Dealing with diabetes and its impacts is a daily challenge that people with the condition have to deal with. Fortunately, the way to its successful management lies with Ayurveda and its natural medicines and solutions. Read on to find out how you can tap into the power of Ayurveda and effectively keep diabetes in check.
Diabetes is a chronic illness that occurs when the body is incapable of providing sufficient insulin for the cells to function properly. Due to lack of insulin, excessive sugar production is triggered leading to its higher levels in the blood. This condition is called hyperglycemia, and it obstructs the regular functioning of the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, eyes and the nervous system. Some of the common signs and symptoms of diabetes are – blurry vision, rapid weight loss, excessive hunger pangs, increased thirst, frequent urination, skin infections, extreme fatigue, etc.
Diabetes is among the most common diseases that people around the world suffer from. Although the cause of diabetes can be hereditary, it can also result from the unhealthy stress levels and habits that have become a part of the modern lifestyle.
In Ayurveda, the concept of Tridosha holds a lot of significance. Each individual is a unique combination of the Tridosha, which are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is described as dry and airy, while Pitta is fiery and Kapha is cold and heavy. The imbalance of these Doshas is what makes the body prone to illnesses.
Diabetes is caused majorly due to the imbalance in Kapha Dosha. The imbalance when compounded with a weak Agni or digestive fire can slow down the metabolism, which can lead to problems with the sugar levels in the body. It doesn’t mean that people who have a predominant Kapha nature will get diabetes. Diabetes can manifest in an individual when Kapha dominance is not counterbalanced by following healthy habits and balanced diets. Therefore, Kapha dominant individuals should be careful about including enough air and fire elements in their food and habits.
Diabetes is referred to as Madhumeha in Ayurvedic texts, a word composed of two Sanskrit words – ‘Madhu’ meaning sweet and ‘Meha’ meaning urine. It is called so because increased levels of sugar in the blood causes excess sugar to escape in the urine as well. The other phrase used to describe the ill effects of diabetes is ‘dhatupaka janya vikruti’ which translates into derangement of body tissues from metabolism discrepancies. In diabetes, Ojas or the very essence of life is lost through the urine (meha), which is why it is also referred to as Ojomeha.
Although managing diabetes can be difficult, it’s not impossible. Ayurveda describes several ways in which one can stabilize their sugar levels with herbs and natural Ayurvedic remedies for diabetes that can be easily prepared in the home. They are as follows.
Also called as the Indian gooseberry, the amla is a potent Ayurvedic herb rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. This makes it quite effective in the treatment and management of diabetes. Amla is considered as one of the best Ayurvedic medicines to control diabetes which also contains chromium, a compound known to help the body to better respond to insulin and keep the blood sugar levels in check.
An important property of this fruit is that it stimulates microcirculation within the body which is ideal for building Ojas in the body. It counteracts the loss of Ojas through the urine and nourishes the tissues of the body leading to vitality and health.
Triphala is an Ayurvedic mixture composed of three potent herbs, which are Haritaki, Amla and Bibhitaki. The trio is known to boost immunity, aid in digestion and maintain a healthy heart and stable respiratory functions. The use of Triphala has also been mentioned in the ancient texts of Sushrut Samhita as one of the best Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes and a miracle mixture to improve metabolism and maintain healthy skin and hair.
Haritaki is a highly revered herb in Ayurveda. It can be used as a natural hypolipidemic, anti-diabetic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, anti-bacterial and antioxidant ingredient in medicines. Hence, the herb is widely used in the Ayurvedic treatment for diabetes, piles and haemorrhoids.
Cinnamon is another natural ingredient that can help decrease blood pressure and fight diabetes. It reduces sharp blood sugar spikes after meals and increases the sensitivity to insulin as well. Besides, Cinnamon is a major ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines for diabetes that help to reduce vitiated Kapha and Vata Doshas. It is also quite useful in the treatment of disorders caused by Ama or the metabolic waste defined by Ayurveda.
