High blood sugar is a common occurrence in today’s world.
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that 37 million Americans have diabetes, or 1 in 10 people.
Herbs and other natural remedies can be a helpful natural way to manage blood sugar.
This article looks at the scientific herbs behind the best herbs for blood sugar.
What Is Hyperglycemia?
Hyperglycemia is a health condition that is characterized by high amounts of sugar in the blood.
Hyperglycemia occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough of the hormone insulin or the body cannot use insulin properly. Insulin helps to move sugar from the bloodstream into the cells. Once inside the cells, sugar is converted into energy for immediate use or stored for the future.
There are four primary types of diabetes:
- Prediabetes (ie elevated blood sugar levels)
- Type 1 diabetes (a genetic disorder involving the pancreas)
- Type 2 diabetes (diet-related and develops over time)
- and Gestational Diabetes (diabetes while pregnant)
Diet and exercise alone may help to control diabetes for some individuals. For others, a combination of medication and healthy habits will keep them at their best.
It should be noted that using herbs for high blood sugar can help to reduce elevated blood sugar levels, especially for individuals with prediabetes.
Typical Treatments For Elevated Blood Sugar:
Standard treatment for high blood sugar includes using a class of pharmaceutical drugs known as biguanides.
As far as standard medical treatment, the list of standard blood sugar medicines includes:
- Metformin (biguanide class)
- Insulin (long- and rapid-acting)
- Glipizide (sulfonylurea class)
- Glimepiride (sulfonylurea class)
- Invokana (sodium glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor class)
- Jardiance (SGLT2 class)
- Januvia (dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitor)
Metformin (Fortamet, Glumetza, and others) is generally the first medication prescribed for type 2 diabetes. It works primarily by decreasing glucose production in the liver and improving your body’s insulin sensitivity so that your body uses insulin more effectively.
It should be noted that biguanides like metformin have been tied to a number of side effects, including nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, and generalized weakness. Metformin does not typically cause hypoglycemia (ie low blood sugar); However, low blood sugar may occur if metformin is used with other anti-diabetic drugs.
Finding a natural remedy for high blood sugar can help to decrease healthcare costs as well as provide a gentler alternative.
Below is a list of the best blood sugar-lowering herbs.
Best Herbs for Blood Sugar:
Herbal remedies can provide an alternative way to reduce elevated blood sugar levels. If used sensibly, these natural herbs may be able to balance blood sugar levels in the body.
Below are the best herbs for lowering blood sugar.
Research shows that cinnamon is one of the best herbs for stabilizing blood sugar.
A triple-blind clinical trial involving 140 individuals with type II diabetes found that cinnamon supplementation helps to lower blood sugar levels. In this study, the participants were given 500mg of cinnamon (or placebo) twice daily for 3 months. The cinnamon group was found to have a reduction in body weight, blood sugar levels, as well as cholesterol numbers. It was noted that these health benefits were found to be more effective in patients with higher baseline BMI (BMI ≥ 27).
Another triple-blind clinical trial looked at the connection between cinnamon and blood sugar levels. This trial involved 160 individuals with diabetes who were given either 3g of cinnamon or a placebo daily. Over the course of 90 days, individuals in the cinnamon group had statistically significant reductions in various blood sugar markers, including a 0.2% decrease in glycated hemoglobin and 0.55 mmol / L in fasting blood sugar levels.
A meta-analysis reviewed the research on cinnamon and blood sugar and found that it helps to improve glycemic levels in individuals with pre-diabetes, diabetes, and pre-treatment HbA1c.
Another meta-analysis discovered that studies that used 1.5g of cinnamon daily (or more) had robust blood sugar-lowering effects.
A randomized, placebo-controlled trial found that cinnamon helped to reduce fasting glucose levels, as well as glucose tolerance, in individuals with hyperglycemia over the course of 3 months. In the study, the participants were given either a placebo or 500mg of cinnamon three times daily.
Finally, a clinical trial looked at the effects of Cinnulin PF®, a patented water-soluble extract of Cinnamomum cassia, in pre-diabetic individuals. The study participants were assigned to supplement their diet with either Cinnulin PF® (500mg) or a placebo for 3-months. At the end of the study, the Cinnulin PF® group was found to have had significant decreases in fasting blood glucose (-8.4%), systolic blood pressure (-3.8%), and an increase in lean body mass (+ 1.1%). .
