Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is a disease that is observed to be generally higher among the older and the obese. Originating from an absolute or relative lack of insulin, it gives way to abnormalities in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fat in the body. Characterized by abnormally high levels of blood glucose and its subsequent excretion through urine.

Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is a catchall phrase for elevated blood sugar levels. The many types are classified according to their cause.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is usually caused by an autoimmune process, in which the body loses the ability to make insulin or can only make a very small amount of insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is the most common form of diabetes around the world. It is caused by a double defect of resistance to insulin along with an inability to make enough insulin to overcome the resistance.
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)
A form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy as hormones from the placenta cause malfunctioning of insulin receptors.
Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA)
LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) is rare and also called “late-onset” diabetes as it usually occurs in adults aged 30 and above.
Monogenic Diabetes
Monogenic diabetes is a rare type of diabetes that’s caused by the mutation of one gene.
Brittle Diabetes
Brittle diabetes is a rare form of insulin-dependent diabetes and is marked by frequent and severe episodes of hypoglycemia and/or hyperglycemia.
Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes
People who have cystic fibrosis (CF) may have scarred pancreas which stop producing normal amounts of insulin, causing the person to become “insulin deficient.”
Chronic Pancreatitis-Associated Diabetes
Pancreatic diabetes is caused by chronic pancreatitis, a prolonged inflammation of the pancreas which causes extensive damage to the islet cells of the organ which can no longer produce insulin.

Ayurveda and Diabetes

Based on the Ayurvedic doshas, there are 20 types of prameha (urinary anomalies). 4 types caused due to vitiation of Vata dosha (considered incurable), 6 varieties of Pitta dosha vitiation (considered difficult to cure) and 10 varieties due to Kapha dosha vitiation (considered easy to cure). Diabetes is one of the types of prameha.

Diabetes Mellitus is called Madhumeha in Ayurveda (Madhu = honey and Meha = urine). Some authors also call the disease Kshoudrameha (Kshoudra = honey).

Diabetes mellitus is primarily associated with the Vata dosha. It results due to an aggravation of Vata, the biohumor associated with wind and dryness. When Vata is impaired/obstructed, ojas that is sweet in nature is transformed into astringent that makes it honey-like in nature. Obstructed Vata causes all the tissues of the body to deteriorate and thus, affects all the vital organs.

In some cases, type 2 diabetes can be set off by a Kapha dosha imbalance. When people with an imbalanced Vata overeat to comfort themselves, Kapha can become imbalanced, and with time it can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Another major cause of diabetes mellitus is impaired digestion. When digestive toxins start to accumulate in the system due to poor digestion, they might start to damage pancreatic cells and hamper the production of insulin. Therefore, the body is not able to use glucose correctly resulting in high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and sugar in urine (glycosuria).

An important fact to know about madhumeha or diabetes is that it is classified as a Maha Rog (major disease) in Ayurveda. This is because it is a chronic metabolic disorder that can affect the entire body if not treated in time. It is also one of the diseases that develops over a period of time. This means that the pathophysiology of diabetes mellitus would take at least 3-5 years to manifest completely. It is extremely uncommon for it to see marked symptoms between 1-6 months; the only time you can see immediate evidence is in exceptional cases like pregnancy, injury, surgery, psychological conditions, infections, etc.

Ayurvedic treatment of diabetes is based on the fact that it is a metabolic disorder and hence, merely controlling sugar levels is just correcting a symptom. This is where Ayurveda differs from conventional medicine in its treatment as it does not concentrate on solely balancing sugar level, but also ensuring that no further complications arise.

Therefore, the Ayurvedic approach to treating diabetes asks for a change in the lifestyle of the person. With medication and diet, the patient is also advised an active and healthy lifestyle. Here are the various factors that are considered in treating diabetes by Ayurveda:

  • Prakriti of the patient
  • Dosha dominance in disease
  • Dosha vitiation
  • Obstruction in srotha
  • Manasika Prakriti
  • Ahara and Vihara
  • Hereditary factors

Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus

  • Constant feeling of hunger and thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Quick exhaustion and drowsiness
  • Low sexual urge
  • Possible anemia
  • Constipation
  • Itching around genital organs
  • Palpitation
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent urination, in large amounts and recurring UTIs
  • Sweet taste in the mouth
  • Bad body odor

Root Causes of Diabetes Mellitus

  • Overeating and consequent obesity
  • Excessive intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates
  • Overloading of proteins and fats which get converted into sugar if taken in excess
  • Excessive tension, worry, anxiety and grief
  • Hereditary factors
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Pregnancy