Fenugreek seeds also work very well to lower blood sugar levels. Its seeds contain fibres and compounds that help to slow down the digestion process as well as the absorption of sugar and carbohydrates in the body. Certain pieces of evidence from researches have also shown that fenugreek can be excellent Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes type 2 and may help in delaying or preventing the onset of the condition.
Usually, the aloe vera plant is thought of as a topical remedy for burns and cuts, but some studies indicate that the intake of aloe vera juice can improve blood glucose levels, and hence, be useful in the management of diabetes.
Additionally, there are some easy home remedies that one can prepare to keep diabetes in check.
· To lower blood sugar levels, Ayurveda recommends preparing a mix of one part of Guduchi, Shardunika, and Kutki and two parts of Punarnava, and taking half a teaspoon 2-3 times a day with warm water.
· As diabetes leads to aggravated Kapha, you need to ensure that your diet consists of Kapha pacifying foods which include fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs that are bitter. You have to avoid processed foods, excess sugar and carbohydrates and full-fat dairy products.
· Taking turmeric daily before meals has shown to reduce insulin. One can also take half a teaspoon of turmeric along with the same amount of ground bay leaf in aloe vera and have the mixture twice a day before lunch and dinner.
· Ginger tea is a natural way to control blood sugar levels while also stabilizing excessive Kapha in the body.
· It is also helpful to store water in a copper vessel overnight and drink it in the morning.
However, it is recommended to consult a medical professional before trying out any of the home remedies or Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes mentioned above. Your doctor should be able to provide you with a plan for appropriate usage of the natural remedies that won’t affect your ongoing medications.
The patient suffering from diabetes mellitus should avoid sedentary life, sleep during day time after lunch, intake of freshly harvested grains, rice, curd, cakes, sugar-cane-juice, jack fruit, banana, fig, cheeku, sweet mangoes, dates sugar, jaggery, mishri (candied sugar) and potato, meat. Smoking and alcohol aggravate the disease. One should never suppress the urges for urine and faeces. Stop smoking and tobacco consumption in any form. Stop alcohol consumption or limiting it to small quantities.
Avoid Sea Foods-Prawns, Crabs, Shellfish, Peanuts, Red Chilly, Brinjal, Meat, Potato, Chick Peas, Baked Beans, Black Gram, Jack Fruits, Durian, Junk Food -Fried & Oily, Ajino Motto (MSG),Refined Flour.
Limit things which can be melted easily: ice cream, Chocolates, Ghee, Butter, Margarine, and Cheese. Limit Corn, Sweet Corn, Potato, Jack Fruits, Excessive Salt, Sour, fermented foods, Peanuts, Mango, Grapes, Cheeku, Kiwi, Banana.
High Fibre & Low Carbs Diet ,Soups, Vegetable broth Oat Bran, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Barley, Porridge, Salads, Grilled ,Grilled, Shallow Frying, Stir Frying methods should be used for cooking, Eating at regular intervals, and in proper quantities and composition that ensures a balanced intake of all nutrients. Reduce intake of saturated fats and simple sugars.
Missa ata, i.e. flour prepared with wheat + soya bean along with Chaff, arhar & gram dal, wheat, kulattha(horse gram, mudga(green gram) ), Millets, milk in small quantity without sugar, butter-milk.
Vegetables :Bitter gourd, pointed gourd, sweet luffa or tori (Luffa acutangula), gourd, cucumber, green chilli, spinach, lettuce ,celery, bathua (Lambís quarters or Chenopodium murale), onion, garlic, lemon, fenugreek and drum stick; åmalaki (Emblica officinalis), , powder of jamun-seed, water of fenugreek-seed, 5-7 tender leaves of neem (daily), All the vegetables should be cooked boiled or steamed or made into a soup -Spinach, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Broccoli-in Steamed Cooked and Boiled Form- Spring onion, Bitter guard, Parsley, Lettuce, Celery, Cucumber, Green beans, Leafy green vegetables, Lettuce, Parsley.
Fruits :Papaya, guava, fruit of jamun (blackberry fruits having astringent taste in predominance, should be taken.
Exercise :One should walk for 15-20 minutes after taking meals and a 3-4 km. walk daily is very useful. Yoga and meditation for half an hour. Daily exercises are very important