Here are three plants you might not know about when it comes to controlling glucose levels in your body: sweet potato, fenugreek, and milk thistle.
You’re probably quite familiar with sweet potatoes, of course. These large tubers are sweet and tasty and used in all kinds of dishes. However, did you know that the young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens? As for milk thistle, you’ve likely heard about in its capacity as a liver tonic.
But milk thistle contains an antioxidant called “silibinin” that can supposedly protect the liver against poisons. And fenugreek, the seeds of which are a rich source of bioactive compounds, is used in many different cultures around the world to treat various health complaints.
For example, South Asians routinely swallow raw fenugreek seeds early in the morning with warm water before brushing their teeth, because they are thought to have a therapeutic and healing effect on joint pain.
Now, what about the anti-diabetic effects of these three plant remedies? Scientists at the Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine in Iran just completed a large review of clinical trials. They searched a number of major databases for trials citing any Iranian medicinal plants used for glucose control in type 2 diabetics. The researchers went all the way back to 1966 and included trials up to June 2010.
Among all of the articles identified in the initial database search, 23 trials were found examining herbs cited as potential therapies for type 2 diabetes mellitus. The key outcomes for anti-diabetic effect were changes in blood glucose, as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity or resistance.
Among the studies, the researchers found that “Ipomoea batatas” (sweet potato), “Silybum marianum” (milk thistle) and “Trigonella foenum graecum” (fenugreek) showed the best evidence for glycemic control.
Sweet potato, milk thistle, and fenugreek are all fairly easy to find — but make sure you get your doctor’s advice before using these herbs if you’re diagnosed as type-2 diabetic.
Don’t forget there are a number of other things you can do besides investigating these three natural diabetic cures. Exercise, holistic nutrition and other complementary and alternative medicine therapies can also help to stabilize your blood sugar.
For more info on natural cures for diabetes, read the article How to Cut Your Diabetes Risk by 80%.