Ayurvedic Treatment of Diabetes

Herbs
  • Neem (Azadirachta Indica): One tablespoon (5 ml) of neem juice taken daily in the morning on an empty stomach for 3 months is helpful in diabetes. 10 neem leaves chewed or leaf powder taken daily in the morning also controls diabetes.
  • Gurmar (Gymnema Sylvestrae): Its name literally means “sugar destroyer”, because chewing the leaves destroys the ability to taste the sweetness of foods. This greatly reduces the craving to overeat sweet foods. Gymnema appears to greatly increase the number of insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas, while returning blood sugar levels to near normal. It increases the activity of enzymes responsible for glucose uptake and utilization.
  • Karela (Momordica Charantia): Karela or bitter gourd is very beneficial as a natural remedy for diabetes. Drink 50-70ml of karela juice daily to balance insulin levels. The compound charantin can help balance blood sugar levels.  Cut 3-4 karelas, soak them in water with salt and turmeric for 15 minutes. Now take these pieces and grind them with some water and a few drops of lemon. Another way to consume this is by mixing karela juice with amla juice and drinking this natural diabetic supplement daily. You can also add a teaspoon of fresh turmeric paste to this juice mix to enrich its healing potential.
  • Nayantara (Vinca Rosa): Chew on five blossoms can be chewed on an empty stomach.
  • Vijaysar (Pterocarpus Marsupium): Use a tumbler made out of Vijasar wood. Fill the tumbler with water and let the water soak in the essence from the wood. This medicated water can be drunk on a regular basis to reduce blood sugar levels. Tumblers are easily available in Ayurvedic stores and online. Their efficacy lasts for about 45 days after which you should get a new one.
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum): Add this spice to your everyday meals. You would need half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day to lower insulin resistance and get diabetes benefits. Drink cinnamon in your tea or dust some cinnamon powder on an apple and eat for breakfast.
  • Bael (Aegle Marmelos): Make an antidiabetic remedy by making a paste of bael, tulsi and neem leaves, five each.  Consume this remedy on an empty stomach every morning. This is a singular natural diabetes medicine for Type 2 diabetes.
Ayurvedic Supplements (to be taken under physician’s guidance – Consult Now)  

              Diabet Guard

              Madhumehari Granules

              Karela Capsules

              Shilajit

              Shilajitvadi Bati

              Chandraprabha Bati

              Diafree Capsules

              Basantkusumakar Ras

              Neem Karela Juice

              Mamjewa Ghanvati

              Triphala

Diet
  • Avoid sugar in any form-rice, potato, banana, cereals & fruits containing high percentage of sugar content.
  • Do away with fatty stuff. Emphasis should be on raw vegetables and herbs as they play a part in stimulating the pancreas and enhancing insulin production.
  • Go for the following low-calorie, low-fat alkaline diet of high quality natural foods.
  • Seeds: Purslane, bitter gourd and fenugreek
  • Vegetables: Bitter gourd, cucumber, onion, drumsticks, ivy gourd, fenugreek greens, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, okra and kale
  • Fruits: Indian gooseberry, jambul, grapefruit and bael fruit
  • Grains: Bengal gram, green gram, pearl millet, string beans, rye, buckwheat and black gram. Reduce intake of oats, rice, and wheat.
  • Spices: Turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, cinnamon, bay leaves, curry leaves, cloves, nutmeg, garlic, onion, ginger and other spices like allspice, basil and sage
  • Dairy Products: Homemade cottage cheese and various forms of soured milk such as curd and buttermilk is fine in small amounts if patient does not suffer from obesity
  • Foods to avoid: Jackfruit, mango, banana, potato and fruit juices
  • Take fish oil supplements which are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. They can increase insulin sensitivity and reduce body fat.
Lifestyle
  • Don’t indulge in sleeping during the daytime.
  • One should take care not to injure yourself as you would take time to heal. As a result, there is a possibility of the wound becoming septic.
  • Should take adequate eye care as the disease in serious condition might affect the eye (for example, diabetic retinopathy).
  • If you are afflicted by any other disease, one should take prompt actions since immunity and resistance power is low.
  • If you suffer from fluid retention (edema), soak your legs in rice water for 15-20 minutes for boosting microcirculation and bringing down the swelling.
  • Stress of the physical or mental kind can make the body produce harmful hormones which elevate blood sugar levels. Keep stress at bay by practicing yoga and meditation. Exercising regularly, listening to soothing music and engaging in a calming hobby can help you beat stress.
  • Smoking is another factor that greatly increases the risk of diabetes manifold. Smoking can also cause other health complications to be exacerbated.
  • Nails should always be cut carefully using a nail cutter instead of using other sharp objects.
  • Check labels of food items for sneaky sugar contents. For example, sliced bread can contain up to 2 gms of sugar in every slice. Similarly, everyday food items like granola bars, dried fruit, canned juice and tomato sauce can contain hidden sugar in the form of names like sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and maltose.
Yoga
  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
  • Locust Pose (Shalabhasana)
  • Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
  • Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)
  • Plough Pose (Halasana)
  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Apart from Yoga, taking some daily some exercise like walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, etc.