Diabetes: Type II
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Ayurveda therapies, remedies, and treatments for preventing and reversing type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. The treatment recommended in Ayurveda – vs. modern medicine – is aimed at rejuvenating the body to not only balance sugar levels but also ensuring that no further complication is caused.

What is Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes Mellitus or Type 2 Diabetes is a complex metabolic disorder in which blood sugar levels remain high for extended periods of time. This may be due to either the lack of the hormone “Insulin” or the inability of cells to properly utilize circulating insulin. In this chronic disease, there is an inability to gain energy from food, due to the lack of glucose absorption. Many serious complications can occur if left untreated. Fortunately, diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can make a positive difference.

See: Signs of diabetes in women

How does Ayurveda view Diabetes?

Ayurveda does not regard diabetes as a disease that can be treated by mere medicine or by a dietary regimen. Madhumeha is classified as a Maha Rog (Major Disease) because if not treated in time, can lead to several complications in the body including eye problems, joint pains, impotence, kidney failure, sexual and urologic problems, and more.

The disease diabetes mellitus (DM) is as such not mentioned In Ayurvedic text, but the signs of this disease 'Madhumeha' is one of the many kinds of Prameha roga, resembling the symptoms of diabetes type 2. According to Ayurvedic texts, the main symptom of Prameha is 'Prabhutavila Murata' - which is excessive and filthy urination. The two kinds of Prameha / Madhumeha (specifically Sahaja and Apathya-nimittaj) can be contrasted with insulin-dependent (juvenile-onset) and insulin-independent (maturity onset) diabetes mellitus respectively. When Madhumeha happens as a primary disease (Avrit Vatajanya), it's comparable with the juvenile-onset of diabetes mellitus.

It is therefore not surprising that as diabetes is a metabolic disorder, it cannot be merely treated by controlling sugar levels.

You can get a brief idea by watching this informative video on diabetes prevention in Ayurveda.

See: Signs of diabetes in men

What causes diabetes?

According to Ayurvedic text, Meda (Adiposity) is primary Contributory factors in the development and onset of Prameha / Madhumeha and this disorder mainly affects the Ojas (Immune status) of the body. The traditional system of medicine has also described central adiposity (fat from the midsection or around the stomach and abdomen) as the major cause of Diabetes Mellitus especially type 2 DM. Classical Ayurvedic texts have described sedentary lifestyles and faulty dietary habits in its own words as the significant cause of Madhumeha. These texts have clarified various causes of Madhumeha as excessive usage of yogurt or curd (milk products), flesh and fatty products together with sleeping and sitting for hours together on soft and comfy mattresses that indicates sedentary lifestyles according to the modern scenario that's major contributory element in the pathogenesis and toxic complications of diabetes.

See: Ayurvedic Treatment for Prediabetes & Diabetes Type 2

Ayurvedic view of diabetes symptoms

The main symptom to diagnose Madhumeha is excessive and filthy urination. Along with this Acharya Caraka has clarified a few prodromal symptoms that help to diagnose Prameha / Madhumeha. They're laziness, foul odor from body, a build-up of ear wax, coated tongue, pelvic area fat deposition, hair and nail thickening, sweetness sensation, burning sensations in hand and feet, and dry throat.

See: Ayurvedic Diet

How does Ayurveda prevent or reverse Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder and can cause tissue damage. So even if the blood sugar levels are kept under control with medicines, it can damage eyes, kidneys or other vital organs later on. The treatment recommended in Ayurveda – as against modern medicine – is aimed at rejuvenating the body to not only balance sugar levels, but also ensuring that no further complication is caused.

The treatment of any illness including Prameha / Madhumeha, aims at restoring the balance of doshas and the normal function of Dhatu. If Doshas marginally increase, restriction of diet combined with increased activity is adequate as a curative measure. If the doshas are reasonably increased, one should administer drugs to neutralize the doshas

Diet restrictions and exercise:  If The Doshas are markedly improved, aside from dietetic limitation, exercise and medications, an individual needs to also advise Panchakarma i.e. emetics, purgatives, etc. so that the increased Doshas are removed from the body. According to Ayurvedic parlance, the sufferers of Prameha / Madhumeha are of two kinds - Sthula (obese) and Krisha (lean). From the perspective of management, Sthula Pramehi is given Shodhana (purification method) therapy, while the Krisha pramehi has to be awarded Brimhana (nourishment ) treatment to supply his strength.

