Before people develop full-blown diabetes, they may have a condition the medical community calls “pre-diabetes.” When you have pre-diabetes, it means that your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. It is estimated that there are as many as 54 million pre-diabetic people in the U.S. Already, in the pre-diabetic state, you could suffer some long-term damage to your heart and circulatory system. But the good news is, if you take action, you could delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes from ever happening.
A healthy diet and exercise are key. But here’s another alternative remedy you might not know about: “Terminalia arjuna.”z This Ayurvedic herb has been used medicinally for thousands of years. In a recent clinical trial, researchers at the Bengal Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in India discovered that arjuna demonstrates “remarkable hyperglycemic activity.”
This health news comes via an animal study. The researchers set out to evaluate the anti-hyperglycemic and antioxidant role of arjuna leaf extract in rats. After hyperglycemia was induced in the rats, they were given either the arjuna extract or “Glibenclamide,” a popular anti-diabetic drug.
The researchers found that arjuna extract reduced and normalized blood glucose levels much more effectively compared to Glibenclamide. They also noted that arjuna extract significantly decreased cell damage caused by free radicals. They concluded that arjuna leaf demonstrated remarkable anti-hyperglycemic activity. The researchers speculated that the anti-hyperglycemic action is likely due to arjuna’s antioxidant content.
Take this health advice: find out if you have pre-diabetes by taking two different tests at your doctor’s office. One test is called the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG, for short). The FPG test measures your blood glucose levels. If they show up as abnormal, you have impaired fasting glucose (IFG). The second test, the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), can tell you whether you have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). If you are pre-diabetic, arjuna could help to get your blood sugar normalized.
One other important note about arjuna: it is also one of the most important heart herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. Arjuna is thought to reduce heart-damaging inflammation and mucous. It has been used to treat angina pectoris, hypercholesterolemia, cardiac artery disease, and hypertension. The bark extract contains acids (arjunic acid, terminic acid), glycosides (arjunetin arjunosides I-IV), antioxidants (flavones, tannins, oligomeric, proanthocyanidins), and minerals.