Ayurveda for Diabetes type 2 provides a holistic approach to control and treat high blood sugar levels. Unlike other Diabetes Treatment options, Ayurveda really focuses on treating the root cause of Diabetes.
Ayurveda states that each individual is unique. That’s why every person experiences different expression of the same disease. For example, the intensity and type of Diabetes symptoms varies in each person.
That’s why Ayurveda provides individualized treatment for a patient’s specific Diabetes symptoms.
Ayurveda for Diabetes goes deeper to remove and treat the root cause of the health imbalances that triggered poor control of blood sugar in the first place.
And in this post, we will focus on all of that. You will learn about Treatment of Diabetes in Ayurveda, natural home based remedies, Ayurvedic herbs, diet and lifestyle that will help you to lead a life free of Diabetes. Let’s dive in!
What You'll Learn | Click on Topic to Go There
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is primarily an endocrine disorder that affects sugar metabolism in the body. In Diabetes, our body’s natural mechanisms for managing and regulating sugar levels are compromised. This leads to frequent spikes (high blood sugar levels) and downs (hypoglycemia) in blood sugar.
In Ayurveda, Diabetes Mellitus is known Madhumeha which is one of Prameha. The word Prameha consists of two words: Pra (indicates excessive in quantity and frequency), and Meha (which is derived from the root ‘MihSecane’ meaning watering with reference to disease of human body).
Therefore the world Prameha means passing of urine profusely both in quantity and frequency. When urine becomes sweet with honey smell, this is one of signs of Diabetes Mellitus (Madhumeha).
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes is of different types, it could be:
Type- 1 Diabetes Mellitus
It is formerly called juvenile diabetes. It is usually diagnosed in children, teenagers and young adults. This is an autoimmune disease causing specific destruction of Beta- cell of pancreas which results in an absolute deficiency of insulin.
Type- 2 Diabetes Mellitus
It is the most common form of Diabetes that progresses slowly. It is commonly seen in adults, but can occur even in childhood. Type 2 diabetes is often inherited and runs in families.
In type 2 diabetes mellitus, there is insulin resistance.
Insulin is the sugar-regulating hormone that prevents excess blood sugar levels. However, in a condition like insulin resistance, your body prevents this hormone from doing its job.
This causes a spike in the amount of sugar circulating in your bloodstream. Yet your body can’t make use of it. This causes high levels of insulin and glucose in the blood. That is what will then go on to cause various symptoms.
With time, the pancreas loses its ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals and clinical diabetes develops.
Development of Diabetes during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). This is basically, disturbance in normal functioning of insulin and carbohydrate metabolism during pregnancy. Hence, GDM often results in high blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes mellitus often develops due to changes in multiple hormones during the gestation period. That’s why it often resolves on its own after delivery of the baby.
Most commonly, when someone just says ‘diabetes’, they are referring to Type II Diabetes Mellitus.
Some common Diabetes symptoms
- Polyuria (production of large volumes of urine)
- Frequent urination
- Frequent hunger
- Fatigue and weakness
- Dry skin
- Vulnerability to infection
- Difficulty in healing wounds
- Long-term complications affecting the cardiovascular system, endocrine system, nervous system, sight, etc. Diabetes affects virtually every system of the body.
Ayurvedic for Diabetes | A Holistic Approach to Treat Root Cause
Ayurvedic medicine has been around for a really long time. It has had a lot of time to advance, and it sure has.
Ayurveda strives to ensure that you’re in a perfect state of health. When Ayurveda refers to the health, it means that “body, mind, and soul are in harmony with themselves and with their environment.” (Peters CJM et al, 2019).
The three bio-energies, called doshas, have to be in harmony for this state of health to be established. These are the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas.
A general progression of the disease usually involves four stages:
- Dosha Utpadaka: An increase of the Doshas.
- Agnimandya – The decline of the digestive fire, Agni.
- Production of ama – Undigested waste products and toxin buildup in the body.
- Samprapti – The further course of the present disease.