Research indicates that cinnamon can help to stabilize blood sugar in the body.
Ginger is another important herb for hyperglycemia.
A clinical trial involving individuals with type II diabetes found that consuming 1,600-4,000mg of ginger daily improved blood glucose levels. The researchers noted that this improvement in blood sugar levels was noticed during follow-up sessions, implying that ginger may have the ability to support blood sugar stabilization over an extended period of time.
Another clinical trial involving individuals with type II diabetes found that supplementing with ginger extract had promising effects on the body’s ability to metabolize glucose and reduce long-term blood sugar levels. It appears that ginger’s active phytochemical content, namely shogaol, gingerol, and paradol, are responsible for this blood sugar lowering action.
Additionally, researchers found that supplementing with 3g of ginger daily had a positive effect on the overall blood sugar markers. Both fasting blood sugar and HbA1c (average blood sugar levels over 3 months) were reduced after patients took a ginger supplement.
A clinical trial found that ginger extract reduced various blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. The researchers noted improvement in fasting blood sugar, HbA1c, and cholesterol health.
Finally, a clinical trial found that 1.2g of dried ginger every day for 3 months effectively decreased blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In addition to “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL) being lowered, ginger was also able to increase levels of “good” cholesterol levels (HDL).
Clinical research indicates that ginger can help to support healthy blood sugar levels.
Research suggests that turmeric is an important natural remedy for diabetes.
In a 2010 study, researchers found that turmeric Supplementation increases the level of insulin secretion after a meal. Insulin helps move glucose into cells. Your cells use glucose (ie sugar) for energy. Once glucose moves into your cells, your blood sugar level goes back to normal. Individuals with hyperglycemia often have trouble breaking down sugars due to inconsistent insulin levels.
A clinical trial involving 240 individuals with hyperglycemia (or pre-diabetes) found that curcumin extract significantly reduced fasting blood glucose levels and average blood glucose levels after 3 months. Additionally, no participants in the curcumin group were diagnosed with type II diabetes mellitus, whereas 16.4% of subjects in the placebo group progressed from pre-diabetes to a type II diabetes diagnosis.
Another study found that turmeric supplementation decreased symptoms involved with type II diabetes kidney degeneration. Patients received 3 capsules of 500mg turmeric per day for 2 months.
In a comparison study involving diabetes patients, curcumin capsules had a comparable effect to the drug atorvastatin (i.e. Lipitor®), which is used to balance blood lipid levels.
Clinical research indicates that turmeric may help to balance blood sugar levels in the body.
Research indicates that garlic may be one of the best herbs for diabetes.
A comparison study found that taking a garlic supplement alongside metformin had more effective results for type 2 diabetes patients than taking the drug by itself. The drug plus the garlic significantly reduced blood glucose levels as well as other blood sugar markers.
Another trial involving type 2 diabetes patients found that a time-released garlic powder tablet, Allicor®, was able to reduce and stabilize blood glucose levels. The researchers mentioned that supplementation of Allicor® could potentially prevent diabetes-related heart issues.
A trial involving pregnant women found that taking 400mg of garlic daily was able to reduce fasting blood glucose levels. Researchers discovered this action while they were monitoring garlic’s antioxidant activity.
Clinical research suggests that garlic may help to stabilize and reduce elevated blood sugar levels.
Studies show that berberine, a major component in Goldenseal, has significant blood sugar-lowering activity.
A clinical trial involving individuals with metabolic syndrome found that berberine helped to control both blood glucose and blood lipid levels. It was also found to help reduce insulin resistance.
Another clinical trial involving individuals with type 2 diabetes compared berberine vs metformin The researchers found that the blood sugar lowering effect of berberine was similar to metformin.
Based on these clinical trials, it appears that berberine is an effective natural approach for blood sugar regulation.
Based on these clinical trials, it appears that berberine is an effective natural herb for blood sugar regulation.
The effects of these herbs are well-documented and they appear to be a safe alternative for those who suffer from hyperglycemia.
Both clinical research and traditional usage indicate that these herbal alternatives may be a natural way to lower blood sugar.
If you’ve been looking to add natural remedies into your diet that may help with lowering blood glucose, consider trying these herbs!
As always, make sure to consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or adding a new supplement.