Diabetes mellitus is a medical condition in which the capacity to produce insulin in the body is marginally or significantly reduced. Because of this condition, glucose uptake by the body cells becomes deficient, and blood sugar levels increase. Type 1 diabetic patients produce little or no insulin, and hence need insulin injections to control their blood sugar. Type 2 diabetic patients can control their blood sugar with a combination of diet, weight management, exercise and glucose-lowering medications.
Diabetes mellitus is known in Ayurveda as “Madhumeha”. Ayurveda describes the pathology of this disease as resulting from a disturbed “Meda, Kleda and Kapha”. It is believed that all the body tissues lose their vitality because of this condition.
Type 1 diabetic patients who are dependent on insulin injections should monitor their blood sugar and continue the injections regularly. Type 2 diabetic patients may be able to control their blood sugar with Ayurvedic medicines and other measures like diet restrictions and weight control.
Traditional Ayurvedic formulations useful in diabetes are: Arogya Vardhini, Vasant Kusumakar Rasa, Chandraprabha Vati, Prameha Gaja Kesari, Lodhrasava, Khadirarishta, Jambvasava, Trivanga Bhasma, and Suvarna Makshik Bhasma. Herbal medicines useful in this condition are: Haridra (Curcuma longa), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Karela (Momordica charantia), Saptakapi (Casearia esculenta), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Khadeer (Acacia catechu), Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Patol (Trichosanthe dioica), Vata (Ficus bengalensis), Udumbar (Ficus glomerata), Jamun (Syzygium cumini), Bilwa (Aegle marmelos) , Gudmar (Gymnema sylvestre), Methi (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Asana (Pterocarpus marsupium),Shilajit (Purified Bitumen) and Kumbha (Leucas cephalotes).
Most of the herbal medicines mentioned above reduce blood sugar gradually, and stimulate the body to secrete insulin on its own. These medicines also act on the “Meda” and “Kapha” tissues, reduce “Kleda”, and restore body vitality. Thus they act on the basic pathology of this disease. Taken for long periods, these medicines may help to reverse the disease process in diabetes, and give long lasting relief, or sometimes, even a permanent cure. Unlike modern medicines, medical emergencies like hypoglycemia (a sudden lowering of blood sugar) are not seen with the use of herbal medicines.
Long-term complications of diabetes include diseases related to the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart, brain, intestines, sexual organs, skin and feet. Ayurvedic medicines are very effective in preventing or significantly reducing symptoms related to these complications, and are useful in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Ayurvedic medicines used specially for this are: Tapyadi Loha, Kaishor Guggulu, Agni Tundi Rasa, Vish Tinduk Vati, Kanchnaar Guggulu, Trayodashang Guggulu, Ekanga Veer Rasa, Vaat Gajankush Rasa and Amalaki (Emblica officinalis).
Thus, Ayurvedic medicines are useful both for reducing blood sugar and for treating long-term complications. These medicines can be used independently or as additional therapy to modern medicines. Ayurvedic treatment can significantly reduce the morbidity (severity of disease) and mortality (death rate) associated with diabetes mellitus.