Ancient scholars of Ayurveda knew Diabetes Mellitus some
3,000 years ago. The association of frequent urination with a sweet tasting
substance in the urine was first reported in Charaka samhita, the ancient
Allopathic drugs like insulin, sulphonylureas, biguanides
have definitely helped in controlling the blood sugar levels and improving
the quality of life but none of them unequivocally successful in maintaining
normal glucose levels and avoiding late stage complications of diabetes.
About 15 to 20 per cent of patients with newly diagnosed non-insulin
dependent diabetes mellitus have little or no response to sulphonylureas and
with each year of treatment, about 3-5 per cent of the patients, who have
achieved better acceptable glycaemic control, lose their responsiveness.
Biguanides therapy is associated with Iactic blood disorders, water
retention, and several others.
In spite of all the advances in therapeutics, diabetes
still remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the world. As per
the available data, there are at least 20 million diabetics in India.
Ayurveda recognises this disease right from the Vedic
period with the name prameha. The word prameha denotes prabhuta mootrata
(excessive urination) and aavila mootrata (turbid urine) and madhumeha means
the flow of madhu (sugar) from the body. Depending on the physical
constitution or body type (prakriti), or the health status of an individual,
ayurvedic classics advocate two different types of therapy schedules for
diabetics. They are:
- Apatarpana (de-nourishment) and Samshodhana (cleansing):
This treatment is prescribed if you are obese and heavily built. In this,
along with anti-diabetic drugs, maximum stress is given on de-nourishment of
fats and elimination of endotoxins by way of various exercises, fasting and
cleansing manoeuvres known as panchakarma (five fold therapies viz. emesis,
purgation, enema, blood letting and errhines).
- Santarpana (replenishment) and Brumhana (body bulk
promotion): This is prescribed if you are chronically ill, with low immunity
and underweight due to the draining of essential nutrients. This therapy
helps in providing the easily acceptable nutrients and micronutrients to
rebuild body tissues and help strengthen the defence mechanism without
increasing circulating blood sugar, fats and other metabolites. This
prevents further damage and ensures enhanced healing and repair.
Anti Diabetic Herbs and
There are foods and herbs, which have a specific role in
the treatment of diabetes. Some of them are:
- Fenugreek seeds: (methi): The medicinal qualities or
fenugreek seeds are described in ayurvedic literature. In recent studies, it
has been reported that the decoction of fenugreek seeds suppressed the
urinary excretion of sugar and relieved symptoms of diabetes. It contains trigonelline, and an alkaloid known to reduce blood sugar levels. You can
take the seeds after soaking them in water overnight or in powdered form
along water or buttermilk 15 minutes before the meal. If you do not like its
bitter taste, you can include the seed powder in food preparations such as
chapati, rice, dal, or vegetables. The intake depends upon the severity of
diabetes. Usually the daily dosage varies from 25 grams to 50 grams in two
- Bitter gourd: (karela): This has a long history as food
and medicine. The fruit and seeds of this plant contain most active blood
sugar-lowering components. This contains an active principle called charantin, which is sometimes called plant insulin, as it closely resembles
insulin from cows. (Bovine insulin). For better therapeutic benefits,
extract juice from four to five karelas every morning and take on an empty
stomach. You can take the seed powder either directly or in the form of a
decoction. You can even prepare a curry. However, remember not to fry in oil
or add sugar to this vegetable to counteract bitter taste; otherwise, the
therapeutic benefits may be lost.
- Jambul fruit: (Jamun): The jambul fruit is regarded as a
specific medicine in traditional ayurvedic medicine because of its specific
action on the pancreas. The fruit, the seeds, and the whole fruit juice are
all useful in the treatment of diabetes. The seeds contain jamboline, which
controls the excessive conversion of starch to sugar. For internal usage,
dry the seeds, powder them, and take 3 grams, twice daily with water or
- Honey: Since honey consists of velulose, it is not harmful
in diabetes. Honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial activity due to
enzymatically-liberated hydrogen peroxide. Some diabetics feel that they
only need to stop taking sugar and honey to control diabetes. However, it is
best for patients to know the daily ratio of sugar or honey. This ratio
should not be taken at one time, but should be reasonably distributed
throughout the day. One teaspoonful of honey provides 20 kcal of energy. If
you can control other forms of food that are equivalent to 20 kcal of
energy, you are allowed to take one teaspoonful of honey per day. After a
mixed meal, the stomach empties slowly. Therefore, honey eaten after a meal,
will not raise blood sugar as much as when taken on an empty stomach.
- Bael: Though this plant is famous for its fruit, here we
are interested in its leaves. They are scientifically proven to be antidiabetic. Drink fresh juice of leaves daily along with pinch of black
pepper. This will take care of your excess body sugar.
