Diabetes is the leading epidemic that affects the human population today. The numbers are disturbing. If you are suffering from diabetes or know someone who is, you know how difficult diabetes management is. But research has shown that diabetes management can be done naturally using Ayurveda.
The modern medicines are failing and that is why it is time to move back to our ingenious medicines. Ayurveda is one of the oldest and effective therapies is well placed to solve this massive epidemic.
According to Ayurveda, a disease is nothing but the lack of ease in the body or dis-ease. Ayurveda prescribes health as the absence of disease. In Ayurveda, our bodies are machines and when fed with the right food, it fuels the body.
Our bodies are designed to do physical tasks. However, with modern-day jobs and lifestyle sitting has become the norm. In fact, sitting is considered a new addiction.
Due to our sedentary lifestyles and consumption of unwholesome packaged or fast foods, our bodies suffer from lifestyle diseases including diabetes.
What exactly is diabetes according to Ayurveda?
In Ayurveda, diabetes is a lifestyle disorder which is caused primarily by laziness excess eating low nutrition high-fat food, excess lethargy, and having a sedentary lifestyle.
In Ayurveda, diabetes or Madhumeha is a subset of the larger set of urine related disorders called Premaha (urological disorders in Ayurveda). Diabetes or Madhumeha is the condition of passing sweet urine, which means that there are un-metabolised sugar particles in the blood.
Insulin is produced by the pancreatic beta cells. This insulin binds with the glucose from the food and then takes them to the cell for the production of energy.
Based on this notion, diabetes can be of two types, type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, your body attacks your B-cells in the pancreas and thus halts the production of insulin in the body.
The second type or type 2 diabetes happens when either the insulin is not being produced optimally or the insulin is not able to bind to the cells. We will talk specifically about type 2 diabetes in this post.
In type 2 diabetes, during this process what happens is that the excess glucose which was supposed to bind with insulin, is not metabolized and it remains in the bloodstream for a long time.
When it is in the bloodstream for a long time, several complications can arise. One of them is pressure on the kidneys to filter auto flush excess sugar from your body this is the reason why your urine in case of diabetes looks like honey and smells like sugar.
Ayurveda recognised this long before mentions Madhumeh or in several Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita. it is one of the urinary disorders that are produced by the body due to vitiation in the dosha.
Ayurvedic divides the urological disorders (Premahas) into 20 categories, out of which 4 are caused by vitiation in Vata dosha, 6 in Pitta dosha and 10 due to Kapha dosha.
Ayurvedic uses a completely plant-based approach in diabetes management of type-2 diabetes.
In Ayurveda, every individual is made up of five basic elements Earth, water, air, ether and fire. These five elements form doshas.
Based on the constitution of these five elements at the time of birth, the Prakriti of the person is decided. It can be either Vata, Pitta or Kapha dominant or it can be a bi-doshic and tridoshic personality.
Diabetes is a type of Premaha (urological disorder) which is known as Madhumeha it is said that can be caused either by Kapha imbalance or by Vata imbalance.
If you are not aware of the Ayurvedic doshas you can go with an article on Ayurvedic dosa.
In order to correct the dosha or to treat Madhumeh it is imperative to identify the imbalance in doshas and treat the vikriti or imbalance accordingly.
The treatment is performed using several therapies and herbs. Ayurveda has been using herbs since time immemorial for treating all sorts of disorders including diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Ayurveda
Before the actual diagnosis of the disease, you can check for the symptoms yourself. If you see these symptoms persistently, there are chances that something is wrong with the body and it is giving you signals.
Symptoms of diabetes in Ayurveda are as follows,
1. Tar on the teeth
2. Oily skin
3. Sweetness in the urine
4. Boils and rashes on the skin
5. Difficult to heal wounds
6. Hot Palm and soles
7. Excess urination
The diagnosis of diabetes in Ayurveda is the same as in modern medicine.
Fasting: A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes. If it’s 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes.
Postprandial or post-meal (PP): For those who do not have diabetes less than 140 mg/dL is normal. For those who have diabetes less than 180 mg/dL is normal.
Diabetes management using Ayurveda
Ayurvedic lifestyle for diabetes management
Ayurveda or Vedic lifestyle’s first rule for diabetes management is to change your lifestyle. But what is the best lifestyle that suits the diabetic person?
Ayurveda recommends having a very active lifestyle if you want to reduce the impact of excess sugar in your body. In order to do so, these steps are explained in the points below
1. Wake up early
Waking up early has several benefits. When you wake up in the morning at around 5:30 the world is a quiet place. The air is fresh. It is especially beneficial to go out in nature for at least 10 minutes every morning. This fuels your body with Prana or life energy and increases your metabolism.
2. Drink warm water in the morning
The second step is to drink a glass of lukewarm water every morning just after waking up. You can take warm water with a couple of herbs in the morning which will be discussed in the next section.
Or simply drink a warm glass of lemon and honey water. It helps regulate your sugar and breaks your fast.
3. Remain active throughout the day
People with diabetes are especially advised to perform hard exercises for at least 50 to 60 minutes every day.
This helps in burning excess calories from the body, uptake of glucose from the blood, reducing excess sugar from the blood in the form of sweat.
Running is one of the best exercises for people suffering from diabetes. Apart from running, Crossfit is another very good example to perform really vigorous exercises.
Yoga can be one of the most beneficial exercises when it comes to diabetes. It not only helps you control your muscles and sweat your toxins out but the twists and inversions allow activation of your pancreas and your digestive system.
4. Move often
Try not to sit in one place for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. Get up and refill your bottle or walk around for a minute or two before you get back to your work.
