Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes health recently came to my attention when I was researching new topics for this site. Several years ago, this topic wasn’t even listed in search engine queries, now it is quite popular.
While the topic may be new, Ayurvedic medicine, sometimes called Ayurveda medicine, is anything but new. In fact, this medicine system traces its roots back thousands of years to ancient India. Like other ancient remedies, old is becoming new again.
Let’s take a look at what this system is and then try and learn whether its treatment for diabetes has any application for you.
What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
As mentioned above, Ayuveda medicine originated thousands of years ago in India. The basic premise is that you need to look at your entire health picture: mind, body and spirit. In the United States and other western countries, we typically call this a holistic approach to treatment, because it looks at the entire or “whole” picture of what is going on with you.
In contrast, most of the time you go to the doctor, he or she only treats the symptom or disease. They do not look at the “big” picture of what may or may not be affecting you.
Of course, Ayurveda practitioners do not term it this way. Instead, they believe that we are all interconnected with the universe, both in mind and body. In effect, there must be a balance amongst the universe and within us.
Constitution: Each person has a specific and unique constitution, called your Prakriti. Your constitution is the way that your mind and body interact with the universe to achieve balance and good health.
Doshas – Life Forces: Your constitution is made of three life forces called doshas. The three doshas are called vata, pitta and kapha. The way these doshas interact with each other control your health. If one or more is out of balance you can have health problems. Making sure these life forces are balanced ensures good health and make up the entire practice of ayurvedic medicine.
There is so much more to the above explanation. You can read a relatively brief, but more thorough overview of Ayurvedic practices at the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Bottom line is that ayurvedic medicine seeks to treat your entire body and mind to bring it into balance – a holistic approach to medicine.
What Are The Different Treatments
Each person has a unique prakriti or constitution, thus each treatment will be unique to that person. What will bring my body and mind back into balance will not necessarily be the same for you.
Treatments typically include a combination of facets including diet, herbal remedies, and message. Treatments also include lifestyle changes such as exercise, relaxation (e.g., meditation, eliminating or avoiding stressful events, etc.), and purging of toxins (e.g., enemas, cleansing, etc.).
To discover what treatment you need, will involve seeing an ayurvedic practitioner. This is important to note, because you can’t just go to a store and buy some ayurvedic herb and think you have it covered.
Treatment for Diabetes
Now, we get to the main point of this article, which is how this medical system can help you with your diabetes. There are number of different studies that have begun to show that Ayurveda herbal treatments can help you lower your blood glucose levels.
In 2011, a scientific researcher analyzed five different ayurvedic studies in relation to diabetes. These five studies looked at ayurvidic herbal mixtures aimed at treatment for diabetics that were created by various companies.
The commercial blends were called Diabecon, Inolter, Cogent DB, Pancreas Tonic and Hyponidd Treatment. The first three showed significant lowering of blood glucose levels, while the last two did not. The researcher doing the survey of the studies went on to conclude that there were some deficiencies in the methodology of the studies and determined that further study was warranted before drawing concrete conclusions.
Did you really expect any other conclusion from a scientist!?
Here’s the problem with getting good information on this type of approach to healthcare. Western scientists are woefully behind studying this type of holistic approach to medicine. Typically, they seek to determine the exact ingredient or compound which can treat a symptom or disease.
Looking at holistic remedies is very complicated from a scientific research standpoint. There are simply too many variables for most western scientists.
Moreover, you can’t really patent an individual herb or an exercise movement, etc. Thus, it is not profitable to spend a lot of time or money on this type of research. Importantly, the five studies noted above were all done for commercial herbal blends. I did not find any studies that looked at this method of treatment utilizing more than an herbal supplement.
Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes treatment method may well be one of the most effective ways to treat the condition for some people. However, we probably won’t ever know this definitively, because of the foregoing reasons.
With all of these treatments, please discuss with your doctor prior to starting the treatment. Most people with diabetes are taking some form of glucose lowering medication. If the Ayurvedic treatment works on your diabetes, you will need to be monitoring your glucose levels and lowering your diabetes medication. Otherwise, the dual treatments could lower your glucose levels too much!
- If you use one of the commercial blends, please note that many, if not all of these brands are not available, or at least hard to get in the United States.
- Preferably, find a local Ayurveda practitioner. Here are two Ayurveda Associations in the United States that have a list of practitioners:
National Ayurvedic Medical Association and Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America. Make sure they have experience (and success) treating diabetes with Ayurveda medicine.
DiabetesWellBeing.com does not recommend one way or the other this medical treatment nor does it endorse any of the organization or practitioners linked to in this article. As stated above, always check with your doctor before beginning any new medical treatment.
By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed January 2013
NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Ayurvedic treatments for diabetes mellitus, PubMed.