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Diabetes and Herbal Remedies and Herbal Remedies

Herbal and Natural Therapies

Herbal remedies usually assist in lowering blood glucose levels

Herbal remedies can assist in lowering blood glucose levels

Many common herbs and spices are claimed to have blood sugar lowering properties that make them useful for people with or at high risk of type 2 diabetes.

A number of clinical studies have been carried out in recent years that show potential links between herbal therapies and improved blood glucose control, which has led to an increase in people with diabetes using these more ‘natural’ ingredients to help manage their condition.

What herbal therapies are available?

Plant-based therapies that have been shown in some studies to have anti-diabetic properties include:

While such therapies are commonly used in ayurvedic and oriental medicine for treating serious conditions such as diabetes, many health experts in the west remain sceptical about their reported medical benefits.

In fact, because certain herbs, vitamins and supplements may interact with diabetes medications (including insulin) and increase their hypoglycemic effects, it is often argued that use of natural therapies could reduce blood sugars to dangerously low levels and raise the risk of other diabetes complications.

Whatever your intended reasons for using these specific herbs, you must always discuss your plans with your doctor and diabetes healthcare team first to ensure they are safe for your condition and determine a suitable dose.

Further herbal therapies

The herbs and plant derivatives listed below have been employed traditionally by native people in the treatment of diabetes, in the areas in which they grow.

Many suffer from an inadequate knowledge base.

Diabetes and Herbal Remedies


Allium sativum is more commonly known as garlic, and is thought to offer antioxidant properties and micro-circulatory effects. Although few studies have directly linked allium with insulin and blood glucose levels, results have been positive.

Allium may cause a reduction in blood glucose, increase secretion and slow the degradation of insulin. Limited data is available however, and further trials are needed.

Bauhinia forficata and Myrcia uniflora

Bauhinia forficata grows in South America, and is used in Brazilian herbal cures. This plant has been referred to as ‘vegetable insulin’. Myrcia uniflora is also widely employed in South America. Studies utilising the herbs as tea infusions suggest that their hypoglycaemic effects are overrated.

Coccinia indica

Coccinia indica is also known as the ‘ivy gourd’ and grows wild across the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally employed in ayurverdic remedies, the herb has been found to contain insulin-mimetic properties (i.e; it mimics the function of insulin).

Significant changes in glycaemic control have been reported in studies involving coccinia indica, and experts believe that it should be studied further.

Ficus carica

Ficus carica, or fig-leaf, is well known as a diabetic remedy in Spain and South-western Europe, but its active component is unknown. Some studies on animals suggest that fig-leaf facilitates glucose uptake.

The efficacy of the plant is, however, still yet to be validated in the treatment of diabetes.


Ginseng is a collective name for a variety of different plant species.

In some studies utilising American ginseng, decreases in fasting blood glucose were reported. Varieties include Korean ginseng, Siberian ginseng, American ginseng and Japanese ginseng.

In some fields the plant, particularly the panax species, are hailed as ‘cure-all.’ As is the case with many of the herbs employed around the world in the treatment of diabetics, further long-term studies are needed to verify the efficacy of ginseng.

Gymnema sylvestre

Gymnema sylvestre is also employed in traditional ayurverdic medicine. The plant grows in the tropical forests of southern and central India, and has been linked with significant blood glucose lowering. Some studies in animals have even reported regeneration of islet cells and an increase in beta-cell function.

Momordica charantia

Momordica Charantia goes under a variety of names and is native to some areas of Asia, India, Africa and South America. Marketed as charantia, it is also known as karela or karolla and bitter melon. The herb may be prepared in a variety of different ways, and may be able to help diabetics with insulin secretion, glucose oxidation and other processes.

Acute effects on blood glucose levels have also been reported.

Ocimum sanctum

Ocimum sanctum is an herb employed in traditional ayurverdic practises, and is commonly known as holy basil. A controlled clinical trial showed a positive effect on postprandial and fasting glucose, and experts predict that the herb could enhance the functioning of beta cells, and facilitate the insulin secretion process.

Opuntia streptacantha

Opuntia streptacantha (nopal) is commonly known as the prickly-pear cactus in the arid regions where it grows.

Inhabitants of the Mexican desert have traditionally employed the plant in glucose control. Intestinal glucose uptake may be affected by some properties of the plant, and animal studies have found significant decreases in postprandial glucose and HbA1c.

Once again, to validate the prickly-pear cactus as an effective means of aiding diabetic patients, long-term clinical trials are needed.

Silibum marianum

Silibum marianum is also known as milk thistle, and is a member of the aster family. Silymarin contains high concentrations of flavinoids and antioxidants, some of which may have a beneficial effect on insulin resistance. The role of milk thistle in glycaemic control is little understood.

Trigonella foenum graecum

Trigonella foenum graecum is known as fenugreek and is widely grown in India, North Africa, and parts of the Mediterranean.

It is also a part of Ayurverdic treatment, and is used extensively in cooking.

Of the few non-controlled trials that have been carried out on type 2 diabetics, most report improved glycaemic control. Further study is certainly warranted.

Further herbs that have been studied, and may have positive effects for diabetic patients include:

  • Berberine
  • Cinnamomym tamala
  • Curry
  • Eugenia jambolana
  • Gingko
  • Phyllanthus amarus
  • Pterocarpus marsupium
  • Solanum torvum and
  • Vinca rosea

Diabetes and Herbal Remedies

Contact us for your diabetes herbal remedies

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Salt: Is it good for you? – How did this topic arise, it is quite strange that as I sat in front of my computer wondering what to put onto my Gloria’s Cottage Craft Trading web site, which might be of interest to all, I was paging through a “Life Magazine” – Autumn 2017 and there was an article on “Less is more when it comes to Salt”.