See: Potential of Disease Prevention with Panchakarma Therapy

Precautions and Risks

Ayurvedic therapies must only be administered by qualified Ayurvedic practitioners. There are certain medications (Rasaushadhi) with heavy metals. That ought to be prescribed only after assessing renal and circulatory functions in a diabetic patient. So before prescribing such medication, the practitioner should thoroughly examine the individual in every aspect. If the expert is prescribing such medication after thorough evaluation, no major or hazardous side effect is noticed.

In order for a diabetic patient to stop hazardous complications of Diabetes, he or she should follow dietary restriction as described in Ayurveda in addition to in the modern medication as an integrative form of therapy. Together with dietary restriction one should take medications whatever he needs according to the glycemic status under the supervision of medical professionals.

See: Diabetic Shock or Severe Hypoglycemia

Ayurvedic Diet for Managing Diabetes

Ayurveda identifies many spices and herbs which can be used in the treatment of diabetes. We're beginning to recognize some of the beneficial actions of those organic medicinals from a scientific standpoint. There are now over 1,200 species of plants which have known glucose-lowering consequences.


Gymnema Sylvestre

This plant has been used in the treatment of diabetes for at least 2,000 years. It's a woody, climbing vine common in southern and central India. There has been extensive research on Gymnema Sylvestre in studies with animals, and it's been proven to stimulate insulin secretion, increase the effects of circulating insulin, and reduce blood glucose levels. It has also been demonstrated to have a protective effect on the pancreas, that's the organ that produces and secretes insulin.

Commonly called fenugreek, this herb is cultivated throughout the world for a spice. Fenugreek seeds have high fiber content, and lots of elements of the seed have been identified as having immediate glucose-lowering consequences. Studies have demonstrated that daily use of fenugreek seeds may reduce insulin resistance and improve blood glucose control.

 

Cinnamon

This buttery spice has received much attention lately as a sugar-lowering material. Cinnamon has been shown to enhance the body's ability to use insulin in numerous ways. It stimulates insulin receptors on the cells, in addition to acting directly on our DNA to "turn off" genes that are responsible for deactivating insulin receptors on our cells. These actions make it a lot easier for cells to take up glucose, thus reducing glucose levels.

Turmeric

This popular Indian spice has a long history of use as an anti-inflammatory, and on account of the connection between diabetes and inflammation, has been studied in the prevention and treatment for diabetes. Current research reveals no substantial side effects of using turmeric and supports utilizing this spice to match other treatments for diabetes.

 

Beneficial Foods

Several foods are also used traditionally as a cure for diabetes and have been shown to reduce blood glucose levels. Bitter gourd, or karela, is widely utilized in the treatment of diabetes in several traditional healing systems. Used as a food in the Indian diet, there are no reported toxicities.

See: Brown Rice vs. White Rice for diabetes

Ayurvedic Diet, Lifestyle, & Home Remedy Tips

Ayurvedic diet tips:

Include whole grains in the diet, such as wheat bread/pasta and brown rice.

Cheese and yogurt prepared with skimmed (nonfat) milk may be taken.

Use garlic, onion, bitter gourd, spinach, raw banana, and black plum.

Make a flour a mixture of 1 part barley, 1 part black chickpeas, and 4 parts whole-wheat flour and use this to form pancakes and bread.

Avoid sweet fruits like pineapple, grapes, mangoes, etc.

Avoid sweet, sour, and salty foods, potatoes, sweet potatoes, colocasia (taro), yams, fresh grains and pulses (legumes), whole yogurt (high in fat), and heavy, oily and spicy foods.


Lifestyle tips:

Start doing some light exercise, such as brisk walking. Build up to a brisk walk of 30-40 minutes in the morning and again in the evening.

Avoid sleeping in the daytime as it increases Kledaka Kapha.

Additionally, both yoga and meditation have been proven to decrease stress, which plays a considerable role in the development and control of diabetes. Chronic stress may result in insulin resistance, which in turn increases blood glucose levels. With regular yoga or meditation, stress hormones within our bodies decrease, leading to better blood glucose control.

 Proper diet and lifestyle decisions help in balancing blood sugar and the result of treatment shows quickly. It also prevents or decreases the risk of complications.

