Information and Solutions for Men and Women

Natural Remedies that May Help Prevent or Treat Type 2 Diabetes

Cinnamon, ginseng, and fenugreek are some natural ways to control blood sugar levels.

Research suggests that some herbs, plant compounds, and nutritional supplements could people with diabetes or insulin resistance in a number of different ways, including:98117388389

  • Help control blood sugar levels.
  • Regulate insulin production.
  • Minimize the harmful effects of diabetes.

At least theoretically these benefits could help prevent or slow hair loss related to diabetes.

Nutritional & Herbal Remedies for Diabetes & Insulin Resistance


(Agrimonia eupatoria)

Question: Can liverwort help with diabetes?

Answer: Commonly known as liverwort, agrimony is thought to lower blood sugar. Preclinical research suggests it behaves like insulin. Agrimony is typically used in teas and tinctures. 98390


Question: Can almonds help with diabetes?

Answer: In a clinical trial, consuming almonds helped people with type-2 diabetes control blood sugar levels. 391


Question: Can aloe help with diabetes?

Answer: Extracts from aloe leaves could help control diabetes by: 392

  • Boosting insulin sensitivity.
  • Increasing insulin secretion.
  • Inhibiting enzymes involved in carbohydrate digestion.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Question: Can alpha lipoic acid help with diabetes?

Answer: Alpha lipoic acid is a natural antioxidant produced by the body and also present on some of the food we eat. Research shows that some of its effects go beyond quenching free radicals and may in fact help fight diabetes. 393

For example, alpha lipoic acid increases certain proteins that:

  • Improve insulin sensitivity.394
  • Boost cell energy, and reduces insulin resistance.394-396


Question: Can herbal ashwagandha help with diabetes?

Answer: Preclinical studies suggest ashwagandha can lower high blood sugar levels and fight insulin resistance. According to results of a small clinical trial, combining ashwagandha and shilajit could also significantly reduce fasting blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. 397


Question: Can herbal astragalus help with diabetes?

Answer: Commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, astragalus contains compounds that can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. 398399


Question: Can eating avocado help with diabetes?

Answer: Results of a small clinical trial show that eating avocado could help control blood glucose and insulin levels after eating. 400

(Vaccinium myrtillus)

Question: Can bilberry help with diabetes?

Answer: The leaf of the bilberry bush (found in North America and Europe) contains anthocyanoside, a flavonoid antioxidant that is known to reduce blood sugar and strengthens blood vessels in eyes (helping prevent damage from diabetic retinopathy). Recommended dosage is 240-360 mg a day in tablets form or teas. 98

Results of a cross-over clinical trial corroborate that concentrated bilberry extract supplements can help people with diabetes. The randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study involved overweight men with type-2 diabetes. Blood tests showed that bilberry significantly reduced post-prandial blood sugar and insulin levels. 401

Biotin with Chromium Picolinate

Question: Can biotin and chromium supplements help with diabetes?

Answer: Clinical studies show these dietary supplements can help regulate blood sugar, including in patients with poorly controlled type-2 diabetes. Both compounds are essential to metabolizing carbohydrates. 402

Chromium is a mineral involved in the proper management of insulin and glucose levels. One doctor with the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center recommends 400-600 mg/day of chromium with medical supervision. 112

In fact, a meta-analysis of clinical studies shows that chromium supplements can significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels. Chromium has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels as well. 403

Bitter Melon

Question: What is bitter melon? Can bitter melon help with diabetes?

Answer: This climbing vine with a fruit that resembles a bumpy cucumber is native to southern Asia. In clinical tests it has been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels and to reduce spikes in blood sugar after eating. 98

Bitter melon achieves this via 2 chemical compounds it contains: 98

  • Polypeptide-p, which acts like insulin to make cells more receptive to take in glucose.
  • Charantin, which stimulates insulin production.

Bitter melon is typically used in whole fruit form, extract, tincture, or juice. 98

Black Cumin Seeds
(Nigella sativa)

Question: Can black cumin seeds help with diabetes?

Answer: Preclinical research suggests that extracts from black seeds (a variety of cumin with different compounds in it) may be able to help people with diabetes by: 392

  • Helping to regulate glucose levels.
  • Weight loss (similar to metformin).

