Diabetes Medication Insulin Effects Found From a Common Herbal Treatment.

In Europe and the Middle East there has been great interest for centuries in natural alternative treatments for diabetes and blood sugar diseases.  Herbal therapies fir diabetes using turmeric, cinnamon, nettle and olive leaf have been used consistently by herbalists throughout the ages with varying degrees of success.  Olive leaves have generally been used by herbalists by harvesting and drying the leaves and then grinding them up to be combined with other synergistic components like nettle leaves or spices like cinnamon or ginger.  The diabetic patient would then infuse the Control-blood-glucose-levels-naturalyherbal tea blend in hot water and drink between one or more cups of this diabetic tea a day to help stabilize blood sugar.  In the Middle East some patients would be instructed to chew on whole olive leaves throughout the day to lower blood sugar.   People often refer to these types of herbal remedies as “home remedies” or “folk remedies” and often dismiss their effectiveness as old wives tales, but several modern scientific studies have had success in showing significant results using this herbal supplement to lower blood sugar

One such study, published in 2013 (Olive (Olea europaea L.) Leaf Polyphenols Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Middle-Aged Overweight Men: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial, De Bock, et al. PLoS ONE 8(3): e57622. March 13, 2013) showed that treatment with olive leaf extract decreased insulin sensitivity and increased insulin production by the pancreas.

Participants in the study were 46 overweight males aged 35–55 years, who because of their higher weight and body mass are likely to be insulin resistant, though none of them had diabetes or any diagnosed blood sugar disease at the time of the study. The subjects were randomized to receive olive leaf extract or a placebo once a day for 12 weeks.  Participants then received no treatment for 6 weeks and then switched over to the other treatment for 12 weeks.

The researchers found a 15% improvement in insulin sensitivity and a 28% improvement in pancreatic B cell function when subjects were supplementing with olive leaf extract.  The only adverse side effect reported by the subjects was one case of increased acne (the subject actually withdrew from the experiment and it was actually determined that he had been receiving the placebo.)

Interestingly, the researchers state “We have shown that supplementation with olive leaf polyphenols for 12 weeks improves two aspects of glucose regulation (both insulin action and secretion) in a cohort of overweight middle aged men… Importantly, the 15–20% improvement in insulin sensitivity observed with OLE supplementation is comparable to those seen with medications commonly used to treat diabetes. For example, metformin improved insulin sensitivity by 17% in a group of sedentary overweight non-diabetics… Remarkably, the observed effects of OLE (olive oil extract) supplementation in our study population is comparable to common diabetic therapeutics (particularly metformin), and our results could have clinical significance for patients with type 2 diabetes.”

You can read the entire published study here Diabetes Medication Insulin Effects Found From a Common Herbal Treatment.

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