Diabetes mellitus, or madhumeha, is one of the twenty types of pramehas described in Ayurveda. It is the condition in which there is an excessive amount of sugar present in the bloodstream of the person, which is observed in the urine. It is a condition that cannot be treated, but by several methods it can be controlled. Though diabetes is one of the leading causes of metabolic deaths in the world today, by care and perseverance the disease can be controlled and people with diabetes can lead normally long lives.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Diabetes
1. Bael (Aegle marmelos)
The leaves of the bael have anti-diabetic properties. Their extract must be consumed, preferably with a pinch of black pepper in it.
2. Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia)
This is perhaps the most well-known food in the treatment of diabetes. The seeds of the Karela, as it is locally called, have charantin, which helps in reducing the sugars in the blood. As the name suggests, the bitter gourd is indeed bitter and difficult to eat. But it must be eaten in as much bitter form as possible (without sweetening) or its properties will be lost.
3. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum)
Fenugreek can suppress the excretion of sugar through the urine. Thus it can relieve the symptoms of diabetes.
4. Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic has been shown in Ayurveda to contain the best vata pacifying properties. Since diabetes mellitus is a vata disorder, garlic is beneficial. Garlic contains allicin, which works at reducing the sugar level in the blood. It also brings about the disintegration of cholesterol in the body.
5. Jamun (Syzygium cumini)
The jamun is also known as the Indian plum. It has a specific action on the pancreas, which controls the conversion of starch to sugar. The seeds of the fruit have better effects than the pulp.
6. Neem (Azadirachtha indica)
The neem or the Indian margosa tree is known for its medicinally useful bitter leaves and other parts. A paste of its leaves taken daily has excellent properties in reducing the sugar content of the blood.
7. Onion (Allium cepa)
The onion has hypoglycemic (i.e. low sugar) properties. In Ayurveda, it has been investigated thoroughly for its rasayana property. Along with these properties, onion is also a mild aphrodisiac and it can promote the strength of the body. With all these properties, onion becomes a very valuable food in the treatment of diabetes.
8. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric is another useful remedy for diabetes. Its effects are felt better if it is t taken along with amalaki (Indian gooseberry).
(2) Dietary Treatments for Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder, which can be severely aggravated by the wrong kind of diet. Hence the following dietary guidelines must be followed:-
1. Reduce or even completely eliminate sugar in the diet. A hypoglycemic diet must be taken.
2. Obesity is one of the leading causes of diabetes. Hence the food must be devoid of fats and cholesterol producing substances.
3. Include at least one bitter dish in every meal.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatment for Diabetes
If the person is obese, then diabetes becomes more of a problem. In such people, an elaborate Ayurvedic system of treatment is used. The preliminary methods are:-
a) Apatarpana (de-nourishment)
b) Shamshodhana (cleansing)
In these methods, the fats built up in the body are reduced by de-nourishment of the body. This is followed by a cleansing of the toxins that have accumulated in the body. The panchakarma method of cleansing the body may be used.
Once this is done, then the body has to be rebuilt. This is done by:-
c) Santarpana (replenishment)
d) Brumhana (promoting body bulk)
If the person is chronically ill with diabetes, then these methods work. This is effective in treating diabetes in people who are underweight. By these methods, the essential nutrients are allowed to flow into the body and the body is rebuilt in a healthy manner.
(4) Home Medications
1. Continue a diet of bitter gourd cooked in ghee for a period of three months. This will bring the diabetes down by a significant amount.
2. Soak a few seeds of fenugreek in water and keep them overnight. Have these softened seeds in the morning.
3. Have a breakfast of fruits such as oranges, tomatoes and jamuns.
4. Soak dry raisins in water overnight. Drink the water they were soaked in the morning.
5. Prepare a choorna (fine powder) of dry amalaki. Put this powder in water and let it stand for some time. Then filter the water and squeeze the juice of a lemon in it. This must be had early in the morning.
6. Prepare a choorna of amalaki, turmeric and fenugreek taken in equal amounts. Take this choorna with honey every morning, afternoon and evening. This system provides relief from diabetes within about two months.
7. Make a mixture of the juices of mango and jamun taken in equal amounts. This must be taken thrice a day.
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