Fenugreek and Bitter Gourd for Diabetes
Fenugreek or Methi
Used in paranthas and various Indian curries, Methi has many health benefits. It has been used as a galactogogue – a substance used to increase the secretion of milk in breast-feeding mothers.
In recent times, clinical trials on people with type 2 diabetes show that fenugreek has the valuable property of reducing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the stomach during the process of digestion; it also appears to be capable of stimulating the pancreatic cells to increase insulin production. Both these actions are believed to be a result of the action by an amino acid present in fenugreek called 4-hydroxyisoleucine.
Bitter Gourd or Karela
Most people are familiar with bitter gourd – an unpalatable yet healthy vegetable that is typically cooked in tangy gravy to offset the bitterness.
Several studies have found that karela extracts have the ability to reduce the activity of the alpha glucosidase enzyme and this helps to reduce the hyperglycemia that typically follows a meal. This insulin-like action is believed to be due to a substance called polypeptide-P. Bitter melon has also been found to contain a phytonutrient called charantin that allows the glucose from the blood to be moved into the muscles, adipose (fat) tissue and liver, lowering blood glucose levels in diabetics.
*Please consult your doctor before experimenting with any of the herbal remedies listed in this article.