Borage Oil

Question: Can borage oil help with diabetes?

Answer: Gamma-linolenic acid is a long chain fatty acid with many health benefits. Research indicates it improves circulation through capillaries, like those near hair follicles. Borage seed oil is a rich source of this type of linolenic acid. 112404

One capsule daily is recommended. 112

(Artium lappa)

Question: Can burdock help with diabetes?

Answer: The chromium and fiber in the seeds from this biennial relative of the sunflower that grows in Asia, Europe, and the United States is helpful to diabetics. Chromium regulates blood sugar levels and fiber helps prevent the absorption of sugars from the intestines. Burdock is available in cereal grains, but you can also take 2 to 4 ml of burdock tincture daily, or 1 to 2 grams 3 times a day in capsule form. 37

Fruit of the burdock plant also have anti-diabetic effects. In preclinical studies, artigenic acid from burdock fruit significantly reduces high blood sugar levels. The compound also stimulated insulin secretion, but without increasing body weight. 405

(Anacardium occidentale)

Question: What is cajuiero? Can cajuiero help with diabetes?

Answer: Lab tests using a formulation from the bark, stems, nuts and resin of this tropical evergreen tree suggest that cajuiero lowers blood sugar by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase, which increases cell receptivity to insulin. It is typically used as a tinctured liquid form, and may take 3-4 weeks to achieve lower blood sugar. 98

Animal studies suggest that extracts made from cajuiero leaves alone may also help regulate blood sugar levels. Cajuiero leaves also show significant antioxidant activity. 406

Chanca piedra
(Phyllanthus niruri)

Question: What is chanca piedra? Can chanca piedra help with diabetes?

Answer: Clinical trials in India show formulations from this tropical plant (also known as the kidney stone tree) for a week can lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. 98

It also inhibits the creation of sorbitol from chronic high blood sugar levels. Sorbitol is a neurotoxin that causes nerve and eye damage in diabetics. 98

Chanca piedra is typically used in tablet and tincture form. 98

(Salvia hispanica)

Question: Can adding chia seeds to smoothies, cereal, and salads help people with diabetes?

Answer: Historically consumed by the Tohono O'odham Native American tribes of the Sonoran Desert area, chia was often combined with legumes. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and antioxidants such as quercetin, caffeic acid, and kaempferol, and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. 117

In a clinical trial, overweight adults with diabetes who added chia seeds to their diet showed significant weight loss and reduced waist size. Chia seeds also reduced inflammatory factors while helping patients control blood sugar levels. 407


Question: Can people with diabetes eat chocolate?

Answer: Compounds in chocolate increase insulin sensitivity, which may help prevent diabetes. 408


Question: Can cinnamon help lower blood sugar?

Answer: Results of a clinical study showed that 1, 3, or 6 mg (.2 to 1.2 teaspoons) a day of cinnamon noticeably reduced blood glucose levels. 118


Question: Can coffee help prevent diabetes?

Answer: Evidence shows that people who regularly drink 3-4 cups a day of coffee have reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Research suggests these anti-diabetic benefits are due to the chlorogenic acids and caffeine in roasted coffee beans. 409

Curcumin Compounds
(Curcuma longa)

Question: Can turmeric compounds help prevent or treat diabetes?

Answer: The primary pigment compounds that make turmeric spice yellow have also proven beneficial. In clinical trials involving patients with pre-diabetes curcumin supplements prevented the development of diabetes. Curcumin also significantly lowered fasting blood sugar levels in patients with type-2 diabetes. 388389


Question: Can echinacea help people with diabetes?

Answer: Research suggests compounds in echinacea could help improve insulin sensitivity, which could help regulate blood sugar levels. 410

However, experts caution that people with type-1 diabetes may not want to use echinacea. That's because of its immune system effects, since type-1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition. 411

Evening Primrose Oil

Question: Can evening primrose oil help prevent thinning hair in people with diabetes?

Answer: Gamma-linoleic acid in evening primrose oil is a substance that improves circulation through capillaries, like those near hair follicles. The recommended dosage is 2-6 capsules daily. 112


Question: Can fenugreek help prevent or treat diabetes?

