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LOCAL THERAPIES

The Filipino Guide to Natural Diabetes Management

By: Marian Erica Rosimo, RPhThe Filipino Guide to Natural Diabetes Management

Resiliency, hospitality, and strong family ties are some of the most vivid qualities of the typical Filipino. But I believe there is no Filipino trait more unparalleled than their love for food – no wonder headlines have it that the Philippines is a diabetes hotspot in the Pacific!

The number of diabetes cases in the country is climbing up each year as many of our countrymen are spending a lot of money and energy on maintenance therapy for it. Many of the drugs are available and accessible, but many are their adverse effects and costs, too. This is why a portion of our population still believes and depends on natural therapy.

Although the newest medicines in the market are potent and promising, natural therapy can (and may) also be good and effective – even modern science is a witness to this. Here are a few ideas on beating diabetes the natural and non-chemical way:

  1. Aloe vera – Even your teenage daughter or your niece in eighth grade knows that aloe vera is in her everyday hair shampoo or in her favorite skin care product. But do they – or even you – know that it may also help your 60-year-old mom with her diabetes? According to studies, aloe vera has the potential of lowering blood sugar and boosting up insulin. In the market, aloe vera for diabetes comes in powders, extracts, and juices.
  1. CinnamonIt may be your typical spice in the kitchen, but it may also be your next step in beating diabetes. Studies have it that cinnamon can reduce sugar levels as well as lower body mass, body fat, and blood pressure (which are very known risk factors of the disease). Visit your doctor and talk to them about taking cinnamon as your everyday supplement for diabetes.
  1. Bitter Gourd ­­– It is not a kid’s usual vegetable of choice, but it is – and should be – on the diet of any diabetic Filipino out there. Bitter gourd or ampalaya in Filipino is one of 10 Philippine herbal medicines. It is also a known supplement for diabetes due to its properties of reducing sugar levels and improving sugar tolerance. Bitter is the taste, but better is the diabetic patient with this veggie on his or her menu.
  1. FenugreekAn ingredient in cuisines, a component of feeds, a medicine to man, fenugreek is one of the world’s all-purpose herbs with all-around functions, especially in managing diabetes. It is known to bring down sugar digestion, increase insulin levels, and decrease the amount of cholesterol in the body. You can grab it in the market and drink it as tea, eat it as food, or gulp it as a capsule to keep your sugar levels on the right track.
  1. Gymnema ­– This herb is a newbie in the market. One interesting thing worth remembering about gymnema is that it means ‘sugar destroyer’ in Hindi. It is a great help in dealing with diabetes as it reduces sugar cravings, lowers sugar levels, increases insulin production, and fights the aggravating factors of the disease. This ‘sugar destroyer’ is available in stores as a supplement in different capsule forms.
  1. Ginseng ­– From the ancient era of kings and emperors to this present time of smartphones and social media, ginseng has always been a legendary plant with equally legendary health benefits. It is a popular and proven antioxidant and booster of immunity, energy and brain functions. As a diabetes supplement, it improves and enhances insulin production, sugar uptake, and pancreatic function and it comes in the form of tea, food, and pharmaceutical products in the market.
  1. SerpentinaAnother herb in folk medicine that has been addressing several ailments in the community is serpentina. Studies show that this plant is able to carry out a multitude of actions in the human body, one of which is its antidiabetic power. It is easily and readily at hand in the form of supplements at your nearest drugstores.

The King of Bitters

These seven plants are just tidbits of the hundreds of natural products out there claiming and proving themselves to be treatments and preventions of various sicknesses, from the simplest colds to the severest cancer. With a lot of choices on the list, which one is a really good deal for diabetes?

Andrographis paniculata, like any other herbal product out there, is known and believed to have a wide range of effects for a wide range of sicknesses. Simply known as serpentina, sinta, or ‘king of bitters’, it is a plant hailing from Southeast Asia with India and Sri Lanka as its primary native homes. It is a branched herb with a life cycle of one year and a height of half to one meter, having green and lanceolate leaves.  Serpentina has been in traditional medicine for many years, preventing and addressing infection, inflammation, and cancer. Studies have it that this plant is a useful aid in diarrhea, diabetes, and conditions of the kidney and the liver. It has antioxidant, anti-fever, and immunostimulant effects in the human body, causing its ability to combat and prevent different maladies.

So how does serpentina exactly work its magic on diabetes? Or the better question is, can serpentina really work its magic on diabetes?

There is actually a sufficient number of researches supporting the effectiveness of this plant in lowering blood sugar levels in the body. This action of serpentina is due to andrographolide. This substance is responsible for improving sugar uptake by adipose tissues, hinders the liver from making sugar, and halts the intestine from taking it in. All these actions of the andrographolide boil down to a subsequent decrease in the level of sugar in the blood, which is the main goal of therapy in treating any diabetic patient.

On top of science is the rich history of the plant. Serpentina has a huge part in traditional Asian medicine – the use of it is prevalent and patronized in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and Thailand. It is also a common herbal remedy in the ayurvedic and unani systems of medicine.

As a result, a lot of medicinal products containing serpentina are out in the market, sold and bought for its antidiabetic ability. A large chunk of these herbal preparations come in the form of powders and capsules for easy and quick consumption. Get your own serpentina product now and be sugar-free!

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