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Herbal Medicine for Diabetes


While several types of plants are referred to as ginseng, most studies on ginseng and diabetes have used American ginseng. Those studies have shown some glucose-lowering effects in fasting and post-prandial (after meal) blood glucose levels as well as in A1c levels (average blood glucose levels over a 3-month period).
However, larger and more long-term diabetes research studies are needed before doctors recommend using this herbal medicine for diabetes. Researchers also have determined that the amount of glucose-lowering compound in ginseng plants varies widely.


Garlic (Allium sativum) is an herb used to flavor food. Garlic can also be processed and made into dietary supplements. In some cultures, garlic is used for medicinal purposes. The chemical in garlic of most interest for health purposes is allicin, which gives garlic its strong taste and odor. One of the claims for garlic is that the rates of certain diseases are lower in countries where more garlic is consumed. However, it has not been proven that this herb (and not some other factor, such as lifestyle) is the reason.
Research Findings on Garlic
Few rigorous studies have been conducted on garlic and allicin for type 2 diabetes. In the diabetes research studies that have been done, findings have been mixed. There are some studies that suggest that garlic has some biological activities that are relevant to the treatment of diabetes. However, the evidence so far does not support the belief that there is a benefit from this herbal remedy for diabetes.
Side Effects and Other Risks With Garlic
Garlic is safe for most adults. However, garlic appears to interact with various types of drugs. For example, when combined with certain medicines used to treat HIV/AIDS (NNRTIs and saquinavir), garlic may decrease their effectiveness. Garlic may also interact with and affect the action of:
Other possible side effects of garlic include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Stomach disorders
  • An allergic reaction
  • An odor on the breath or skin.
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