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What Are the Different Types of Chinese Herbs for Diabetes?

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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Images By: Maxim Lavrov, Jedi-Master, Marilyn Barbone, Guillaume Baviere, Evgenyb
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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There are many Chinese herbs for diabetes, the more widely used of which are bitter melon, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba. Other Chinese herbs include fenugreek, trichosanthis, and ophiopogon. Tea, especially green tea, has also been a long-standing Chinese treatment for diabetes and other health conditions. These Chinese herbs for diabetes are usually available in herbal shops and are sometimes ground and combined together in a pill.

Bitter melon, or “momodica charantia," is a type of green vegetable abundant in Asian countries and is said to be one of the bitterest vegetables in the world. Many studies have found that the bitter melon has the ability to lower a patient’s blood sugar and increases the body’s sensitivity to and absorption of insulin. Researchers attribute this ability to “charantin,” a substance found in bitter melon. The vegetable is usually ground and made into a pill, or its leaves can be boiled to make tea. The plant itself can even be cooked and eaten as a vegetable dish.

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Ginseng and ginkgo biloba are very commonly-used, traditional Chinese herbs for diabetes. Ginseng has been found to effectively reduce the body’s sugar levels while increasing the amount of insulin receptors in the body. Ginkgo biloba, on the other hand, helps in improving the blood flow within the system, especially in the arms and legs. All of these factors can not only result in better management of diabetes, but can also increase a patient’s energy levels, which then leads to weight loss.

Another one of the more popular Chinese herbs for diabetes is the fenugreek, or the “trigonella foenum-graecum.” Not only is it part of traditional Chinese medicine, but is also a part of Ayurvedic medicine. Many studies have supported the use of fenugreek, as the plant was found to lower blood sugar and cholesterol and improve the body’s tolerance for glucose or sugar. This is probably due to the plant’s high fiber content that helps cleanse and detoxify the body. The leaves of fenugreek are usually boiled for tea, and its seeds can be used as a spice.

The trichosanthis and ophiopogon plants are Chinese herbs for diabetes usually combined in capsule form. Many Chinese studies found that both plants can effectively decrease levels of blood sugar and improve how the body processes sugar. Ophiopogon especially has the potential to regenerate cells of the Islets of Langerhans, a small region in the pancreas that produces human insulin.

Patients should be reminded that while Chinese herbs for diabetes have undergone much research, their positive effects have yet to be substantially established. It is possible a patient might need a different course of action to treat his or her diabetes. It is always best to consult one’s physician first before including any alternative medicine in diabetes treatment.

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