Several herbs and herbal combinations are used in Ayurveda to treat diabetes. After a detailed scientific review of herbs used in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, I have been able to identify four plants – Gymnema sylvestre, Trigonella foenum-graecum, Eugenia jambolana, and Curcuma longa that has the most substantial scientific support for their anti-diabetic properties. TCM plants Atractylodes macrocephala, Codonopsis pilosula, Dioscorea opposita, Flos lonicerae, and Pueraria lobata retard the progression of diabetes by reducing blood glucose level.

Herbal medicine formulations that contain these herbs would theoretically have the best chance of being effective. Today, herbal medicine is performing the role of mutual support to modern diabetic medicine.

The universe of plants with antidiabetic properties is vast. Scientific studies are restricted mainly to animal trials. In the absence of random human clinical trials, herbal medicine formulations have not secured regulatory approval. The use of herbal medicine today is based on anecdotal evidence.

I wouldn’t also dismiss herbal medicine out of hand. It has a role. But it requires more scientific support before we can call them safe and secure for use.

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