As I was reading trying to decide whether this would be a good topic, I had a pop-up notice from  “Love too much salt”-Think again as it may affect your thinking.

Amazing co-incidence, so here goes.

From Organic Facts:

A High-Salt Diet May Harm Brain Health

We are aware that a high-salt diet can cause various cardiovascular diseases.   However, are you aware of its effects on other systems of the body?

A high-salt diet is found to cause cognitive impairments, says a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.   Although the study was performed on mice, scientists say that it would have similar effects on human body too.

The study, conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, reveals a new gut-brain link mechanism. It may seem that high-salt diet reduces the blood flow to the brain, interrupting the blood vessels in the brain, ultimately affecting the cognitive function. However, the crux of the matter is that the gut communicates with the brain directly through certain signals via the immune system.


The findings have broadened the content of the link between our dietary habits and thinking power. It lays its root in proving that immune system plays a crucial role in the communication of the gut and the brain. Over-salted gut, independently, damages the nervous system by sending it signals way before the high-salt diet shoots up the blood pressure.

Researchers for the study fed a very high-salt diet to mice and found that it prompted a hyper-response of an inflammatory substance, interleukin-17 also known as IL-17 in their body. High levels of IL-17 resulted released a cascade of chemicals in the inner linings of the blood vessels in the brain.Chips

Eventually, these mice performed very poorly in the cognitive tests as the blood supply to the cortex and hippocampus, which are two regions of the brain crucial for learning and memory, slowed distinctly. The difference in the cognitive functioning of the mice fed with high-salt diet and those fed with low-salt diet was comparatively visible in their maze test where the latter could manage to rescue themselves from the trap easily. The cognitive impairment in the experimental mice was evident even in the absence of high blood pressure.

Scientists found a ray of hope when they realized that the cognitive performance of the mice could be restored by cutting down the high-salt intake. Even compressing the immune signal by drugs resulted in cognitive impairment reversal. Researchers could now discover or invent a therapy or drug to interrupt the inflammatory signals that reach the brain causing various diseases and disorders.  With thanks to Organic

From Life Healthcare (I have taken snippets of interest from their Article)

The recommended daily salt allowance is one (1) teaspoon (5grams).   Most South Africans consume a minimum of 3tsp a day.  Why? Because most salt is hidden in everyday foods.



Excess salt intake can result in High Blood Pressure, thereby contributing to heart dis-ease, stroke and kidney dis-ease.   “High Blood Pressure (otherwise know as Hypertension) can be very dangerous since the dis-ease has many secondary consequences.

Fried Bananas

Most processed foods are higher in sodium, so – read the labels correctly and by choosing fresh, unprocessed foods you can lower your salt consumption.   Get Food-Label Savvy.  All ingredients ae labelled in descending order, so be wary of products that have salt high up on the list. Avoid foods with a sodium content of >600mg per 100g of product.  Other names used for salt are monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda and baking powder.

Most folk associate less salt with meals being less tasty.   Flavour can come from a variety of different her, juices and fresh ingredients that do not contain salt.   One’s palate can be trained to require less salt.  Try eating raw, unsalted nuts, home-made sauces and marinades (eg. Use more lemon juice, garlic, ginger, herbs and spices, to add flavour) fresh fruit as a snack, low-sodium soup mixes, oats rather than pre-packaged cereals, and fresh veggies rather than tinned.


Think of lemon as the “New Salt”.  Gradually introduce low-sodium foods and alternatives and cut back on table salt to adjust your sense of taste, and cut back on table salt until you reach your sodium goal.  This will give you palate time to adjust.   It will also help if you tried out different ways of flavouring your food.

Legislation reducing the salt content of commonly consumed foods came into effect on 30 June 2016. It’s an excellent initiative.   When it comes to behaviour change, much of the resistance to change comes from being afraid of the unknown.   However, if changes have been made in this gradual way, it allows the public’s taste buds to change with minimal effort in a relatively “painless” way.  In addition, the legislation also creates greater awareness to changing salt consumption habits.

Even with the changes in Legislation, some foods affected, such as potato chips and processed meats, will still be very salty, however, consumers should demand less salty products, and at home, add less salt to their cooking and at the table.   The best way to change, is to change what we eat, which will then encourage the big food corporations to change their foods to suit the healthier marketplace.   With thanks to Charlene Yared-West; Margaret Lehobye and

Just a little about Us

Just a little about Us and our Herbs

Welcome to Gloria’s Cottage Craft Trading. 

We have been trading since 2010.   I started out very small and obtained my herbs from an Organic Herb Farmer in the Britz, South Africa area.    I originally just made up herb tea packs, but soon realized that my customers were starting to ask for herbal remedies.


I first studied under Learning Herbs in the USA.  I then did a full Herbal Diploma through the Blackford Herbal Institute in the UK.   As Gloria’s Cottage Craft Trading grew, and our orders increased, we obtained our herbs from the Eastern Cape.

South African Regulations for Herbal Health Products:

During 2014-15, new regulations came about for using herbal products for healing and all companies/people selling Herbal Health products, had to join a recognized association to trade.    We made application to the Cape Bush Doctors under NPO(105461) and our application was approved in February 2016.
All our herbs are grown organically.

2017:  We decided to branch out into packaged culinary herbs.

Other Products

2018:  The company has also started a craft division where we make and have locally made craft products for sale. This includes all types of garden and desktop novelties.   Products like miniature stone ladybirds, tortoises, owls; educational finger puppets; butterfly and dragonfly mobiles; specialised gift boxes, packaging and cards; beadwork.

We will take on special orders for party items and corporate gifts.