Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lowering Blood Sugar~Naturally

Chances are you know someone, probably more than one person, who is affected by some form of diabetes. Or, perhaps, you are one of the 57 million Americans who are pre-diabetic right now. But did you know there’s an herb for that? Actually, there are several.

The National Diabetes Statistics, 2011 estimates that diabetes affects 25.8 million people of all ages. There are 18.8 million diagnosed and 7 million undiagnosed, or 8.3 percent of the United States population. But what is more alarming than these statistics is the growing number of early onset diabetes in younger populations.

Further, they report that diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non traumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the U.S. It is also a major cause of heart disease and stroke and it is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

The medical community follows standard medical practices and pharmaceutical treatments, including insulin to treat diabetes in the United States today. But there is a growing movement, as this disease becomes so much more intimate to us all, that is taking another look at possible natural alternatives that can help us control, prevent and possibly reverse the ravaging affects of diabetes.

The first two and the most obvious additions to a treatment plan are exercise and diet. A combination of an aerobic and a strength training program will do wonders to lower stress levels, decrease belly fat and stimulate your metabolism. And as we all know (we just have trouble following it) a diet high in fiber and low in fat and bad carbohydrates is our best prevention against blood sugar issues.

But beyond that, there are herbal extracts and tinctures that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine that could greatly enhance your quality life and heal damaged cells that have been affected by dangerous sugar levels.

Gurmar, also called Gymnema Sylvestre, Cinnamon and Blueberry Leaf are three herbs whose properties have shown great promise as a natural way to control and possibly eliminate blood sugar issues.

The herb, Gurmar has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 2000 years and is an indigenous plant in the tropical forests of India. It has been used to treat diabetes, digestion and urinary tract infections, as well as obesity and hypoglycemia. Known as the “Sugar Destroyer” this herb boosts the amount of insulin your body produces, reduces excessively high blood sugar levels, and allows your body to process sugar more efficiently.

Gumar herbal tincture is unique in that it actually helps block both the taste of sugar and its absorption in the body. It has been receiving more attention, recently, because of its ability to reduce and control blood sugar levels in diabetics. Because it can reduce blood sugar levels, it can be a very good weight management tool as well.

By stimulating the circulatory system, Gumar may help restore pancreatic function by removing sugar from the organ and increasing urine secretion. It is believed that it may help lower blood sugar levels in Type-2, adult onset diabetics by blocking efficacy of sugar in the system and reducing blood sugar levels after sugar consumption. There is also some evidence that Gumar may possibly regenerate or revitalize the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, as well.

It is interesting to note that Gumar extract is without side effects, unless you are on pharmaceutical medications that perform a similar function and exerts its blood sugar-lowering effects only in cases of diabetes. When given to healthy volunteers, Gumar extract, does not produce any blood sugar lowering or hypoglycemic effects.

As with any new substances you may introduce into your body, anyone with diabetes should use Gumar only under the supervision of a physician and should never be used in place of insulin. Gumar can enhance the blood glucose lowering effects of insulin and hypoglycemic drugs and, consequently, blood glucose levels. Because of this, your blood glucose levels should always be monitored closely by your health care provider.

The second herb is Cinnamon. There is a growing interest in the use of Cinnamon and the potential benefits it may offer in the treatment of diabetes. Recent U.S.D.A. reports have demonstrated that extracts of Cinnamon may increase insulin activity, enhance the breakdown of glucose and improve blood sugar concentrations.
Type-2 diabetes represents 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes and is the most chronically diagnosed form of diabetes. Daily Cinnamon consumption may actually lead to a dramatic reduction in blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides by as much as twenty percent in Type-2 diabetic patients who are not taking insulin. When you lower your blood sugar level and improve your insulin resistance weight loss will often follow. So, much like Gumar, Cinnamon can become a part of your weight loss program as well.

There are 4 types of diabetes. Two types are fully recognized and two are still being researched to fully understand the anomalies of each type.

Type-1 diabetes or juvenile-onset diabetes develops when the body’s immune system destroys the pancreatic beta cells. These are the only cells in the body that make the hormone insulin that regulates blood glucose. If these cells are destroyed, the body can no longer deliver glucose to the cells through the bloodstream. The bloodstream fills with sugar and begins to damage the body.

Type-2 diabetes, or once called, adult-onset diabetes, usually begins as insulin resistance when the cells are not using insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce insulin.

Type-3 diabetes is brain based and has been linked to Alzheimer’s. This can type of diabetes can lead to a disruption brain synapses that make up memory and cognition. The brain becomes insulin resistance, the brain becomes inflamed and cognitive and memory blockages can occur.
Type 4 diabetes is hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose. When this type of diabetes occurs it is recognized by elevated insulin levels that lead to chronic persistent and often progressive pain, as well as a loss of sensation. As the symptoms worsen, patients develop digestive, cardiac, sexual and other severe complications. It can be and often is progressive.

For type-3 and type-4 diabetes, Blueberry Leaves extract may be helpful because of their anti-inflammatory properties. This herb has been shown to lower blood sugar when consumed on a daily basis. Blueberry Leaf can also stop damage to the blood vessels, which is sometimes associated with the symptoms of these types of diabetes. But more importantly, Blueberry Leaves can reduce inflammation and lower triglyceride levels in the blood.

