Diabetes Melitus: Herbs and Supplements

Diabetes Melitus: Herbs and Supplements

Diabetes Melitus

People with diabetes are unable to produce enough of the hormone insulin which is a compound that regulates the glucose level in the blood, the failure in insulin production in diabetic’s leads to a high blood sugar -glucose level in the body. This may not sound like much but an excess sugar or glucose content has serious complications and over time, such high levels of glucose in the blood can lead to the appearance of heart disease or it at least increases the risks, and nerve damage, it heightens the possibility of kidney disease, there could be a loss of vision, and high blood sugar brings many other complications in its stride including wounds that do not heal well and quickly enough. Diabetes is of two distinct types. The rare diabetes insipidus, or more commonly insulin-dependent diabetes or type 1 diabetes, which can develop at any age but usually develops before the age of 30. The second type of diabetes is called as diabetes mellitus, or more commonly non-insulin-dependent diabetes or type 2 diabetes; this form of the disorder accounts for 90% of diabetic cases; and it makes its appearance usually in middle age.

When the pancreas ceases its function of insulin production due to any reason, type 1 diabetes is said to have occurred, as insulin is necessary for glucose regulation in the blood. While the causes of this abrupt halt in the production of insulin is uncertain, it is believed by many scientists and researchers that an autoimmune disorder, where the body attacks its own pancreatic cells could be responsible, while others suggest the involvement of a virus. Thus those individuals who have unfortunately contracted diabetes type 1, a lifelong insulin dependency from an external source is necessitated, therefore such people are dependant on insulin throughout their lives. On the other hand, diabetes mellitus or the more common type 2 diabetes develops from insulin resistance in the body. Pancreatic function is normal, and insulin is produced in sufficient quantities, but for some reason the cells in the body cannot use the insulin anymore. The presence or absence of a lot of body fat or obesity in people plays an important role in most cases of type 2 diabetes. Indeed obesity is one of the risk factors for contracting this form of diabetes. In the end, both these types of diabetes can arise in anybody due to genetic factors.


These supplements that are being recommended can be used in conjunction with the prescription drugs which may be used for the treatment of the disease, both type 1 and type 2, diabetics can take advantage of these supplements. There could be a need to alter dosages for insulin or the hypoglycemic medications used in type 2 diabetes treatments, when these supplements are used, the changes in dosages or the application of changed doses must be done under the supervision of a qualified medical professional.

Diabetic nerve damage may be prevented by the B vitamins, which also help in the production of enzymes that are necessary in the derivation of energy from glucose. Lowering the blood glucose levels is one of the properties of the mineral chromium; concurrently it is effective in reducing cholesterol levels in diabetics. Blood sugar levels can often be controlled when using the herb gymnema sylvestre, which is an herb from India, the need for insulin and other hypoglycemic medication is not felt and reduced when this herb is used as a supplement.

The painful symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are alleviated by the intake of essential fatty acids, these also protect against nerve damage that often sets in on diabetics. The use of fish oils, as supplements, increases the levels of "good" HDL cholesterol; this may significantly reduce the risk and potential occurrence of heart disease. Damage to the nerves, to the eyes and to the heart is prevented through the use of antioxidant compounds in supplements. The excess buildup of plague may be blocked or prevented by vitamin E. Glucose metabolism in the body is improved by the alpha-lipoic acid . A deficiency in the mineral zinc characterizes many diabetics, this mineral helps the body utilize its insulin, and it also contributes to faster healing of wounds and other injuries, which has slowed down, because of the high levels of sugar in the blood. The mineral copper can be added in the supplement if zinc is to be used as a long term supplement. The occurrence of diabetic eye damage may be prevented by the herb bilberry and release of insulin is improved in the body by taurine, which can also prevent the abnormal clotting of blood, which is a contributor in cardiac problems.


