Often christened as “incurable” due to its chronic nature, diabetes is a condition which may be difficult to cure but can certainly can be prevented or reversed. Allopathy offers only one route and that is to control the blood sugar levels through insulin injections or pumps. However, alternative therapies like Yoga, Ayurveda, Homeopathy etc. are increasingly becoming popular amongst the masses in the treatment of diabetes.
Old is gold: Back to mother nature
The ancient roots of Ayurveda are being explored for the treatment of diabetes. Ayurveda defines diabetes as “Madhumeha” (Madhu means honey and Meha means urine). Dr. Gaurang Joshi, an international Ayurveda consultant adds, “Unlike modern science that divides diabetes into (only) two categories, Ayurveda further divides diabetes into 20 sub-divisions. These sub-divisions are based on doshas with 4 divisions due to Vata, 6 due to Pitta and 10 rooted in Kapha dosha.”
Ayurveda says that in order to treat diabetes, one needs to rejuvenate the body not only to balance the blood sugar levels but also to foster a positive change in one’s life. As against modern medicine, ayurvedic medicines work on the root cause of the disease.
Exploring panchakarma: The Five Avengers of ayurveda
‘Pancha’ means five and ‘karma’ means actions. In the literal sense, Panchakarma refers to five actions/ procedures aimed to cleanse intensively and create balance in the body, mind and soul.
Dr. Joshi explains, “Panchakarma is Ayurveda’s primary purification and detoxification treatment and consists “five therapies”. These 5 therapeutic treatments eliminate toxins from the body and are: Vamana, Virechana, Nasya, Basti and Raktamoskshana. The series of these five therapies help remove deep rooted stress and illness-causing toxins from the body while balancing the doshas (energies that govern all biological functions)”.
How can panchakarma help in the treatment of diabetes?
Diabetes can sometimes manifest as an autoimmune condition. Sometimes our immune system fails to recognize self-cells and hence attacks them leading to the development of certain diseases. This is termed as autoimmunity. Many diabetics produce autoantibodies (immune cells against own body cells) against their own pancreatic cells. Panchakarma helps to flush these autoantibodies out of the system thereby cleansing the system internally.
Herbal remedies: As old as Stone Age
The Stone Age marked the onset of the human civilization. Our ancestors were highly dependent on the Mother Nature for almost all of their resources. The use of various plants and herbs for treatment of several ailments can be traced to these times. Ayurveda references to various herbs and roots in the treatment of diabetes such as:
- Aloe Vera
- Bilberry Extract
Dr. Joshi furthers confirms, “Herbal remedies, if taken correctly, can have a profound effect on controlling the sugar levels but should only be used under the care and guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner.” He also shares some easy home remedies to keep diabetes under control. “Incorporating one or two of these remedies into your daily diet plan can help you prevent or at the least manage your blood glucose levels,” he finally adds.
- Mix honey with barley that is soaked overnight in Triphala decoction (available at Ayurveda stores) and have it several times during the day.
- Soak one teaspoon of fenugreek overnight in water and drink it with water or milk in the morning.
- Juice of bitter melon/gourd can test the toughest amongst us. But when taken on an empty stomach it works wonders at balancing our blood sugar level.
On a last note, Dr. Joshi cautions, “One must always keep in mind that certain ayurvedic medications in combination with allopathic prescriptions may cause adverse reactions. Hence, always be honest to both your ayurvedic and allopathic doctors of an ongoing treatment before making a switch”.
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- Nahas R, Moher M. Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Can Fam Physician. 2009 Jun;55(6):591-6. Review. PubMed PMID:19509199; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2694078.
- Birdee, Gurjeet, and Gloria Yeh. (2010). Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Diabetes: A Clinical Review. Clinical Diabetes.28:4,147-155.]
- Covington, Maggie. Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Diabetes. (August 2001). Diabetes Spectrum. 14:3, 154-159.
- Kim S, Shin BC, Lee MS, et al. Red ginseng for type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. [Review].Chin J Integr Med. 2011;17(12):937-44.
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Yoga: The Sweet Treatment For Diabetes
4 Herbal Remedies To Treat Diabetes