Answer: Used in ancient Egypt for mummification and in ancient Greece, India, and Arab countries medicinally, the compounds in the leaves and seeds of this clover-like herb offers many health benefits. Clinical studies in India have shown that 25 mg/day lowers blood glucose levels. 98119

Garlic oil
(Allium sativum)

Question: Can garlic help prevent or treat diabetes?

Answer: Research shows garlic oil may help regulate blood glucose levels and reduce insulin resistance. 392


Question: Can ginseng help prevent or treat diabetes?

Answer: A perennial herb, varieties of ginseng are native to shaded areas in the United States and Asia is known to improve fasting blood sugar levels. Note that Siberian ginseng is not a true ginseng; it is a different species. 118

Globe artichoke
(Cynara cardunculus)

Question: Can globe artichoke help people with diabetes?

Answer: Preclinical and clinical research indicates extracts from globe artichoke reduces fasting blood glucose levels. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels after eating. Artichoke is also high in fiber. 390

Gotu kola
(Centella asiatica)

Question: Can gotu kola help treat diabetes?

Answer: Research suggests anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in gotu kola can help lower high blood sugar levels. 412

Guar gum

Question: Can guar gum help treat diabetes?

Answer: Extracted from the guar bean, grown primarily in India and Pakistan, guar gum reduces blood sugar levels. 118


Question: Can guggul help prevent diabetes?

Answer: Preclinical studies suggest guggul could help reduce insulin resistance. 413


Question: What is jambul? Can jambul help with diabetes?

Answer: Seeds from this long-living tropical evergreen native to India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asian countries have been shown to lower blood sugar and also possess anti-inflammatory qualities. Using 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons in cooking daily is recommended. 98


Question: Can magnesium help treat diabetes?

Answer: Studies in Brazil have shown that magnesium helps diabetics maintain normal blood glucose levels. 20-30 mg daily is recommended. 112

Milk Thistle

Question: Can milk thistle help treat diabetes?

Answer: Silymarin supplements from milk thistle can lower fasting blood sugar levels and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels (as measured by HbA1c levels). 414


Question: Can eating oatmeal help treat diabetes?

Answer: A meta-analysis of multiple clinical studies shows that eating oats can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Oats lower HbA1c, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin levels. 415

(Olea europaea)

Question: Can olive extracts help treat diabetes?

Answer: Clinical research shows that extracts from olive leaves can significantly lower A1c levels, which indicates it can help regulate blood sugar levels. 392


Question: What is rehmannia? Can rehmannia help treat diabetes?

Answer: Also known as Chinese RR and Di Huang, the roots and aerial parts of Rehmannia glutinosa are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Japanese herbal medicine to lower blood sugar levels (confirmed in animal studies). It also has anti-inflammatory echinacosides and purpureaside C. 120


Question: Can resveratrol help treat diabetes?

Answer: Studies suggest the antioxidant resveratrol could help people with diabetes by: 416

  • Boosting insulin sensitivity.
  • Improving carbohydrate metabolism.

Question: Can soybeans help with diabetes?

Answer: Research shows compounds in soybeans could slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream by inhibiting the enzymes that break down carbohydrates. 392

Stinging nettle
(Urtica dioica)

Question: Can stinging nettle help prevent and treat diabetes?

Answer: Stinging nettle could help pre-diabetics and diabetics by improving insulin sensitivity. 392

(Camellia sinensis)

Question: Can tea help with diabetes?

Answer: Research shows that tea can inhibit one of the enzymes involved in digesting carbohydrates, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. 392

Vitamin K

Question: Can vitamin K help prevent or treat diabetes?

Answer: Results of a 3-year clinical trial suggests vitamin K supplements could help prevent insulin resistance and lower fasting blood glucose levels in men. 417


Question: Can zinc help people with diabetes?

Answer: Diabetics have been shown to excrete zinc in urine, and studies have shown that zinc-deprived animals develop high blood sugar, so zinc supplements may be helpful in maintaining appropriate zinc levels. 30-50 mg/day is recommended (over 30 mg with medical supervision only). 112

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