Disease Development Process | Ayurveda for Diabetes
This is also the course of the progression of diabetes in Ayurveda. Here is what happens:
- Kapha Dosha increases. When this increase is not addressed, problems escalate.
- It results in a weak Agni (the digestive fire burns low).
- So, sugar accumulates in the body, till it is excessive. This is how ama starts to accumulate.
- Ama masks the normal functioning of multiple body systems such as liver, pancreas, endocrine system and digestive system. This causes symptoms of insulin resistance and poor blood sugar control.
- From there, the other doshas are affected and hence Diabetes symptoms grow worse.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Diabetes
Ayurvedic medicine approaches diabetes holistically. For Ayurveda, health is all-encompassing. It is not just a “looking-okay-on-the-surface” thing.
Now, that is all interesting, you say, but what can I do about it? How do I harness the power of Ayurveda for diabetes?
Ayurveda for diabetes starts with detailed diagnosis of the health symptoms. This helps to identify the stage of progression of diabetes and involved dosha.
Ayurvedic treatment involves physical therapies, herbal formulations, and mental wellness techniques to improve insulin sensitivity and regulate sugar metabolism. Also, one should observe discipline in diet and lifestyle for overall health.
One of the best points about Ayurvedic treatment for Diabetes is that there are no side effects. What you experience with Ayurveda is a complete rejuvenation of body and mind.
Once you become familiar with Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle, you can also support your overall health and that of your family members (if they are dependent on you).
Ayurveda for Diabetes | Herbs, Therapies and Natural Remedies
Here are the primary objectives of Ayurvedic treatment for Diabetes:
- To restore blood sugar balance with Ayurvedic herbs, diet and lifestyle.
- Detoxification of the body. It will help to get rid of the wasteful substances that trigger insulin resistance and Diabetes symptoms
- Pacify and balance the vitiated doshas. This will help to remove the root cause of Diabetes symptoms.
- Promote mental wellness. This helps to reduce stress and improves emotional balance
Ayurvedic Herbs for Insulin Resistance and Blood Sugar Management
All the herbs and formulations that have been shared in this post are for information purpose only. All of these are potent Ayurvedic medicines that should be taken under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor only. Do not indiscriminately use Ayurvedic herbs as it may cause more harm than benefit.
This is the most potent herb in Ayurveda, and its power covers diabetes too.
- It is rich in vitamin C and has antioxidant properties;
- Amla also has chromium, which helps your body respond well to insulin.
As a result, the body will be able to better control sugar levels.
From the prefix ‘tri-‘, you can tell that this is 3-in-1. Triphala consists of three herbs, namely haritaki,, amla and bibhitaki. Its functions are a whole lot. Some are thus:
- It helps in maintaining immunity(Ojas or life force);
- Triphala has antioxidant properties;
- Ensuring proper heart and respiratory functions;
- Triphala can as well serve as an Ayurvedic supplement for your skin and hair.
3. Saptarangi (Salacia oblonga)
Like amla, saptarangi simulates insulin utilization in the body. This ensures that insulin does its job:
- Optimizes the usage of glucose by the tissues;
- The above leads to lower glucose levels in the blood;
- Furthermore, saptarangi has a way of slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates in food. By doing this, sugar levels don’t build up as rapidly.
- This Ayurvedic herb has hypoglycemic properties. It helps decrease blood glucose levels;
- At the same time, it boosts the secretion of insulin;
- It improves sensitivity to insulin;
- This herb helps to lower the level of unhealthy fats present in the blood.
Studies have proven that regularly consuming ashwagandha for 30 days shows positive results.
This little fruit contains 82% of water and not sucrose(another form of sugar).
- It’s hypoglycemic and thus, reduces blood sugar levels;
- Its seed prevents the breakdown of starch into sugar also;
- It has antioxidant properties; and
- increases insulin sensitivity.
Methi: Methi is another Ayurvedic herb with multiple functionalities.
- One of the most important of those is that it helps in managing blood sugar levels. The fiber present in methi forms a thick-gel layer in the intestine, thus preventing the absorption of sugar.
