Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes has confounded conventional medicine as conventional therapies often fail to control blood sugar levels and regulate insulin production. Could Ayurveda hold the key to treatment for these difficult cases?
A recent clinical study seems to indicate the answer is yes. Researchers from India’s SKSS Ayurvedic College conducted a clinical study of 67 patients with type 2 diabetes. Of these, 36 of the patients were recently diagnosed, and 31 patients had chronic type 2 diabetes.
The 31 chronic diabetes patients were taking conventional medications that were unable to adequately control their symptoms. The 36 newly-diagnosed patients were not taking medication at the time of the study.
The researchers then gave each patient of both groups 200 milligrams of an ancient Ayurvedic formula called Saptarangyadi Ghanavati three times a day following each meal. The patients who were taking conventional medication continued their treatment along with taking the herbal formula.
The researchers randomly selected six of the patients from each group and tested the patients’ blood insulin levels following meals and during fasting. The researchers found that the medication-taking patients had significantly increased first phase insulin levels compared to before treatment with the herbal combination. Among the newly diagnosed group, glycosylated hemoglobin levels – HbA1c – were significantly decreased. Fasting blood sugar and post-meal blood sugar levels were significantly decreased in both groups.
The ancient Saptarangyadi Ayurvedic formula consists of 82 herbs that have gone through a concentration step and combined into a vati – or tablet. The ancient Charak Samhita text indicates the formula is effective for the treatment of blood sugar issues, constipation, arthritis and other inflammatory issues.
Ayurvedic clinical documentation has shown that the formula can also be useful in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
One of the primary herbs in this formula is Salacia chinensis, also called Salacia. Extracts of Salacia chinensis have been shown to significantly reduce cholesterol, triglycerides and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in rats. Another study found the relative Salacia oblonga herb able to dramatically improve diabetes among rats.
The World Health Organization has estimated that 180 million people around the world have diabetes, and this has been suggested to likely double by the year 2030.
Perhaps Ayurveda should be considered more closely for diabetes treatment. With an ongoing clinical history of over 5,000 years without dangerous side effects or polluting the environment with its medicines, Ayurveda offers a low cost treatment option provided by nature.
Written by Case Adams, Naturopath
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