For the longest time, India has been named as the ‘Diabetes Capital’ of the world. Given its high prevalence in our surroundings, most people believe that its medication runs a lifetime and that it is highly important to continue its course consistently. Did you also think so? If yes, it’s time for you to think again.
Various studies have now proven that complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are being increasingly used for treating diabetes. And guess what? It has proven to be quite helpful!
“Overall research indicates that most people who use CAM therapies do so in addition to, rather than in place of conventional medical treatment although some do not receive any concurrent conventional medical care. CAM for diabetes have become increasingly popular in the last several years. Alternative therapies with antidiabetic activity have been researched relatively, extensively, particularly in India,” stated a study named- ‘Alternative therapies useful in the management of diabetes: A systematic review’ that was published in the Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences.
Have these been helpful?
Yes! Not so surprisingly, most people who have gone through these medications (herbs or other CAM) believe that the treatments have been quite efficacious.
“One-third of diabetic patients are taking alternative medications that they consider efficacious but this is no more than in the control group. The money spent on alternative and non-prescription supplements nearly equals that spent on prescription medications,” said another study named, ‘Use of alternative medicines in diabetes mellitus.’
So what are the most commonly used CAM to treat diabetes?
- Acupuncture: Umpteen number of studies have proven that acupuncture is quite helpful for people with diabetes as it aids in improving blood sugar levels, relieving the symptoms of and complications posed by the disease, improving blood glucose management in your body and helping with weight loss. It is also known to improve the pancreas islet function, which is responsible for insulin production in one’s body.
- Herbs: The usage of natural herbs and spices in order to cure or treat ailments has been ever so popular in India. “Garlic, echinacea, herbal mixtures, glucosamine were the most commonly used alternative medications. Chromium was used only by diabetic subjects and then only rarely,” stated one study. While another study states, “As per ancient literature (in India), more than 800 plants are reported to have antidiabetic properties. Ethanopharmacological surveys indicate that more than 1200 plants are used in traditional medicine for their allied hypoglycemic activity. Indian Materia Medica has mentioned numerous dravyas have been reported effective in Madhumeha.”
- Yoga: Yoga has been widely popular for the treatment of diabetes. This is mainly because it helps with the control of glycemic activity in the body. Consistent yoga helps in balancing the endocrine system and thereby aids in controlling the blood sugar level in your body. It massages and tones the abdominal organs and harmonizes the body, mind, and breath. Yoga also stimulates your circulatory as well as nervous system.
Balasana, Viparita Karani and Vajrasana are said to be very effective too.
- Pandey, A., Tripathi, P., Pandey, R., Srivatava, R., & Goswami, S. (2011). Alternative therapies useful in the management of diabetes: A systematic review. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 3(4), 504–512. doi:10.4103/0975-7406.90103
- 1: Ryan EA, Pick ME , Marceau C. Use of alternative medicines in diabetes mellitus. Diabet Med. 2001 Mar; 18 (3) : 242-5. PubMed PMID: 11318847