 

Ayurvedic Home Remedies

Dry the leaves of the mango tree and grind to a powder. Mix 1 teaspoon dry powder in a glass of water and drink it daily to reduce high blood sugar levels.

Take 2 teaspoons of bitter gourd (karela) juice once a day. One can also increase its use as a cooked vegetable.

Take a teaspoon of Indian gooseberry (amla) juice mixed with 1 teaspoon of bitter gourd juice twice a day.

See: Yoga for Diabetes Type 2

Research of Ayurveda in Diabetes Prevention

In a study done in 2011, researchers examined seven clinical trials that included 354 participants (172 on treatment, 158 on control, 24 could not be classified). The results found positive effects in certain research, and lack of severe unwanted effects, but firm conclusions could not be drawn as a result of weak approaches and a small number of participants at the appraised studies. Additional study is necessary to estimate the effectiveness of those remedies. Ayurvedic physicians normally use a mix of different proprietary or herbal preparations together with diet, and manner of living. The remedies are often individualized taking into consideration the equilibrium of three 'doshas'. It's likely that the interventions at the trials analyzed haven't replicated real Ayurvedic practice but merely assessed some elements individually.[2]

In another 2001 systematic analysis study, researchers found that there's evidence to indicate that the single herbs Coccinia indica, sacred basil, fenugreek, and Gymnema Sylvestre and the herbal formulas Ayush-82 and D-400 have a glucose-lowering effect and deserve additional study. Proof of the effectiveness of several different herbs is less extensive (C. Tamala, Eugenia jambolana, and Momordica charantia).[3]

  

Several studies have also been done lately in India a country with high prevalence of Diabetes 2. One of the trials done included 157 male prisoners with newly diagnosed, high fasting blood sugar (FBS). Group interventions: (1) Rasahara and Yoga, (2) Yoga, (3) no intervention. A significant decrease in fasting blood sugar was observed.

In addition, several studies on the efficacy of herbal formulations have been undertaken such as measuring the effectiveness of extract of Ichnocarpus frutescens in the management of diabetes 2. A recent study analyzed traditional vegetarian thali meal served and its effectiveness in the prevention of diabetes 2 and other chronic medical conditions.

To revalidate the true efficacy of the formulas in DM (~Madhumeha); many studies are completed at different research centres of India. These studies aimed at establishing the effect of various Ayurvedic therapy modalities viz. Shodhana (purification/cleansing processes ) and Shamana (pacifying medicinal therapy ) etc., in DM. These treatments were found to improve quality of life, significantly effective and clinically safe as no adverse drug reactions were reported during the treatment period.[5]

There is considerable debate on the research methodology used for Ayurveda in general. Regular double-blind randomized controlled trials aren't often used for Ayurvedic remedies because the multi-faceted method of diabetes control isn't accessible to trials that analyze one element of an individualized treatment plan. Research methods in research of Ayurveda nevertheless rely on a black-box layout --ie, given as they are in the typical clinical atmosphere.[4]

See: Insulin Side Effects

References

1. Kerner W, Brückel J. Definition, classification and diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 2014;122:384-6.

2. Ayurvedic treatments for diabetes mellitus

Kalpana Sridharan,1 Roshni Mohan,2 Sridharan Ramaratnam,3 and Deepak Panneerselvam4

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Dec 7; (12): CD008288.

Published online 2011 Dec 7. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008288.pub2

PMCID: PMC3718571

3. 41Ayurvedic Interventions for Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review: Summary

ML Hardy, I Coulter, S Venuturupalli, EA Roth, J Favreau, SC Morton, and P Shekelle.

4 Ayurveda for diabetes in India, Rajiv Vasudevan & Zankhana Buch

Published:November, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(16)30239-X5.

5.  http://www.jmnn.org  Review Article,  2015   Volume : 4 , Issue : 2 ,Page : 63-69   Efficacy of Ayurvedic remedies in type 2 diabetes: A review through works done at Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar

6. Rohit Sharma1, Hetal Amin2, Galib Ruknuddin1, Pradeep Kumar Prajapati1,  Department of Rasashastra and Bhaishajya Kalpana, I.P.G.T. and R.A., Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

See: Moringa Powder Benefits For Diabetes

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