Diabetes Herbal Remedies


No one should be taken off insulin on the grounds that “an alternative method will do it,” any beneficial results will show up in a gradual lessening of the need for insulin or medication.


  • Gymnema sylvestre extract (200 milligrams twice a day) improves blood sugar control. It is effective in both type I and type II diabetics.
  • Fenugreek seeds or defatted fenugreek seed powder improves glucose tolerance as well as lowering total cholesterol levels.
  • Panax ginseng is has blood sugar-lowering activity. Caution: Do not use this herb if you have high blood pressure.
  • Salt bush improves blood glucose regulation and glucose tolerance in people with type II diabetes
  • Green tea is used in the treatment of diabetes. 2 cups a day is recommended.
  • Bilberry extract and grape seed extract is used in the prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy (standard dose is 80-160 mg three times/day). Bilberry can help to increase insulin production.
  • Saw palmetto berry is used for nutritional support of all bodily functions.
  • Bitter melon also known as balsam pear, has been shown to lower blood sugar. For the medicinal effects, drink the fresh juice of unripe bitter melon (available in Asian grocery stores or health food stores), take a 1-2 ounce shot of the fresh juice three times/day
  • Ginko biloba extract is used in the prevention and treatment of diabetic neuropathy and may help reduce retinal damage from macular degeneration, a cause of blindness particularly threatening for diabetics.
  • Red raspberry leaves, blueberry leaves, dandelion root, nettle, gentian root, burdock, sumac berries (cold infusion, no sugar added, pau d’arco, uva ursi, and seaweeds such as blue-green algae, and Irish moss offer significant benefits to diabetics. Caution: Do not eat uncooked nettle plants-they can cause kidney damage.
  • Huckleberry helps promote insulin production
  • Cayenne (capsicum) is of considerable benefit in relieving nerve pain associated with diabetes and diabetic neuropathy.
  • Onions and garlic have demonstrated blood sugar lowering action as well as the lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Cinnamon and tumeric can boost the ability of insulin to metabolize glucose
  • Chromium picolinate, although not an herb, is very beneficial to persons with diabetes.  Studies have shown a significant drop in fasting blood sugar and serum insulin when supplemented with 200 or 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate/day


  • Eat a high complex carbohydrate, low-fat, high-fiber diet including plenty of raw fruits and vegetables as well as fresh vegetable juices. This reduces the need for insulin and also lowers the level of fats in the blood. Fiber helps to control blood sugar levels.
  • Supplement your diet with spirulina. Spirulina helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Other foods that help normalize blood sugar include berries, brewer’s yeast, dairy products (especially cheese), egg yolks, fish, garlic, kelp, sauerkraut, soybeans, and vegetables.
  • Get your protein from vegetable sources, such as grains and legumes. Fish and low-fat dairy products are also acceptable sources of protein.
  • Avoid saturated fats and simple sugars (except when necessary to balance an insulin reaction).
  • Eat more carbohydrates or reduce your insulin dosage before exercise. Exercise produces an insulin like effect in the body. Talk to your doctor about the right approach for you.
  • 20-30 grams of fiber/day


A well balanced diet is a more natural source of nutrients and it is best to get as much as possible from food. If you are not eating a varied mixture of the main food groups or foods high in a certain nutrient needed for your health situation then make up the remaining through vitamin and mineral supplementation.

  • Multivitamin/mineral supplement containing the Daily Values (DV) of all essential vitamins and minerals
  • Chromium picolinate: 400-600 micrograms daily. Chromium picolinate improves insulin’s efficiency, which lowers blood sugar levels. Caution: Consult with your doctor before taking any supplement containing chromium.
  • Coenzyme Q10: 80 milligrams daily. Improves circulation and stabilizes blood sugar.
  • Vitamin B complex: 50 milligrams two times daily. Note: Do not exceed 300 milligrams daily from all supplements.
  • Biotin: 50 milligrams
  • Vitamin C: 500 milligrams two times a day.  Caution: Doses of vitamin C larger than 1,200 milligrams a day can produce diarrhea in some people.
  • Vitamin E: 400-800 IU. Caution: If you are taking anticoagulants, you should not take vitamin E supplements
  • Magnesium:250 milligrams two times a day. Caution: If you have heart or kidney problems, you should always check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements
  • Vitamin B6: 100 milligrams
  • Calcium: 1,000 milligrams.  Caution: Do not take calcium supplementation without your doctors approval if you have heart or kidney problems
  • Chromium: 200 milligrams (niacin-bound chromium or chromium picolinate)
  • Flaxseed oil: 1 tablespoon a day
  • Methylcobalamin (active vitamin B12): 1,000 micrograms
  • Mixed flavonoids: 1,000-2,000 milligrams

MEDICAL ALERT: It is best to work with a DOCTOR WHEN YOU ARE ADDING NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS TO YOUR DIABETES TREATMENT PROGRAM. He/she may need to adjust your insulin dosage as your blood sugar drops (especially chromium supplementation)


  • If symptoms of hyperglycemia develop, go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. This is a potentially dangerous situation. Intravenous administration of proper fluids, electrolytes, and insulin may be required.
  • Do not take fish oil capsules or supplements containing large amounts of para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).  Consumption of these products may result in an elevation of blood sugar.
  • Do not take supplements containing the amino acid cysteine. It has the ability to break down the bonds of the hormone insulin and interferes with absorption of insulin by the cells.
  • Do not take extremely large doses of vitamin B12 (thiamin) and vitamin C. Excessive amounts may inactivate insulin. These vitamins may, however, be taken in normal amounts.

In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications.  Such interactions can be dangerous.  Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled.  Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven.  Consult your physician.  Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking.  Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs
are safe.