8. Giloy | Guduchi
It is a hypoglycemic agent.
- It helps burn off excess glucose and helps to decrease high blood sugar levels.
- Enhances insulin sensitivity
In Hindi, this literally translates as the “destroyer of sugar.” It lives up to its name in many ways.
- It blocks sugar cravings;
- Has anti-diabetic properties;
- Stops sugar absorption.
- Helps balance insulin levels/increases insulin sensitivity.
10. Aloe Vera
Aloe can help manage your glucose levels normally. The gel from this plant controls glucose in the circulatory system. This helps to curb the food cravings and those of sugar in Diabetes mellitus.
Regular consumption of aloe can enhance your kidney and colon well being, two of the most affected organs by diabetes.
Your Diet | Ayurveda for Diabetes starts with Eating Right
Poor diet and dietary habits create nutritional deficiencies and toxin buildup in the body. These are the 2 primary causes of Diabetes, Hence, when you improve your diet, you also improve your chances of finding relief from Diabetes symptoms.
Foods that you should eat | Best Foods
- Your ideal breakfast should be foods rich in proteins and complex carbohydrates. Some examples are millets, beans, sprouts, eggs and oats.
- Improve digestion with spicy condiments like mint, coriander, tomato, herbal chutneys, etc.
- Ginger tea can help to control sugar levels while serving the double purpose of also reducing Kapha levels.
- Drink warm turmeric water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
- Keep hydrated. As you excrete sugar, sugar pulls a lot of water alongside it. Therefore, you need to replenish that water that has been lost.
- Have a diet rich in protein. This helps your stomach feel full for longer and reduces the frequency of your hunger. Black gram, horse gram, red beans and kidney beans are good sources of proteins.
- Eat small meals often throughout the day, rather than eating heavy meals in one sitting.
- Your dinner should be very light. You do not need so much energy to sleep, do you? Keep dinner light.
Foods that you should avoid | Worst Foods
- Avoid artificial sugars like that in packaged foods. These could worsen your symptoms.
- Don’t skip a meal. Maintain a steady, regular meal pattern. This will help your metabolism deal better with the situation.
- Reduce your consumption of red meat and deep-fried foods.
- Reduce and remove caffeine, alcohol and any other stimulants from your meals and daily routine.
- Remove chili and peppers from your diet. Both of these cause excessive stimulation and push Vata out of balance.
- Remove cold temperature foods and drinks.
- Reduce your intake of dairy, except curd or buttermilk.
- Avoid sugar in any form as much as you can. Strictly avoid artificial sugars and low sugar foods.
Ayurvedic Therapies for Diabetes
Apart from Ayurvedic medicine, diet and lifestyle changes, Diabetes patient may also benefit from Ayurvedic therapies. These Ayurvedic treatment options are employed on case by case basis.
Your doctor may recommend any of the following Ayurvedic therapies based on your specific Diabetes symptoms:
Panchakarma means five works of deep purification that detox, boost metabolism and ojas “vitality”. It involves cleansing and healing of the body as a whole.
All the five procedures are employed in a sequence. This helps to systematically release and flush the toxins out. It establishes the digestive fire and strengthens the weakened body systems.
Panchakarma should be done under the supervision of an Ayurvedic Doctor . This will help you to get maximum benefits. It will also help to prevent any damage (due to lack of knowledge).
Therapies given below are part of the Panchakarma. They can be employed stand alone or in the sequence as charted out by your Doctor.
2. Virechana (Cleansing)
It refers to the cleansing procedures that support the health of the liver and help to flush out toxins. Virechana is primarily targeted to balance the Pitta Dosha.
It helps to establish regular bowel movement and promotes digestive fire for better metabolism.
3. Vamana (Vomiting)
Vamana helps to remove excess Kapha from the upper digestive tract through induced vomiting. Herbal concoctions and medicated oils are used to systematically release the toxins that can be flushed out via Vamana.
