While several herbs have been proven to lower blood sugar levels, two in particular stand out:
Gymnema sylvestre. This is a plant native to India that, incredible as it may seem, appears to regenerate the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Gymnema has been demonstrated to lower blood sugar levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In a study of 22 type 2 diabetics, supplementation with this herb resulted in improved blood sugar control across the board. Furthermore, 16 of the 22 patients were able to reduce their oral medications while five discontinued them altogether. The recommended dose is 400 mg of Gymnema sylvestre per day.
Banaba leaf (Lagerstroemia speciosa L.). Banaba leaf contains colosolic acid, which activates glucose transport into the cells and effectively lowers blood sugar. In a landmark Japanese placebo-controlled clinical trial, 24 diabetics were given a supplement containing banaba leaf or a placebo three times a day for four weeks. Significant blood sugar declines were observed in the individuals taking the herb (average 153.9 to 133.1 mg/dL); there was little change in the placebo group. Aim for approximately 50 mg of banaba leaf extract daily.
Other botanicals that make it easier to control blood sugar, albeit to a lesser degree, include:
- bitter melon (Momordica charantia),
- Siberian ginseng,
- garlic, and
Look for all of these herbs in your health food store and use as directed.