Diabetes is one of the oldest known diseases. An Egyptian manuscript mentions the phrase “the passing of too much urine” to describe the prevalence of the disease then, while in India, the great physician Sushruta, identified the disease and classified it as Medhumeha. The ancient Indians tested for diabetes by observing whether ants were attracted to a person’s urine, and called the ailment “sweet urine disease”.
Of the estimated 346 million people worldwide that suffer from Diabetes, around 51 million are in India alone! According to a WHO report, an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of high blood sugar in 2004.
Many studies have shown how the use of certain plants has helped in lowering blood sugar levels and to some extent even curtailing it completely. This week we list down a few common and easily available plants that have proved to be very efficient in curbing this disease.
Fenugreek or Methi
Fenugreek is used both as a herb (the leaves) and as a spice (the seed). The leaves and sprouts are also eaten as vegetables. The plant is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop and is a common ingredient in many curries.
Fenugreek lowers resistance to insulin and control blood glucose levels by increasing the number of insulin receptors in red blood cells. This will increase glucose utilization in peripheral tissues, thereby reducing the levels of glucose in the blood. However Fenugreek should not be used by pregnant or lactating women.
Sprinkle some seeds in the soil and cover them with soil till they are around a centimetre deep. You will notice the first sprouts in around a week – 10 days and the plant will be ready to use in a month’s time.
Aloe vera is often regarded as a ‘healing herb’. Dried aloe vera sap and gel (inner leaf) is used traditionally to treat diabetes because it is believed to help reduce levels of fasting blood glucose. Aloe vera is a succulent, and as such, stores a large quantity of water within its leaves and root system. During the winter months, the plant will become somewhat dormant, and require very little moisture. During this period watering should be minimal. Allow the soil to become completely dry before giving the plant a cup or two of water.
Aloe vera is a sun loving plant and needs at least a sq. ft to grow to its optimum height and spread. It is strongly advised to avoid the oral consumption of non-decolorized whole leaf extract of aloe vera as it has shown to be slightly toxic.
Garlic is regarded as the best herb to lower blood sugar as well as repair cells of the pancreas and stimulate it to produce insulin. Garlic can significantly lower blood sugar as its extract reduces blood sugar levels during oral and intravenous glucose tolerance.
To grow garlic, carefully break the cloves from the bulbs, a process also known as cracking, and plant around 16 of them in a sq. ft. They require moderate amounts of water, but adequate sunshine. Your garlic should be ready to harvest in around 2 months and love the company of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, broccoli and carrots. Avoid planting them around beans, peas and parsley.
Fiery Costus or Spiral Flag is an herbaceous plant that is characterized by large fleshy looking leaves and is propagated by stem cutting. These plants grow very quickly and require moderate amounts of sun light. They grow to a height of 2 ft and are normally dried and powdered before they are consumed.
The author strongly recommends consulting an ayurvedic doctor on the correct quantities and duration of consumption of each of these plants or their various parts for optimum results.
Author: Vaibhav Dugar
Me, I am a Green Warrior and yes you are either with me or against me! On paper I’m a telecommunication engineer but professionally, a farmer. Work takes me setting many-a-farms, tilling many-a-lands and playing with soil which I thoroughly enjoy. I love playing football (avidly), going cycling, watching Formula 1 and writing!
If you need company to watch Formula 1, pit stop at Vaibhav.Dugar [at] EkTitli.org
To receive updates in your inbox, click here
If you wish to have your work published at Ek Titli, please click here for more details.