Stanley International College of Natural Health

College of Natural Health , Herbal Education , Vitamin & Nutrition Education
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  Herbs and Supplements for Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but is becoming more common in children. This form of diabetes is caused when your body either resists insulin or doesn’t produce enough. It causes your blood glucose levels to be unbalanced.

There is no cure. However, many people are able to manage their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise. If not, a doctor can prescribe medications that can manage blood sugar levels. Some of these medications are:

  • insulin therapy
  • metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others)
  • sulfonylureas
  • meglitinides

A healthy diet, physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight are the first, and sometimes, most important part of diabetes treatment. However, when those are not enough to maintain your blood sugar levels, your doctor can decide which medications will work best for you.

Along with these treatments, people with diabetes have tried numerous herbs and supplements to improve their diabetes. These alternative treatments are supposed to help control blood sugar levels, reduce resistance to insulin, and prevent diabetes-related complications.

Some supplements have shown promise in animal studies. However, there is currently only limited evidence that they have the above mentioned benefits in humans.


Using Supplements for Diabetes Treatment

It is always best to let the foods you eat provide your vitamins and minerals. However, more and more people are turning to alternative medicines and supplements. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics are more likely to use supplements than those without the disease.

Supplements should not be used to replace standard diabetes treatment. Doing so can put your health at risk.

It is important to talk to your doctor before using any supplements. Some of these products can interfere with other treatments and medications. Just because a product is natural does not mean it is safe to use.

A number of supplements have shown promise as diabetes treatments. These include the following.


Chinese medicine has been using cinnamon for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. It has been the subject of numerous studies to determine its effect on blood glucose levels. A 2011 studyTrusted Source has shown that cinnamon, in whole form or extract, helps lower fasting blood glucose levels. More studies are being done, but cinnamon is showing promise for helping to treat diabetes.


Chromium is an essential trace element. It is used in the metabolism of carbohydrates. However, research on the use of chromium for diabetes treatment is mixed. Low doses are safe for most people, but there is a risk that chromium could make blood sugar go too low. High doses also have the potential to cause kidney damage.

Vitamin B-1

Vitamin B-1 is also known as thiamine. Many people with diabetes are thiamine deficient. This may contribute to some diabetes complications. Low thiamine has been linked to heart disease and blood vessel damage.

Thiamine is water-soluble. It has difficulty getting into the cells where it’s needed. However, benfotiamine, a supplemental form of thiamine, is lipid-soluble. It more easily penetrates cell membranes. Some research suggests that benfotiamine can prevent diabetic complications. However, other studies have not shown any positive effects.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant. Some studies suggest it may:

  • reduce oxidative stress
  • lower fasting blood sugar levels
  • decrease insulin resistance

However, more research is needed. Furthermore, ALA needs to be taken with caution, as it has the potential to lower blood sugar levels to dangerous levels.

Bitter Melon

Bitter melon is used to treat diabetes-related conditions in countries like Asia, South America, and others. There is a lot of data on its effectiveness as a treatment for diabetes in animal and lab studies.

However, there is limited human data on bitter melon. There are not enough clinical studies on human. The human studies currently available are not of high quality.

Green Tea

Green tea contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants.

The main antioxidant in green tea is known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Laboratory studies have suggested that EGCG may have numerous health benefits including:

  • lower cardiovascular disease risk
  • prevention of type 2 diabetes
  • improved glucose control
  • better insulin activity

Studies on diabetic patients have not shown health benefits. However, green tea is generally considered safe.


Resveratrol is a chemical found in wine and grapes. In animal models, it helps prevent high blood sugar. Animal studies have also shown that it can reduce oxidative stress. However, human data is limited. It is too soon to know if supplementation helps with diabetes.


Magnesium is an essential nutrient. It helps regulate blood pressure. It also regulates insulin sensitivity. Supplemental magnesium may improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics.

A high magnesium diet may also reduce the risk of diabetes. Researchers have found a link between higher magnesium intake, lower rates of insulin resistance, and diabetes.

Gynostemma , Miracle Grass , Jiaogulan


 When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.




What is Jiaogulan?

