Natural Treatments for Diabetes

By Dr. Mao Shing Ni

 

Sugar (specifically, glucose) is the primary source of energy for every cell in the body, whether in the brain, the heart, or the muscles that help you walk. As food is digested, the sugars are changed into glucose. The glucose then travels throughout the body via the blood, and is absorbed by cells for energy. A tiny molecule called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, makes this absorption possible.

 

Under normal circumstances your blood sugar is usually balanced, with minor peaks after a meal. But consuming an excess of cookies, soft drinks, and processed foods that contain simple sugars, combined with inactivity and a sedentary life, can cause blood glucose levels to rise rapidly. In response, the pancreas produces excess insulin, which rapidly shuffles the blood sugar into cells, dropping levels to far below normal and resulting in cravings for more sugar. Over time this yoyo effect can make the cells less sensitive to insulin and more sugar stays in the blood, resulting in diabetes. This phenomenon is called insulin resistance.

 

In ancient times diabetes was diagnosed by tasting a person’s urine for sugar content. Excess sugar in the blood eventually drains out of the kidneys, causing frequent urination, and with loss of the fluids comes thirst. Frequent urination and excessive thirst are the hallmark characteristics of diabetes. Affecting more than 20 million people in the United States, diabetes is a complex syndrome involving many of the body’s systems and has the potential to damage the heart, kidneys, nervous system, and hormonal system. If left unmanaged, diabetes can cause many complications, including heart disease, kidney failure, peripheral neuropathy, decreased wound healing, skin ulceration, and infections.

 

Type 2–or adult-onset diabetes–is the most common of the two main types of diabetes. Though there is no cure for diabetes, there are ways to control blood sugar. With proper diet and an approach that integrates Western and Eastern medicine, type 2 diabetes can be controlled.

 

I work with endocrinologists to reverse or control diabetes-our patients are put on a strict diet that includes quality protein from fish, fowl, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. Fresh vegetables and whole grains are also part of the diet. Patients eat small but frequent meals, do at least one hour of cardiovascular exercise a day, and keep their stress levels low with meditation. I also administer weekly acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbal therapy. Initially my diabetes patients are on medication prescribed by their endocrinologist, but as their glucose levels normalize, the medications are reduced until they’re no longer necessary. This type of treatment can only be accomplished through a close collaboration between Eastern and Western medicine.

 

Chinese medicine has recorded many observations of diabetes throughout the millennia and classifies it as “wasting and thirsting disorder.” It has differentiated the condition into upper, middle, and lower regions of the body, depending on where the most symptoms occur. For example, excess thirst is the upper body, attributed to deficiency of the lung-large intestine network. Excess hunger is attributed to the middle and linked with the spleen-pancreas-stomach network. Excess urination is linked to the lower body organs, namely the kidneys. Depending on the symptoms, treatments focus on harmonizing these organs, strengthening weaknesses, and adjusting the body’s ability to absorb and metabolize sugar. The best approach to diabetes is, of course, prevention. With simple changes to your diet and lifestyle, along with regular checkups, you can keep the debilitating condition of diabetes from entering your life. Please note: Never go off medications or insulin without the consent of your physician.

 

 

 

 

 

HOME REMEDIES FOR DIABETES

  1. Eat a slice of baked pumpkin topped with olive oil and rosemary every day.
  2. Cabbage and lentils: boil 1/2 head chopped cabbage, 1 diced yam, and 1/3 cup lentils in 8 cups of water for 30 to 45 minutes. Season lightly with herbs and spices and eat as a soup for dinner. Have this dish 2 to 3 times a week for a month.
  3. Spinach vegetable juice: juice 1 daikon radish, 3 stalks of celery, 1 cucumber, and 1 bunch of spinach. Drink 2 glasses a day.
  4. Chrysanthemum tea: make a tea made with 1/2 cup chrysanthemum flowers boiled for 15 minutes in 5 cups of water. Strain, and drink 3 to 4 cups a day.

 

 

HOW TO TREAT DIABETES WITH DIET AND NUTRITION

The key to maintaining normal sugar levels in the body is to eat a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, organic sources of protein, and healthful fats.

  1. Eat at regular intervals and eat more often in smaller amounts. Skipping meals is a sure way of causing blood glucose to bounce up and down. [6]
  2. Favor organic chicken and turkey, fish and egg whites.
  3. Include black beans, tofu, garbanzo beans, mung beans, yams, peas, artichokes, pumpkin, celery, spinach, daikon radish, cabbage, water chestnuts,
  4. Eat nuts, seeds, millet, oats, amaranth, quinoa, bran, lentils,  unsweetened low-fat yogurt, and fresh berries.
  5. Include olive oil, flaxseed oil, and virgin coconut oil.
  6. Eliminate all simple sugars and foods high in sugar, such as soft drinks, candy, honey, and molasses.
  7. Alcohol should be eliminated.
  8. Avoid smoking and caffeine which cam have an adverse effect on sugar metabolism.
  9. Learn to read food labels. Look out for sugar, corn syrup, and dextrose as ingredients. It’s best to stay away from processed and refined products, which are devoid of healthful fiber and nutrients.

