How can Propolis and Herbs help with Diabetes?
14 November was the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922. This day is known as World Diabetes Day (WDD), it became an official United Nations Day in 2006.
Diabetes is a huge health issue. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 2021 atlas approximately 537 million adults (20-79 years) are living with diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. There are 2 main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes – is where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes – is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1.
The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. People with diabetes type 2 can help manage this through healthy eating, regular exercise and achieving a healthy body weight.
My Interest in Diabetes
A little about my background and interest in diabetes:
When growing up, I witnessed the use of herbs and spices as part of healthy eating or home remedies for many small days to day health issues. This affected me very positively in the way I thought about and approached healthcare, an approach that continued when a few older members of my family were diagnosed with diabetes. As part of my professional education, I have been studying and understanding herbs and other natural products for various chronic illnesses. As part of my doctoral research, I have worked exclusively in exploring many scientific dimensions of the herb Gudmar (sweet killer, G. Sylvester) for diabetes. I have also studied many antidiabetic herbs and natural products.
Nature’s Laboratory Team & Our Herbal and Propolis Products
As part of a team at Nature’s Laboratory working on developing natural products for better healthcare, I believe it is crucial to discuss how herbs and propolis can help support health.
Preventing and controlling diabetes needs a disciplined and consistent effort. Diet plays an important role in the prevention and control of diabetes. Some spices, herbs and natural products have consistently been proved as major key players in lowering blood sugar levels and improve blood glucose metabolism.
We at Nature’s laboratory consistently strive to develop and manufacture high quality herbs/ herbal products, products from the beehive and other natural products, many of which have been shown to help in the regulation of glucose and insulin in addition to helping with secondary complications associated with diabetes. Let’s have a look at some of our herbs:
Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn. family Fabaceae, is a unique medicinal plant used for several centuries for its broad-spectrum efficacy. The various parts of this plant are used as an herb, food, spice, and in traditional medicine. Fenugreek has been proved as an efficient antidiabetic and several longer-term clinical trials have shown reductions in fasting and post-prandial glucose levels and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c). [International Journal of Functional Nutrition 1.1 (2020): 2.]
Cinnamomum zeylanicum is amongst the world’s oldest and most frequently consumed spices and is used as an herbal remedy. Cinnamon has been proved to be responsible for increasing metabolism of glucose by improving intestinal absorption of glucose and increasing peripheral uptake of glucose. [Advances in Applied Science Research, 2011, 2 (4):440-450]
The Indian Ayurveda describes several herbs for the management and treatment of diabetes mellitus among which Gymnema sylvestre (Asclepiadaceae) is recognised as a potential antidiabetic herbal drug which has the capability of simultaneously regenerating β-cell and stimulating insulin secretion. [Chem Biol Interact. 2016 Feb 5; 245:30-8].
Asparagus racemosus extract has been reported as exerting stimulatory action on insulin secretion, mediated through physiological pathways. [Molecules,2022 27(13), 1-58.]
Apart from the above mentioned, we, at Nature’s Laboratory work with the following herbs which have been shown to have a supportive role in relation to diabetes:
Tinospora Cordifolia, Withania somnifera, Aloe barbadensis miller, Ocimum sanctum, Curcuma longa, Zingiber officinale, Berberis vulgaris, Azadirachta indica, and Glycyrrhiza glabra. [Molecules,2022 27(13), 1-58.]
Apart from herbs and herbal products Nature’s Laboratory has extensive experience of research and developing products with propolis. Propolis is a resinous material collected by the Apis mellifera bee from leaf buds and cracks in the bark of various plants. Propolis contains a variety of chemical compounds, including polyphenols, flavonoids, amino acids, vitamins. Propolis from various parts of the world has been explored for its antidiabetic potential and it showed activity by reducing blood sugar levels [Phytother Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):1554-61], acting as an antioxidant which ultimately improved the defence mechanism in diabetes and has also been found to be a protector of beta cells of the pancreas (which is involved in production of insulin in the body). [J Family Community Med. 2011 Sep-Dec; 18(3): 152–154.]
Consult your health care practitioner for advice on how herbs and propolis can be used to support your health, alongside a healthier lifestyle such as a balanced diet, weight control and exercise.
Written by Bhagyashree Kamble PhD.