Throughout history, plants have been utilized as a source of medicine. The ancient literature of India documents the use of plants in the treatment of various human ailments. India boasts around 45,000 plant species, with several thousand used for their purported medicinal properties. In recent decades, studies have shown that many of the plants mentioned in the literature, or traditionally used for diabetes, have actual anti-diabetic properties. A review of 45 anti-diabetic plants and their products has demonstrated experimental or clinical anti-diabetic activity.
The most commonly studied and successful plants for treating diabetes and related conditions include Allium cepa, Allium sativum, Aloe vera, Cajanus cajan, Coccinia indica, Caesalpinia bonducella, Ficus bengalenesis, Gymnema sylvestre, Momordica charantia, Ocimum sanctum, Pterocarpus marsupium, Swertia chirayita, Syzigium cumini, Tinospora cordifolia, and Trigonella foenum graecum. All of these plants exhibit varying degrees of hypoglycemia and anti-hyperglycemic activity.
How to use aloe vera for diabetic patients
According to preliminary clinical and experimental observations, dried sap from the aloe vera plant is a traditional remedy used for diabetes in the Arabian Peninsula, among other traditional remedies. The study involved five patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes and Swiss albino mice. Each patient ingested half a teaspoon of aloes daily for 4-14 weeks, resulting in a decrease in fasting serum glucose levels from 273 to 151 without any change in weight. In normal mice, doses of 10 mg of glibenclamide and 500 mg of aloes, administered twice daily, induced hypoglycemia after 5 days.
After 3 days, only glibenclamide was effective in reducing plasma glucose levels in diabetic mice. However, both glibenclamide and aloes noticeably reduced fasting plasma glucose levels in the diabetic mice after 3 days. After 7 days, the plasma glucose levels were 394 in the control group, 726 in the glibenclamide group, and 64 in the aloes group. The study concluded that aloes contain a hypoglycemic agent that lowers blood glucose levels, although the specific cause of this is unknown.
The objective of this study was to perform a systematic review of published literature on the safety and effectiveness of herbal supplements, vitamins and minerals, and therapies for controlling glucose in patients with diabetes. An electronic search was conducted using Medline, Oldmedline, and the Cochrane Library Database, as well as hand searches and expert consultation. Clinical studies involving human participants that examined glycemic control were included, and two independent investigators assessed the quality of the randomized controlled trials using the Jadad scale.
A total of 108 trials involving 35 herbs, either alone or in combination, and 9 vitamin/mineral supplements were examined, which included 4,565 patients with diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. Of the 58 controlled clinical trials, which mostly included patients with type 2 diabetes, 42 were randomized and 16 were non-randomized. The evidence from 44 of the 58 trials (76%) was positive for improved glucose control, with very few adverse effects reported.
While there is still insufficient evidence to draw definitive conclusions about the effectiveness of individual herbs, they appear to be safe. However, the data suggests that several herbal supplements, such as Aloe vera, vanadium, and nopal, require further study due to their positive results in preliminary trials. Aloeride, which contains pure Aloe vera, has been found to be safe and effective in lowering glucose levels among type II diabetics. Further investigation into the other qualities of Aloeride may yield surprising results.