Before the discovery of insulin and other medications that lower blood sugar levels, medicinal herbs and traditional methods were used to treat diabetics
So far, more than 1,200 types of medicinal herbs have proven to be effective in lowering blood sugar levels or alleviating the effects of the disease. Some of the most important herbs prescribed in Iranian traditional medicine are mentioned below:
Medicinal Herbs for Diabetics
Onion and Garlic
Garlic is a vegetable with an ancient history. Man discovered the therapeutic properties of garlic in the 5th century BC. Garlic and onions increase insulin levels in the blood. The more the intake of garlic and onions is, the more blood sugar levels drop.
- Bitter Cucumber
It is basically green and turns yellowish orange when ripe. All parts of the fruit are very bitter. The bitter cucumber contains a substance similar to insulin. A daily intake of 60 grams of the plant’s resin can slightly decrease sugar blood levels.
The herb is native to Iran and grows in most parts of the country, including Azarbaijan, Isfahan, Fars, Khorasan, Semnan and Damghan. It is used as an edible vegetable.
It grows in forests in northern Iran. Its leaves are used in traditional medicine to treat diabetes. The effect of one dose of the extract of blueberry leaves, which has properties similar to those of insulin, will remain in the body for several weeks. Moreover, it can be used in preventing the long-term effects of diabetes such as cardiovascular, nervous, renal and ocular effects.
- Milk Thistle
It is originally native to the Mediterranean. The medicinal herb increases cellular sensitivity to insulin and brings down blood sugar levels. It contains silymarin, which can be taken in 200-mg doses three times a day to decrease insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), HbA1c levels and different types of blood lipids.
It is native to Iran and is found in southern parts of the country. The fruit of the plant is prescribed by practitioners of traditional medicine in many countries, including Iran, to bring down blood sugar levels. An intake of 100-mg doses three times a day can slightly bring down IGFs and HbA1c levels in patients suffering from diabetes type 2.
- Nettle Tea
The nettle is used in Iranian traditional medicine as a drug which decreases blood glucose levels. The extract of its leaves can prevent an increase in blood sugar levels and the destruction of pancreas cells.