It is really helpful in establishing hormone balance and removing the blockade in body channels. Thus, Vamana helps to bring good flow of insulin and improves insulin sensitivity.
4. Nasya (Oil in Nostrils)
It promotes regular flow of hormones by establishing Vata dosha balance.
Nasya involves regular insertion of medicated oil or ghee in both nostrils. It promotes flow of prana (vital life force), supports vitality and longevity.
Other than these Ayurvedic therapies, regular “Abhyanga” or body massage with medicated oils is recommended. Another procedure is “Swedna” or induced sweating via heat treatment or physical activity.
Ayurvedic Lifestyle Tips for Diabetes
Ayurvedic lifestyle tips provide guidance daily routine that helps to establish digestive fire (metabolism) and promote mental wellness. Here’s what you should do:
- Manage stress levels by either avoiding stressful activities or by better planning. Stress is one sure way to get your digestive fire and insulin balance out of whack.
- Practice regular meditation and breathing exercises that will help you to relax and reduce your stress levels.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol as they disturb all dosha and pile up toxins in the body.
- Don’t eat junk food. Eat healthily and avoid getting hungry so that you can better resist the temptation to eat junk food.
- Keep a regular, again, regular, sleep pattern in the night. Learn here on Ayurvedic guidelines for good sleep.
- Try not to sleep in the day so you don’t break your sleep cycles.
- Regular exercise to promote strength and balance.
- Avoid excessive exercise and stressful physical activity.
Exercise and Yoga for Diabetes
Ayurveda medicine confirms that one of the main causes for diabetes is Avyayama (i.e. a lack of exercise).
Ayurveda recommends exercising every day. Remember that Ayurveda is a lifestyle. Therefore, another Ayurvedic remedy for diabetes is exercise. Simply start doing what you’ve not been doing before.
In fact, aside from managing diabetes, the health benefits of exercise are far-reaching. It helps to burn fat, prevent cardiovascular problems, and generally improves the quality of life.
How to Exercise right for Diabetes?
Here are a few tips:
- Exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. That might sound like a lot, but not if you break it down. If you can exercise for 30 minutes for at least 5 days in a weak, you’ll be good. Even in a day, if you cannot exercise for up to 30 minutes at a stretch, break it down into two 15-minute sessions. That might not be as effective, though.
- Let there be a balance between the types of exercises that you do. Aerobics or strength straining or stretches? Balance them up. Experts recommend that you should have up to three days of aerobic exercise in the week. However, there should be no more than two consecutive days of aerobic exercises in a stretch.
- Your exercise efforts should be geared toward pacifying the Kapha dosha.
Yoga for Diabetes
Now, talking about Yoga. What makes it effective as a natural cure for Diabetes?
Well, Yoga is a form of exercise that doesn’t just deal with you moving your body. It also actively engages your mind at the same time. So, you’re gaining on two sides.
You’re building up your body and mind at the same time. What else could be a better way to achieve balance than that?
So, what Yoga asanas do Ayurveda recommend for addressing Diabetes? Here are just a few:
- Mayurasana (peacock position).
- Sun salutation.
- Locust position.
- Leg lifts
- Chest to knee positions.
- Pranayama – Breathing Exercises
Consult your doctor
A lot of really helpful tips have been shared here. However, as a note of caution, you should not just go ahead experimenting with your health. Ensure you consult with your doctor or other healthcare specialists to guide you.
If you would like to fully harness the power of Ayurveda for Diabetes, do contact an Ayurvedic expert around you. It’ll be a choice well worth it.
Now we want to hear from you. Have you taken the route of Ayurveda for Diabetes type 2 management? How was your experience? What worked and what didn’t? Do let us know your questions and suggestions in comments. We will get back to you the soonest
Wishing you vibrant heatlh!
- Use of Ayurveda in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- Diabetes, World Health Organization (WHO)
- Diabetes Mellitus-An Ayurvedic View, Journal of Scientific and Innovative Research.
- An Ayurvedic Approach to Diabetes Mellitus, International Ayurvedic Medical Journal.