Chinese Medicine considers diabetes a condition resulting from disharmony in the body. This disharmony is known as Wasting and Thirsting Syndrome. Often, diabetics experience periods of severe thirst and hunger, accompanied by weight loss. In ancient China, they recognized these symptoms, using them to identify the persons’ condition. This wasn’t accurate; however, as they were unable to tell what the persons’ blood sugar level was at the time. Several Chinese herbs have been used to combat the ill effects of Wasting and Thirsting Syndrome. The effects of these herbs, in relation to diabetics, are now being researched in China.
One specific herb that shows potential for use in treatments. The herb is known as Mai Men Dong, or also as Ophiopogon. Research has demonstrated that it has the potential to stimulate regenerative growth in the Islets cells located in the Langerhans in the pancreas. These specific cells of the pancreas are specifically designed to ensure the proper production of insulin and from there the proper regulation and processing of blood sugar in the body. Regeneration of these cells could potentially reverse diabetes in adults with onset diabetes.
Another Chinese herb that also shows some promise in the field, specifically those with high blood sugar, is Tian Hua Fen, also known as Trichosanthis. Tian Hua Fen has, in research studies, been shown to reduce the level of sugar in the blood. Commonly, it is used in herbal formulas for people who have diabetes. Two other common herbs also used for this purpose include the Astragalus, and the Chinese Wild Yam
An Asian vegetable, often used as a herb, called Bittermelon, or Momordica Charantia, has also proven effective in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics in studies done in China and Thailand. This vegetable may also have antibacterial and antiviral properties. In Asia, it is being considered for being a potential treatment for use against diseases such as AIDS, HIV, and hepatitis C.
There are also other Chinese herbs that can be useful for the many symptoms associated with diabetes. The Chinese herbal formula Ming Mu Di Huang Wan is used in China for the vision problems that diabetics often experience. Other herbs can be used to improve blood circulation and stimulate healing. This can be very beneficial since diabetics often heal more slowly from cuts, wounds, and other injuries and also because they tend to have poorer circulation. Many of these herbs may be beneficial for diabetic neuropathy. Diabetics often have nerve pain or uncomfortable nerve sensations that can be alleviated with the use of herbs. Acupuncture can be beneficial for this as well.
The ancient Chinese could not accurately monitor blood sugar levels, but many herbal treatments they used are still being used today in research of other countries. If you are considering taking these herbs while on medication for your blood sugar levels, it is vital to keep monitoring them. Speak with your doctor, and let him/her know that you are using herbs, what kind, and work with the doctor to readjust doses.
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