5. Indulge in an Ayurvedic massage
There are specific Ayurvedic massages to target the root cause of the problem. For eg., if diabetes and excess weight gain go hand in hand then herbal rice and milk poultice massage is a great option. However, take these treatments under the guidance of trained doctors and staff.
An everyday Abhyanga or oil massage is another great option which can be easily done at home yourself. Massage a warming oil like sesame oil in winters and a cooling oil like coconut oil in summers to massage your entire body before bathing.
Massage yourself for 15-20 minutes or 10 minutes if you are in a hurry. Remove excess oil with a homemade bathing powder or a mild soap.
6. Emesis using saltwater
Induced vomiting or emesis is one of the purification techniques used in treatments like Panchakarma and Shatkarma. This is a very powerful treatment which gives instant results and is a very strong detoxifying technique.
Make at least 4-5 glasses of lukewarm water with salt and drink it on an empty stomach as fast as you can. Drink till the time you feel like vomiting. Then let it stay inside for a minute or two and induce vomiting using your fingers.
This removes excess bile and toxins from the stomach and resets your digestive juices accordingly.
If you are new to Ayurveda, it is beneficial to learn from an expert first before trying it yourself. Also, some people are scared of vomiting and it is very hard for them to let go. Letting go of the resistance is the first step in treating anything.
People suffering from diabetes should favour light, easily digestible food with a low glycemic index. A plant-based diet is the most beneficial diet for diabetes management.
Food is medicine in Ayurveda. With the right type of food and proper combinations, it is possible to even reverse diabetes.
1. Avoid meat, eggs and Dairy at all cost. Ghee or clarified butter is the only acceptable dairy product which can be used in diabetes management using Ayurveda.
2. Wheat and rice are high in carbohydrates and increase blood sugar instantly after eating. But grains are also important in a plant-based diet. The trick is to eat rice along with 1 teaspoon of clarified butter or ghee.
This reduces the glycemic index of grains significantly and promotes the better release of glucose in the body. It keeps you full and allows better absorption of nutrients.
Also, it is beneficial to eat grains which are aged at least for one year. Newly produced grains on not recommended at all in Ayurveda for diabetics.
3. It is also beneficial to cut down the number of grains your eating initially for the first few days in your trying to bring the sugar level down. The most ideal grain, in this case, is Barley.
Barley can be eaten in any form like oats, barley water spiced with powder of Indian gooseberry, or as bread or barley smoothie in buttermilk with a dash of salt.
4. To understand anything from the Ayurvedic perspective it is imperative to understand that if you are suffering from high blood sugar the intuitive thing to do is supplement sugary things with something that is totally opposite of sugar.
Those two flavours are bitter and astringent. Include bitter gourd, fenugreek seeds or sprouts in your diet.
5. Include lentils like split mung beans, split black gram and orange masoor in your diet. These lentils are full of protein and very low glycemic index.
6. Increase your intake of salads, grilled vegetables, soups and stews.
7. Include ginger, garlic and spices like turmeric, cloves and peppers in your diet. This helps in increasing the metabolism.
8. Eat astringent fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, orange, kiwi, apples, Jamun, black currant. Avoid eating sweet fruits like dates and sugar cane.
Read the detailed guide to Ayurvedic diet for diabetes here.
Panchakarma or Shatkarma
Panchakarma and Shatkarma are extremely powerful therapies in Ayurveda. The doctors prescribe the treatment according to the severity of the issue. It is a personalized treatment and should be taken only after consideration with your doctor. Also, get the treatment done in authorised centres only.
List of best Panchakarma centres in the US
List of Panchakarma centres in India
You can also try this home-based Panchakarma treatment which is a very simplified version of the actual process but lowers your blood sugar considerably.
To balance excess sugar in the blood it is imperative to include bitter herbs in your daily routine. In Ayurveda, it is recommended to start your day with a glass of warm water along with a bitter juice or bitter powder made from any of the herbs.
|Fenugreek||The water of 1 tablespoon soaked fenugreek seeds or powder of fenugreek seeds after meals|
|Chirata||Soak in water overnight and drink first thing in the morning|
|Karela (Bitter gourd)||10-20ml of bitter gourd juice|
|Cinnamon||After meals infused in hot water with cloves|
|Jamun seeds||Powder of Jamun seeds in the morning on an empty stomach|
|Neem leaves||5-10 novice leaves on an empty stomach in the morning|
|Triphala||1 teaspoon with warm water before sleeping|
Remember, you don’t have to use all of these herbs to see the results. You can pick one and stick to it for at least 90 days before you see the results.
Diabetes management becomes very difficult for people when they keep having an unhealthy lifestyle. Improving your lifestyle significantly improves your diabetes.
A plant-based approach to diet has been proven very effective. A lot of people have shared their stories of diabetes reversal using a plant-based diet.
One book that particularly favours this notion is The end of diabetes.
If you too follow an active lifestyle and a plant-based diet, in a matter of a few days you will start noticing the changes in your body.
If you have been managing your diabetes using a plant-based approach, share your stories here. This will help our community to learn from each other and motivate them to follow the same.
If you find the article beneficial, share with your friends and family.
Comment below and share your story about how you started following Ayurveda, Yoga or natural healing you have learnt anything new about your dosha and how did you balance it.
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Chakshu is a US alliance certified yoga teacher, a biotechnologist and an Ayurveda evangelist. Her passion is to help people live a toxic-free life, emotionally and chemically. She loves reading self-help books. When she is not writing, she is busy thinking about life.