the most effective ayurvedic treatment for diabetes. Kapha pacifying yoga exercises are good. One very useful yoga position is Mayurasana (peacock position). Other positions are sun salutation, locust position, leg lifts and chest to knee positions. Alternate nostril breathing is a good Pranayama for Diabetes.

To improve the health of a diabetic patient, exercise, oil massage, regular night time sleep is recommended. Avoid sleeping during the day. If stress is an important issue, then the need for daily meditation may be indicated.

It is always recommended that you consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before starting any detoxification process or taking Ayurvedic herbs for diabetes. The treatment protocol may change based on a person's body constitution and disease.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad