Type 2 Diabetes affects close to 34.1 million people in the United States (that's 10% of the U.S. population!). Diabetes is a condition that affects the blood sugar and insulin levels in your body. Based on current research, diabetes can be primarily managed through medications and changes in lifestyle habits.
The body of evidence reveals that some herbs may help lower blood sugar, although more studies are needed for all of the natural remedies described below. If you decide to try a natural remedy, do not stop taking the medications your doctor has prescribed. In addition, inform your doctor before using any natural remedy to avoid any potential negative drug interactions. Read on to learn about four natural remedies for treating Type 2 Diabetes.
Natural Remedy: Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is well known as a home remedy for the treatment of minor burns and other diabetic skin conditions. There is growing evidence of the effectiveness of its gel in lowering blood sugar. A recent review suggests that aloe vera may help reduce hemoglobin A1C and blood glucose levels in people with diabetes by promoting glucose utilization and storage. This is due to the presence of several active phytosterol compounds.
Ways to take aloe vera include:
- Adding the juiced pulp to a smoothie or drink
- Taking capsules that have aloe vera as supplements
Natural Remedy: Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a well-known ingredient in baked goods, sweets, and other dishes. It is a fragrant spice derived from the bark of a tree. Its naturally sweet taste makes it popular among people with diabetes.
Results from a 2010 review involving human studies suggest that cinnamon may improve levels of:
- Fats, or lipids in the blood
- Antioxidant status
- Insulin and insulin sensitivity
- Blood pressure
Based on another review published in 2013, researchers found that cinnamon might result in:
- A reduction in triglycerides, or fat, in the blood
- A lower fasting blood glucose level
- An increased insulin sensitivity
- A higher level of "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
Ways of taking cinnamon include:
- In teas
- In a variety of baked goods and cooked dishes (here are some diabetic-friendly dessert ideas!)
- As a supplement
Natural Remedy: Ginger
Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years in traditional medicines. It is used for treating inflammatory and digestive issues.
A 2015 review shows that ginger may also help people with diabetes. The results revealed that ginger reduced blood sugar levels, but did not reduce blood insulin levels. This review led to the suggestion that ginger may reduce insulin resistance in the body for people with Type 2 Diabetes.
Ways of taking ginger include:
- By adding chopped ginger, ginger powder, or fresh ginger root to cooked or raw food
- Brewed into a tea
- As a supplement in capsule form
- By swallowing it in a ginger ale
Natural Remedy: Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Acetic acid, which is the main compound in ACV, is thought to be responsible for many of its health benefits. There are many evidence-based approaches to support the effectiveness of ACV in treating diabetes.
Studies show that:
The FDA does not regulate supplements and herbs for Type 2 Diabetes. Therefore, this can affect the quality of the products and promised results on things like lowering your blood sugar. Importantly, be sure to notify your doctor before starting any natural or home remedy. Your doctor might advise you of the dosage to start with, and any potential drug interactions. Natural remedies should not replace prescribed drugs, but should complement them.