Bilberry berry and leaf extract contains blood sugar lowering compounds (glucoquinones) and chromium and is rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoid antioxidants, contributing to better blood sugar control in diabetes, better vision, and improved circulation. Research studies indicate that a compound in bilberries, anthocyanosides, appear to promote blood vessel strength which could have protective properties against forms of retinal damage in people with diabetes. Bilberry has vasoprotective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and has a particular affinity for the eyes. It has been shown to improve diabetic retinopathy

Cinnamon bark extract: results from a clinical study published in the Diabetes Care journal in 2003 suggest that cassia cinnamon (cinnamon bark) improves blood glucose and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes, and may reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Gymnema leaf extract: may help you fight sugar cravings and lower high blood sugar levels. The plant may also play a beneficial role in diabetes treatment, as it may help stimulate insulin secretion and the regeneration of pancreas islet cells — both of which can help lower blood sugar. Gymnema has much to offer in the treatment of diabetes including
the ability to regenerate β cells and hence improve insulin secretion. Several clinical trials demonstrate the effectiveness of Gymnema in both IDDM and NIDDM. Outcomes included a reduction in blood sugar levels; reduction of insulin or
hypoglycaemic medications; and a reduction in glycosylated haemoglobin and glycosylated plasma protein levels. Serum cholesterol, triglycerides and free fatty acids were also reduced. This last point is significant in the management/prevention of the cardiovascular complications of diabetes. Gymnema also appears to increase the activity of enzymes, which facilitate the use of glucose by insulin-dependent pathways.

Goats rue extract: The blooming Galega officinalis (Goat’s rue; French lilac) is rich in guanidine. The plant’s long-recognized hypoglycemic properties led eventually to the synthesis of the biguanide compound metformin. This herbal extract offers the benefits of more natural approach.

Fenugreek seeds extract: Fenugreek seeds (trigonella foenum graecum) are high in soluble fibre, which helps lower blood sugar by slowing down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates In one study, researchers in India found that adding 100 grams of defatted fenugreek seed powder to the daily diet of patients with insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes significantly reduced their fasting blood glucose levels, improved glucose tolerance and also lowered total cholesterol.This suggests fenugreek may be effective in lowering blood sugar in diabetes.

Syzygium jambol extract has shown beneficial effects in managing diabetic disorders like oxidative stress and hyperglycaemia.

Caution: Although the above extracts are considered safe, these should not be taken together with blood thinning drugs without monitoring blood clotting time and a dose adjustment. In addition, people with diabetes on blood glucose lowering medication should be aware that these drops  may lower blood glucose levels and could increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Therefore, blood sugar levels should be monitored  and adjustment of treatment may be necessary. 

To enable our practitioners to prepare a custom blend for you, please submit this form and one of our naturopath will get back to you.  Herbal extracts may interact with other therapeutic substances and as a general rule are not recommended for use by children, in pregnancy and lactation, and if you are on certain prescription medications.

Disclaimer: The statements provided on this website are based on the recorded traditional use of herbs in general and should not be viewed as therapeutic claims for the herbal teas, extracts, and blends on offer. We provide this information for educational purpose to our customers and fans of herbal and natural medicine because we believe it is important to stay connected to our roots and maintain and spread the human knowledge accumulated over centuries of traditional healing. Our herbal blends are custom made in accordance with your needs and not tested for efficacy or listed on the register of therapeutic goods. We must ensure the safe and appropriate use of our products and may ask for additional information prior to making up your product. Please rest assure that we respect your privacy and that your information will not be shared.

Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.

Clinical evidence references: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27834124/  Gymnema Sylvestre for Diabetes: From Traditional Herb to Future's Therapeutic

Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes Khan A, Khattak K, Sadfar M, Anderson R, Khan M. Diabetes Care. 2003; 26: 3215-3218.

Agricultural Research Magazine; Cinnamon Extracts Boost Insulin Sensitivity ; Anderson, R. et al.; July 2000​

A study of the effect of mother tincture of Syzygium jambolanum on metabolic disorders of Streptozotocin induced diabetic male albino rat -  http://www.ijrh.org/article.asp?issn=0974-7168;year=2014;volume=8;issue=3;spage=129;epage=135;aulast=Maiti 


Fenugreek seeds lower blood sugar - The International quarterly journal of research in Ayurveda, Ayu. 2017 Jan-Jun; 38(1-2): 24–27

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary MedicineVol. 19, Scientific Validation of the Antidiabetic Effects of Syzygium jambolanum DC (Black Plum), a Traditional Medicinal Plant of India

The Journal of Clinical Investigation J Clin Invest. 2001 Oct 15; 108(8): 1105–1107. The blooming of the French lilac.