Herbs: Nutraceutical Supplements for Diabetes

Diabetes is a group of metabolic disorders associated with chronic hyperglycemia in the blood due to defects in insulin secretion, insulin function, or both. Diabetes mellitus is linked with cardiovascular diseases and kidney and liver failures.

Although the proper treatment of diabetes includes insulin injection continuously to maintain blood glucose levels, nowadays, researchers follow some natural healers such as Adjunct Therapy for diabetes.


Seeds of Fenugreek lower blood glucose in diabetic patients, improve glucose tolerance in human subjects, and are available as a nutraceutical to reduce hyperglycemia.
The studies reported in type 2 diabetes that Fenugreek increases insulin resistance in prediabetes.
Fenugreek may exert its hypoglycemic effect through its alkaloid content by modulation of insulin secretion.
Dietary supplementation of 10 g Fenugreek/day in prediabetes subjects was associated with lower conversion to diabetes with no adverse effects, possibly due to decreased insulin resistance.


Cinnamon extract has an increasing effect on the Phosphorylation activity of insulin receptors and decreasing impact on tyrosine phosphatase activity and shows insulin-like properties.
The effect of cinnamon on the blood glucose of 25 people with type II diabetes showed no significant difference in FBS, glycosylated hemoglobin, glucose tolerance, insulin concentration, and serum lipids concentration by using 1.5 g of cinnamon for six weeks.
Using 2g cinnamon significantly decreased the blood glucose of type II diabetics after 40 days in diabetic patients.
Effects of 1, 3, and 6 g day of whole cinnamon powder on FBG and serum lipids in 60 people with poorly controlled type II diabetes from Pakistan proved.
After 40 days of supplementation, FBG decreased by 18-29%.
Some studies used more than 1 g of cinnamon daily and reported significant effects.


Ginger contains various bioactive substances such as gingerols, shogaols, zingerone, and paradol.
Type 2 diabetic rats fed ginger or gingerol exhibit improved glucose regulation, insulin secretion, and lipid profiles.
Ginger has efficacy for controlling blood glucose levels, and both effects are preventive and therapeutic for Type 2 diabetes.
Findings suggest that ginger can directly increase glucose uptake in an insulin-independent manner that may be beneficial in managing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Many studies provide convincing evidence to support the efficacy of ginger in the management of Type 2 diabetes (3 g/day,1.6 g/day)
In one study, the blood glucose of type II diabetes patients did not decrease by using 1 g of cinnamon for 60 days.

Mature ginger rhizomes are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from ginger roots is often used as a seasoning in Indian recipes. It is a common ingredient in ChineseKoreanJapaneseVietnamese, and many South Asian cuisines for flavoring seafoodmeat, and vegetarian dishes.

Two varieties of ginger in China

In Indian cuisine, ginger is a key ingredient, especially in thicker gravies, as well as in many other vegetarian and meat-based dishes. Ginger has a role in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is an ingredient in standard Indian drinks, both cold and hot, including spiced masala chai.


Colocynth is prescribed in traditional medicine to lower blood sugar in treating type 2 diabetes patients.
Colocynth was administered (100 mg) thrice daily to diabetic cases.
Antioxidant and inhibitory properties on fat oxidation by colocynth may improve metabolic disorders in diabetic patients by scavenging free radicals and lipid oxidation.

Consumption of 100 mg colocynth three times a day in type 2 diabetes for two months reduced fasting blood sugar and HbA1C, and no gastrointestinal complications or hepatic or renal side effects were observed.



Nettle tea controls blood sugar and improves cardiovascular function in type 2 diabetes patients.

Due to the side effects and temporary effects of chemical drugs in treating diabetes, herbal medicines such as nettle as a complementary drug and chemical drugs are recommended for people with diabetes.
Nettle contains compounds that increase insulin sensitivity in muscle and fat cells, thereby increasing glucose uptake into these cells and lowering blood sugar.

Hydroalcoholic nettle extract positively affected blood glucose index and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes patients.
Nettle tea controls blood sugar and improves cardiovascular function in type 2 diabetes patients.
Nettle aqueous extract reduced serum insulin levels in the insulin-resistant group.


The effective components of cumin are aldehyde, γ-Terpinine, α-Sabinin, α-Flandren and α-Kadinin, which Cumin aldehyde is the most effective.
This component is the enzyme inhibitor for α-glycoside

And aldose reductase in the carbohydrate metabolism pathway.
The anti-diabetic property may be due to the existence of these enzyme inhibitors.
Daily supplements of 50 and 100 mg of essential oil of C. cyminum during eight weeks decreased glucose and HbA1c, and serum insulin significantly increased by green cumin.

The reductive effect of green cumin was more than treatment with glibenclamide.
It should be stated that this dose-dependent effect is more effective in improved glycemic indices at higher doses of cumin.
Although the proper treatment of diabetes includes insulin injection continuously to maintain blood glucose levels, nowadays, researchers follow some herbal and natural healers as Adjunct Therapy for diabetes.

Cumin seed is used as a spice for its distinctive flavor and aroma. Cumin can be found in some cheeses, such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional bread from France. Cumin can be an ingredient in chili powder (often Tex-Mex or Mexican-style) and is found in achiote blends, adobossofritogaram masalacurry powder, and baccarat, and is used to flavor numerous commercial food products. In South Asian cooking, it is often combined with coriander seeds in a powdered mixture called dhana jeera.

Cumin can be used as a ground or as whole seeds. It imparts an earthy, warming, and aromatic character to food, making it a staple in certain stews, soups, and spiced gravies such as curry and chili. It is also used as an ingredient in some pickles and pastries.


In India, the seeds are powdered and used in different forms, such as kashaya (decoction), arista (fermented decoction), and vati (tablet/pills), and processed with ghee (a semifluid clarified butter). In traditional medicine practices of several countries, dried cumin seeds are believed to have medicinal purposes, although there is no scientific evidence for any use as a drug or medicine.

Fallah Huseini H, Heshmat R, Larijani B, Fakhrzadeh H, Jafariazar Z, Darvishzadeh F, et al . The clinical investigation of Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad. Fruit in treatment of type II diabetic patients a randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled study. J. Med. Plants 2006; 5 (S2) :31-35
Namazi N, Tarighat Esfanjani A, Avari M, Heshmati J. Effects of Hydroalcoholic Nettle Extract on Insulin Sensitivity and Some Inflammatory Indicator in type 2 Diabetic Patients. Avicenna J Clin Med 2012; 18 (4) :10-14
Mirfeizi M, Mehdizadeh Tourzani Z, Mirfeizi Seyedeh Z, Asghari Jafarabadi M, Rezvani H, Shoghi M, 1393. Effects of cinnamon on controlling blood glucose and lipids in patients with type II diabetes mellitus: A double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Medical Journal of Mashad University of Medical Sciences, vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 533 541.
Nazila Kasaian, Badr al-Maluk Farghani, Maryam Zare, Taj al-Maluk Emami, and Masoud Amini, “Investigation of the effect of fenugreek seed consumption on fasting blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin, and blood lipids in type II diabetic patients,” Medical Journal of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, vol. 37, no. 58, pp. 55-58, 1382
Dashtban R, Mansouri A. A Comparative Study on the Effect of Garlic and Cumin on Glycosylated Hemoglobin in Patients with Type II Diabetes. J Diabetes Nurs 2017; 5 (3) :186-179
Talaei B, Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Jalali B, Mahammadi M, Najarzadeh A, Fallahzadeh H. The Effect of Ginger on Blood Glucose, Lipid, and Lipoproteins in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Controlled Trial. JSSU 2012; 20 (3) :383-95.

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