Praised as “The Herb of Immortality” in China, Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is a climbing vine of the cucumber/gourd family, believed to contribute to a long and disease-free life due to its powerful anti-aging effects and possibly the widest spectrum of health benefits of any plant known to science.

Jiaogulan [is] an herb from my native southern China that I believe possesses the most wide-ranging benefits for human health and wellness of any plant yet discovered. This may seem like a bold statement, but having studied this remarkable tonic herb for more than twenty years, I can assure you that there is strong scientific support to back up my passion for jiaogulan.
Dr. Jialiu Liu, 'Father of Jiaogulan'

The inhabitants of the high mountains of south central China have been using Jiaogulan for hundreds of years as a general health tonic and rejuvenating elixir. They have been drinking it daily as a tea before work to increase their endurance and strength, and after work to relieve fatigue and promote good sleep.

Jiaogulan (pronounced gee-ow-goo-lan) was largely unknown outside of those few remote mountainous regions until the early 1970’s when interest in Jiaogulan by the Chinese government was sparked by the results of the first nationwide population census, according to an article published in the Guangxi Daily Newspaper.1

The census revealed extremely low incidence of cancer, senility and other serious diseases, and an abnormally high percentage of people living to 100 years of age in certain villages of the Guizhou, Guangxi and Sichuan provinces.2, 3, 4

Interested in the reason for these intriguing results, the Chinese government commissioned a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences to conduct an investigation. The scientists considered genetics, climate, diet and many other factors.

They eventually found out that many of the centenarians consumed a tea made from a wild vine as a substitute for the traditional green tea. The locals called it “Xiancao”, or “The Immortality Herb”, and that served as a big hint for the scientists.

As a result of this discovery, and encouraged by promising research on Jiaogulan that had been going on in parallel in Japan since the early 70’s, the Chinese government appointed Dr. Jialiu Liu to lead a team of 16 scientists to investigate the properties of plants growing in the Mt. Fanjing Nature Reserve. After lengthy and extensive study of a large variety of herbs, they singled out Jiaogulan as the most promising plant for further research.

“After many years studying hundreds of herbs, we ultimately came to the realization that Jiaogulan was not only the rainforest’s most precious gift, but was in fact nature’s greatest treasure. We began to use Jiaogulan in our medical university hospital with great success for a wide variety of conditions, and before long, it was also being used at numerous other hospitals throughout China.”
Dr. Jialiu Liu, 'Father of Jiaogulan'

Research into Jiaogulan over the past 40+ years has uncovered so many health benefits that at first it’s difficult not to react with disbelief. We provide references to a subset of the hundreds of scientific studies that support our claims, so you can examine them further if interested.

Jiaogulan’s health benefits are mostly due to it containing extremely high content of a class of plant chemicals known as saponins.

These saponins give Gynostemma its adaptogenic and antioxidant properties, as well as its ability to regulate Nitric Oxide production in the body.

Read on as we examine these properties in detail to see how Gynostemma is capable of making such a broad impact on your health by leveraging and mobilizing the body’s own innate intelligence and capacity for self-healing.


Why is Jiaogulan One of the Best Home Remedies for Diabetes?

There are two root causes for the onset of diabetes: insufficient production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas, and/or the inability of cells in the body to use insulin properly (insulin resistance).

Both lead to increased glucose levels in the blood.

Over time, elevated concentrations of blood glucose result in damage to nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputations.

A number of human and animal studies show that Jiaogulan is able to significantly lower blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) levels in a relatively short period of time, both as a standalone therapy and in combination with an anti-diabetic drug.

Jiaogulan was also shown to reduce the 30 and 120-minute post-load values of an oral glucose tolerance test.

The human studies concluded that Jiaogulan is mainly able to lower blood sugar by significantly improving the insulin sensitivity of the cells.

Although not yet confirmed by human studies, there is much evidence from animal studies to suggest that Gynostemma is also able to increase blood insulin levels and to stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin.

In addition to directly attacking the underlying causes of diabetes, Jiaogulan has been shown to have strong protective effects on the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, the liver and kidneys from both diabetic and non-diabetic damage.

Finally, there have been NO instances of hypoglycemia ever recorded in any Jiaogulan study. The herb has an effect on blood sugar ONLY IF levels are too high.