Title – Alternative Medicine for the Treatment of Diabetes

Bhupesh Chandra Semwal 1* Sonia Singh1, Dr. Kalyani Divakar2

Introduction-Diabetes mellitus often referred to simply as diabetes. Diabetes is a syndrome characterized by disordered metabolism and abnormally high blood sugar, hyperglycemia resulting from insufficient levels of the hormone insulin. The world health organization recognizes three main forms of diabetes mellitus type1 type2 and gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurring during pregnancy. Which have different causes and population distributions. While, ultimately, all forms are due to the beta cells of the pancreas being unable to produce sufficient insulin to prevent hyperglycemia, the causes are different. All types have been treatable since insulin became medically available in 1921. Type 1 diabetes, in which insulin is not secreted by the pancreas, is directly treatable only with injected insulin, although dietary and other lifestyle adjustments are part of management. Type 2 may be managed with a combination of dietary treatment, tablets and injections and, frequently, insulin supplementation. While insulin was originally produced from natural sources such as porcine pancreas, most insulin used today is produced through genetic engineering, either as a direct copy of human insulin, or human insulin with modified molecules that provide different onset and duration of action. Insulin can also be delivered continuously by a specialized pump which subcutaneously provides insulin through a changeable catheter1.

Classification of diabetes-
Type one diabetes mellitus
Type two diabetes mellitus
Gestational diabetes mellitus2
Signs and symptoms-

Frequent urination, Excessive thirst, Extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, Increased fatigue, Irritability, Blurry vision 3

Top Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes


An excessively high body weight increases diabetes risk. The Body Mass Index ( BMI) is a simple, widely accepted means of assessing body weight in relation to health for most people aged 20 to 65 (Exceptions include people who are very muscular, athletes, pregnant or nursing.) A BMI greater than 27 indicates a risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other health problems which include cardiovascular disease, and premature death.

Apple-shaped figure

Individuals who carry most of their weight in the trunk of their bodies (i.e., above the hips) tend to have a higher risk of diabetes than those of similar weight with a pear-shaped body (excess fat carried mainly in the hips and thighs). A waist measurement of more than 100 cm (39.5 inches) in men and 95 cm (37.5 inches) in women suggests an increased risk.

Sedentary lifestyle

Being overweight – another risk factor for Type 2 – can be prevented by regular physical activity. A second, independent benefit of regular physical activity is improved blood sugar control in persons who already have type 2 diabetes.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

Ninety% of people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Unhealthy eating contributes largely to obesity. Too much fat, not enough fiber, and too many simple carbohydrates all contribute to a diagnosis of diabetes. Eating right is can turn the diagnosis around and reverse or prevent Type 2.

Increased Age

            It’s a sad but true fact. Age increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.  The older we get, the greater our risk of type 2 diabetes. Even if an elderly person is thin, they still may be predisposed to getting diabetes. Scientists theorize that the pancreas ages right along with us, and doesn’t pump insulin as efficiently as it did when we were younger. Also, as our cells age, they become more resistant to insulin as well.

 High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol

            High BP and high cholesterol are the hallmark risk factors for many diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes. More than 40 percent of people with diabetes have abnormal levels of cholesterol and similar fatty substances that circulate in the blood. These abnormalities appear to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease among persons with diabetes.

Family History and Genetics

            It appears that people who have family members who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for developing it themselves. African Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Native Americans all have a higher than normal rate of type 2 diabetes.

History of Diabetes in Pregnancy

            Nearly 40 percent of the women who have diabetes during their pregnancy go on to develop type 2 diabetes later, usually within five to ten years of giving birth. Giving birth to a baby that weighs more than nine pounds (4 kg) is another symptom of gestational diabetes.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance

            Impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose can precede the development of type 2 diabetes. These conditions are determined through blood tests. While persons affected with these problems do not meet the diagnostic criteria for diabetes, their blood sugar control and reaction to sugar loads are considered to be abnormal. This places them at higher risk, not just for the development of type 2 diabetes (an estimated one in ten progress to type 2 diabetes within five years), but also for cardiovascular disease. For this group, preventive strategies including lifestyle changes and regular screening for diabetes mellitus must be a priority4.