 

 

 

DAILY VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS FOR DIABETES

  1. Alpha lipoic acid (50 milligrams) is a powerful antioxidant used to prevent damage to the cells. It is being studied for its ability to absorb glucose in muscle tissue to relieve diabetic neuropathy and reduce sensitivity to insulin.
  2. Chromium (200 micrograms) can reduce sugar levels during fasting periods if taken for a period of at least two months.
  3. Vitamins E (800 IU) and B complex, coenzyme Q-10[4] (50 milligrams), and L-carnitine (500 milligrams) have been shown in some studies to support healthy blood glucose levels.
  4. Brewer’s yeast (500 milligrams) contains a natural glucose-tolerance factor that is necessary for producing and using insulin.

 

 

 

HERBAL THERAPY FOR DIABETES

Herbs can be found in health food or vitamin stores, online, and at the offices of Chinese medicine practitioners. Herbs should be used according to individual needs; consult with a licensed practitioner for a customized formulation.

  1. Fenugreek, garlic, bilberry, ginseng, and gymnema are beneficial for treating diabetes.
  2. Yin Exhaustion is a natural Chinese herbal formulation that helps build energy reserves to combat the effects of diabetes. It contains: Asiatic Dogwood fruit, Chinese Yam rhizome, Rehmannia root tuber (cured), Poria sclerotium, Asian Water Plantain rhizome, and Tree Peony root bark.
  3. Traditional herbs that have been used for wasting and thirsting disorders include rehmannia, Asian cornelian cherry, Chinese yam, poria, mouton, ganoderma, astragalus, ginseng, and water plantain.[7]

 

 

 

QIGONG MOVEMENTS FOR DIABETES

Keeping fit and maintaining proper weight is the best thing you can do to prevent diabetes. Exercise also plays a direct role in how your body stores and uses the energy you consume. A daily 30-minute cardiovascular activity that stimulates circulation, conditions the heart, and builds muscle will encourage your body to properly metabolize sugar, helping to prevent diabetes.

 

Studies show that tai chi and qi gong exercises have a beneficial effect on the hormonal system. With daily practice of qi gong exercises such as the Eight Treasures you can strengthen your hormonal system, help balance your blood sugar levels, and avoid the serious complications of diabetes. Below I describe a simple walking exercise called Merry-Go-Around that I recommend to many of my patients to help manage diabetes.

 

• In a quiet outdoor setting find a tree with at least five feet of clear space around the trunk in all directions. If you were to draw a circle around the tree, its diameter would be around 10 to 12 feet, though larger or smaller circles are also fine.

  1. Walk around the tree with a relaxed but steady gait, with your hands raised to your trunk.
  2. With each completed circle change the position of your arms by slightly raising or lowering your hands in front or on the sides of your trunk.
  3. For the first half of the exercise, walk clockwise around the tree.
  4. For the second half, walk counterclockwise.
  5. Do this exercise twice a day for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

ACUPRESSURE TREATMENTS FOR DIABETES

  1. Diabetes acupressure point below the knee: Find the acupoint Foot Three Miles (ST-36), four fingerwidths below the kneecap on the right leg. Apply moderate pressure with your right thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes. Repeat on the left leg.
  2. Diabetes acupressure point above the ankle: Find the acupoint Three Yin Crossing (SP-6), four fingerwidths above the inner anklebone, in the depression near the bone on the right leg. Apply steady pressure with your right thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 3 minutes. Repeat on the left leg.

Engaging both of these points helps regulate digestion and metabolism, strengthens the vital qi, and tones the yin of the kidneys, spleen, and liver, which are involved in endocrine function.

 

 

 

DIABETES: WHAT TO AVOID

  1. Avoid a sedentary life, which is a major contributor to diabetes. Get out and get physically active.
  2. Avoid sugar and sweets, alcohol, and coffee; they should be off-limits.
  3. Avoid stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil.

 

 

 

References:

  1. Casassus, P ., A. Fontbonne, and N. Thibult, et al. 1992. Upper-body fat distribution: a hyperinsulinemia-independent predictor of coronary heart disease mortality. Arterioscler. Thromb. 1387-92.
  2. Isida, K., A. Mizuno, T. Murakami, and K. Shima. 1996. Obesity is necessary but not sufficient for the development of diabetes mellitus. Metabolism 45:1288-95.
  3. Karter, A. J., E. J. Mayer-Davis, J. V. Selby, et al. 1996. Insulin sensitivity and abdominal obesity in African-American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white men and women. Diabetes 45:1547-55.
  4. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Coenzyme Q-10. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database website. Accessed May 17, 2005.
  5. Ni, H. Power of Natural Healing. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1995.
  6. Ni, M., and C. McNease. The Tao of Nutrition. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1987.
  7. Yeh, G. Y., D. M. Eisenberg, and T. J. Kaptchuk, et al. Systematic review of herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes. Diabetes Care 26(4): 1277-94.

 

 

©2015 Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Read Secrets of Self-Healing: Harness Nature's Power to Heal Common Ailments ... By Maoshing Ni

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