The recent discovery that Blueberry Leaf extract reduces blood sugar levels by 26% and reduces plasma triglyceride by 39% indicates its usefulness in the treatment of diabetes. The herb contains a compound called Myrtillin which acts like insulin, though it is not as strong as insulin. And, it is far less toxic. A single dose of Blueberry Leaf can show continuous results for several weeks.

Blueberry and Blueberry Leaves are considered safe and have no documented drug interactions. However, coumarins in Blueberry may increase blood thinning activity and inhibit platelet activity. Because Blueberries and Blueberry Leaves are known to reduce glucose levels, diabetics should monitor their sugar levels closely. It is recommended that people who are having surgery stop using Blueberry Leaf at least 2 weeks before the procedure.

Properly managed blood sugar levels help ensure diabetics a healthy system and protect against many chronic health conditions such as, neuropathy and retinopathy. Overwhelmingly, diabetes is almost always avoidable, or at least controllable. Make good choices, educate yourself, and explore all of the possible resources that might improve your quality of life.

Disclaimer: The information presented herein by New Way Herbs is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ashwagandha Offers Herbal Rejuvenation

A tonic for overall good health and stamina

For anyone who suffers from overwork, overindulgence, nervousness, chronic fatigue, low libido or restlessness, the medicinal herb, ashwagandha, may be a good choice for you, as a general herbal tonic. Ashwagandha, also known as “Winter Cherry” has been used in traditional Indian and African medicine for centuries. The plant contains chemicals that work as a restorative element, to help combat the effects of daily stress and to strengthen the immune system after an illness.
Ashwagandha is a unique herb with anti-stress adaptogenic action that helps us cope with the stress of everyday life. It promotes the body's ability to maintain homeostasis, resist stress and stimulate the immune system. Ashwagandha prevents or minimizes imbalances from; poor diet, lack of sleep, mental or physical strain, or chemical toxins in the environment, which can lead to disease. It is especially beneficial in stress related disorders such as hypertension, high blood pressure and insomnia.
The literal meaning of the name, ashwagandha, is from the Sanskrit language. It is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell or sweat. The symbolic meaning indicates that the herb possesses the virile spirit and power a horse. It is often referred to as “Indian ginseng” even though, botanically, ginseng and ashwagandha are unrelated.
Although the ashwagandha plant is cultivated in many of the drier regions of India, northern Africa, and the Middle East it is now being cultivated in milder climates, like the United States, as well. It is a short shrub with leaves that are covered with a dense matte of wooly hairs, small green flowers and orange-red fruit (the size of a raisin) with coagulating properties. The tuberous roots are more common in Western herbal remedies, but the leaves and flowers also possess beneficial therapeutic applications. Ashwagandha contains many useful medicinal chemicals, including withanolides, (steroidal lactones), alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and a variety of sugars.
The rejuvenating properties of ashwagandha help nourish tissues, particularly muscle and bone, while supporting the proper function of the adrenal glands and the reproductive system. It has been used as mild muscle relaxer and as an anti-inflammatory for a variety of ailments including arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia and menstrual discomfort.
Ashwagandha has been used to balance, strengthen, and calm the nervous system. Researchers at the University of Texas found that the extract of Ashwagandha performed in a similar manner to GABA. Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system and plays a role in regulating neuronal excitability. In humans, GABA is also directly responsible for the regulation of muscle tone. This might explain why ashwagandha is so effective in reducing stress, anxiety and depression. It has been used as an herbal treatment for mental ailments, convulsions, seizures, panic attacks, mood fluctuations, lowered mental power, mental retardation, phobias, schizophrenia, psychosis, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, insomnia and alcohol paranoia.
Not surprisingly, ashwagandha is a wonderful aphrodisiac. Since prehistoric times, it is believed that Ashwagandha has the ability to enhance sexual activity. It is mentioned in the Kama Sutra and is a common herb used in ayurvedic medicine for impotency. Ashwagandha strengthens both male and female reproductive systems, increases lactation, increases sperm count and helps with infertility while increasing libido.
However, the most common cause of functional male impotency is often accompanied by a low sperm count and low sperm mobility. Male impotency can be physiological, psychological, or both. Ashwagandha has been found to effectively reduce oxidative stress and is traditionally used as a sexual tonic for men for this reason. Ashwagandha is a powerful aphrodisiac that helps in enhance sexual powers and physical endurance and promotes fertility.
The applications for overall wellbeing that can be managed with ashwagandha are endless. It is a tonic for overall good health and stamina. To slow the debilitations of aging, as a mild sedative and muscle relaxer, as an antioxidant, to improve respiratory, memory and brain function to strengthen the nerve tissue and to promote restful sleep and an overall sense of wellbeing, ashwagandha may be just what you have been looking for.

Contraindications: Do not use Ashwagandha Herbal Extract if you are taking anxiety or anti-seizure medication. This herb may potentiate the sedative effect of barbiturates. You may feel as if you want to sleep more if you take this herb and pentobarbital (medicine used to help you sleep). Pregnant women should avoid this herb and if you are breastfeeding consult your doctor before taking. Do not take Ashwagandha if you have leukemia and are being treated with chemotherapy. Symptoms of allergic reactions are: feeling cold (decrease in body temperature) or upset stomach.
Disclaimer: The information presented herein by New Way Herbs is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.