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Is There a Type 2 Diabetes Natural Cure?

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Updated April 19, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Is There a Type 2 Diabetes Natural Cure?
Answer:

No, there is no known type 2 diabetes natural cure -- nor a mainstream medical cure.

Since ancient times, there have been claims of natural cures for diabetes using alternative treatments, home remedies, and folk medicine. Plants and methods used vary according to location and ethnic groups. More than 1,200 plants have been used to treat diabetes around the world, and only about 30% of them have been investigated.

Common alternative treatments include:

In spite of their long history, there have not been many studies on these treatments -- particularly studies of their use in humans. There is not enough evidence yet on their safety and efficacy for them to be prescribed by mainstream doctors. However, interest has been renewed in natural treatments due to their long history, low toxicity, low cost, and possible new uses in pharmacology.

While some treatments may be useful to diabetes management, there are plenty of scams and phony type 2 diabetes natural cures.

Even some diet books claim to offer a cure for diabetes, and some people with diabetes feel they are helpful. However, these diets are usually not realistic for everyone and do not technically "cure" diabetes, as better control depends on continued strict adherence to the diet.

Studies have shown people with diabetes are receptive and use natural “cures” or alternative treatments 1.6 times more often than people without diabetes. Use is more common with higher education level and older age.

Consult your doctor before trying alternative remedies as there can be harmful interactions with prescribed drugs or other conditions.

Sources

Ayyanar1, M; Sankarasivaraman, K; Ignacimuthu, S. "Traditional Herbal Medicines Used for the Treatment of Diabetes among Two Major Tribal Groups in South Tamil Nadu, India." Ethnobotanical Leaflets May 2008 12:276-280

Cefalu, William T; Ye, Jianping; Wang, Zhong Q. "Efficacy of Dietary Supplementation with Botanicals on Carbohydrate Metabolism in Humans." Endocrine, Metabolic and Immune Disorders – Drug Targets Jun 2008(2): 78-81

Egede MD MS, Leonard E; Ye MD MS, Xiaobou; Zheng MB PHD, Deyi; Silverstein MD, Marc D. "Prevalence and Pattern of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Individuals with Diabetes." Diabetes Care Feb 2002 25(2): 324-329

Shapiro, Karen; Gong, William C. "Natural Products Used for Diabetes." Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association March/April 2002 42(2):217-226

Tundis, R.; Loizzo, M.R.; Menichini, F. "Natural Products as α-Amylase and α-Glucosidase Inhibitors and their Hypoglycaemic Potential in the Treatment of Diabetes: An Update." Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry April 2010 10(4):315-331

Villa-Caballeroa, Leonel; Morello, Candis M.; Chynowethb, Megan E.; Prieto-Rosinold, Ariadna; Polonskye, William H.; Palinkasf, Lawrence A.; Edelmang, Steven V. "Ethnic Differences in Complementary and Alternative Medicine use Among Patients with Diabetes." Complementary Therapies in Medicine Dec 2010 18(6):241-248

Yeh MD MPH, Gloria Y; Eisenberg MD, David M; Kaptchuk OMD, Ted J; Phillips MD, Russell S. "Systemic Review of Herbs and Dietary Supplements for Glycemic Control in Diabetes." Diabetes Care April 2003 26(4): 1277-1294

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