- Onion: Researches suggest onion’s medicinal value with
reference to diabetes. While studying the correlation between Diphenylamine
content of the ether extract of onion and its hypoglycemic activity,
researchers have proved its antidiabetic nature. Bhaavaprakasa, an Ayurvedic
classic, quotes its rasaayana property apart from the aphrodisiac nature and
strength promoting property.
- Garlic: The Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, few
years ago published the antidiabetic effects of S-Ally Cysteine Sulphoxide (allicin)
isolated from garlic. At the doses of 200 mg/kg body weight it has decreased
Serua lipids, blood glucose and activated serus enzymes. Vaagbhata, the
ancient scholar of ayurveda, mentioned garlic as the best drug in treating
vaata type of disorders. It is interesting to note that while classifying 20
types of pramehas, ayurvedic classics have included diabetes under Vaataja
pramehas. The Journal of Research in Medicine published another interesting
finding about garlic. This has shown significant anti-coagulant and
fibrinolytic activities by virtue of increasing whole blood coagulation
time, prothrobin time, and fibrinolytic activity. In addition, it also
possesses significant cholesterol decreasing properties. It is a well-known
fact that major deaths in diabetes occur due to vascular and neurological
complications. Eat 2-4 cloves of raw garlic everyday and you can keep the
risks at bay. If it is too strong for you to take, there are garlic pills
with or without odour.
- Aloe: The classic remedy for hyperglycemia is the
gelatinous juice from the succulent Aloe-vera plant. This plant is very easy
to grow. It does not need direct sunlight or much water. The aloe is
inexpensive and can usually be found where plants are sold. To use it as
medicine, cut off the top of one of the lower leaves. Either peel the skin
off the leaf to get the gel or squeeze out the gel. Take one teaspoonful of
this pulp and add to a cup of warm water. Optionally, you can also add one
pinch of turmeric to the solution. Drink this regularly. In a study
conducted on normal and alloxan induced diabetic mice, results were
confirmed about the hypoglycemic action of aloe-vera. It is a well-known
liver tonic and regular use tones up the hepato biliary system, and
regulates sugar and fat.
- Custard apple leaves: A recent study reveals that 2-5
newly emerged leaves with 75 mg of long pepper if taken for 3-6 weeks,
lowers blood sugar levels effectively.
- Neem leaves: Neem is an age-old remedy and does not
require a trip to stores. It is easily available anywhere. Leaves made to
juice or paste can be taken internally to lower blood sugar.
- Cabbage: A recent study reveals the anti-diabetic effects
of cabbage in streptozolo diabetes in rats. The fascinating point is that
this is as effective as insulin. As an afternoon snack, eat a cup of cooked
cabbage. It is a low calorie, anti-cancer, fibre-filled food that lowers
your excess sugar naturally.
- Turmeric as remedy: Ayurveda recommends turmeric as an
exclusive remedy for diabetes. It is more effective if taken with an equal
amount of amla powder. ‘The Indian journal Pharmacology’ concludes in a
study that the fine powder of turmeric has blood sugar lowering effects.
Guidelines & Ayurvedic
|Prepare decoction by adding Terminalia chebula (harad),
Cyperus rotundus (naagarmotha), and Symplocos recemosa (pathaanilodhra) bark
in boiling water and take internally, 40 ml twice daily. |
|You can also prepare decoction by boiling rakta chandan
bark, Terminalia arjuna bark (kakubha), Cedrus deodara bark (devdaar) and
Saussurea lappa roots (kooth), and take 40 ml twice daily. |
|Fresh juice of the whole plant of Tinospora cordifolia (giloy),
along with honey may also be taken. |
|One gram of triphala, shilajit, and lohabhasma mixture
meet the mineral requirements of diabetics. |
|Cold infusion of turmeric, triphala, and Berberis aristata
(daaru haldi) in the daily dose of 30 ml is a proven remedy that you can
|You can take powder of dried neem leaves added with
turmeric, bitter gourd, and Tinospora cordifolia (giloy), two to three grams
twice a day. |
|During recent years, certain individual herbs are screened
extensively for their blood sugar lowering effect. They are: leaves of
Gymnema sylvestre (gudmar), bark of Pterocarpus, Ficus bengalensis (vat),
leaves of Cinnamon tamale (tej patta), Foeniculum vulgare (methi) and fruits
of Memordica charantia (karela). You can use these herbs alone or in
combination, 3 to 5 grams twice daily with water or buttermilk before food.
|The herbo-mineral preparations like Shilajatvaadi vati,
Vasant kusumakar rasa, Gokshuraadi guggulu can be taken after consulting a
As we all are genetically different with
different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many
different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually
formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a
substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic
treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always
consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.
Dr. Ch. Murali
Manohar, M.D. (Ayurveda)
Directorate of Women Development,
Main Road (Sarathi Studio Road),
Hyderabad - 500073.,
+91 (040) 23742146; Mobile: 09246575510
a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
a.m. to 1.30 p.m.