Alternative medicine for treatment of diabetes

 Ginseng –Although there are several different types of ginseng, most of the promising studies on ginseng and diabetes have used North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). Those studies have shown that North American ginseng may improve blood sugar control and glycosylated hemoglobin (a form of hemoglobin in the blood used to monitor blood glucose levels over time) levels.

 Chromium-    Chromium is an essential trace mineral that plays an important role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism and helps body cells properly respond to insulin.

 Magnesium-  Magnesium is a mineral found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and in nutritional supplements.Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions. It helps regulate blood sugar levels and is needed for normal muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, immune function, blood pressure, and for bone health. Some studies suggest that low magnesium levels may worsen blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes. There is also some evidence that magnesium supplementation may help with insulin resistance.

Cinnamon-Cinnamon is a glycosides it improves blood glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.

 Zinc-   The mineral zinc plays an important role in the production and storage of insulin. There is some research showing that people with type 2 diabetes have suboptimal zinc status due to decreased absorption and increased excretion of zinc. Food sources of zinc include fresh oysters, ginger root, lamb, pecans, split peas, egg yolk, rye, beef liver, lima beans, almonds, walnuts, sardines, chicken, and buckwheat.

 Aloe Vera Gel-Although aloe vera gel is better known as a home remedy for minor burns and other skin conditions, recent animal studies suggest that aloe vera gel may help people with diabetes. A Japanese study evaluated the effect of aloe vera gel on blood sugar. Researchers isolated a number of active phytosterol compounds from the gel that were found to reduce blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels.

Gymnema Several preliminary studies suggest that the herb gymnema can lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Because gymnema may lower blood sugar levels, people taking medications for diabetes or using insulin shouldn’t take gymnema unless they are closely monitored by their health care provider

VanadiumVanadium is a trace mineral found naturally in soil and many foods. It is also produced during the burning of petroleum. Vanadium has been found to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. It appears to mimic many of the actions of insulin in the body. The use of vanadium for diabetes, particularly without the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner, is not recommended, because the dose needed to affect blood glucose levels can be potentially toxic. The typical amount of vanadium found in the average diet (less than 30 micrograms per day) appears to have little toxicity5.

Neem– The leaves of Neem posses’ anti-diabetic properties. The juices of these leaves are helpful in controlling the blood sugar level in diabetics. Neem is in fact an herbal medicine used for the treatment of various other diseases also such as skin problems, warm infections, ulcer etc.

Sweet potato leaves– The leaves of sweet potato are high value in preventing diabetes, by lowering blood sugar level. It is highly nutritious vegetable. Preparation of sweet potato leaves is used in the tea of diabetic patients.

Madhuca- The Indian name for Madhuca is Madhua it is also posses’ excellent anti-diabetic properties and it is highly beneficial in treating raised blood sugar levels.

Mango leaves– The leaves of Mango helps in lowering the blood sugar levels in diabetics. The fresh leaves of mango are socked in water for an overnight. Then they are squeezed well in the water before filtering them in the morning6.

 Discussion and Conclusion– Managements of diabetes with the agents devoid of any side effects is still challenge for the medical system. This has lead to increase in the demand for natural products with antihyperglycemic activity having fewer side effects. Metabolic imbalance causing diabetes mellitus is a characteristic of materialistic world. Differences in social structure, psychic stress, obesity, hormonal imbalance and heredity are optimizing the growth of pandemic. Increasing population with diabetes has a huge requirement of effective remediation. The vast variety of medicinal plants, which are used traditionally for their anti-diabetic property. However, careful assessment including sustainability of such herbs, ecological and seasonal variation in activity of phyto-constituents, metal contents of crude herbal anti-diabetic drugs, thorough toxicity study and cost effectiveness is required for their popularity. These efforts may provide treatment for all and justify the role of novel traditional medicinal plants having anti-diabetic potentials.










Bhupesh Chandra Semwal

Lecture Pharmacology,GLAIPR Mathura

Sonia Singh

Lecture Pharmacognosy,GLAIPR Mathura

Dr.Kalyani Divakar

HOD OF pharmacology Acharya & B.M Reddy College of Pharmacy Bangalore