A major health concern, Diabetes as defined by modern science, is a metabolic disease, characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose leading to damage to the heart, kidneys, and eyes. It is primarily classified as:
- Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: A genetic condition, which generally manifests early in life, where the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
- Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A condition in which the body is unable to make enough insulin or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly.
Interestingly, the term Diabetes was derived from the Greek word ‘diabetes’ meaning ‘siphon’ - to pass through, coined around 250 BC & the Latin word ‘mellitus’ meaning ‘honeyed’ or ‘sweet’ was added to it in the year 1675 giving rise to what we now know as Diabetes Mellitus.
What is Diabetes (or Prediabetes) according to Ayurveda?
In Ayurveda, the understanding of the Diabetes condition has existed from eons before and is considered more as a urological disorder that gradually develops into chronic diseased condition if not taken care of.
The terms - ‘Prameha’ and ‘Madhumeha’ are used interchangeably in the context of increased urination, and sweet urination, commonly correlated with Diabetes. ‘Prameha’ could be seen as a group of diseases wherein there is an increase in the amount & frequency of urination.
‘Prameha’ stands for ‘Pra’ which means abundant and ‘Meha’ which means passing large quantities of urine. ‘Madhumeha’ is a condition in which an individual passes sweet urine in large quantities, where ‘Madhu’ means sweet and ‘Meha’ means passing large quantities of urine. ‘Madhumeha’ is one among the 20 types of ‘Prameha’.
Ayurveda divides Prameha into:
- ‘Sahaj Prameha’: which refers to a condition wherein the patients have ‘Prameha’ since birth or refers to those who are born to parents suffering from it.
- ‘Apathya Nimitaja’: This is manifested in patients with bad eating habits and poor lifestyles that aggravate the doshas within the body.
Risk factors associated with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- Family History (a common factor for Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus)
- Being physically inactive
- Hypertension with B.P > 140/90 mm of Hg
- Age>45 years
Causes of Diabetes (and Prediabetes) in Ayurveda
The classics of Ayurveda describe the common causative factors of ‘Prameha’ to be:
- Idle sitting.
- Excessive use of milk.
- Excessive consumption of curd or soup of certain marshy or aquatic animals.
- Excessive consumption of jaggery products, new cereals, and new age drinks such as alcohol.
- Consuming excess ‘Sheeta’ (cool) and ‘Snigdha’ (soft) drinks and other kapha-increasing edibles.
- Intake of excessive fatty foods.
- Consuming high quantities of sour & salty foods.
- Excessive sleep, laziness, and lack of exercise.
- Sleeping during the day.
- Keeping awake at night.
- Consistently being in a state of stress, be it mental or physical.
Ayurvedic symptoms of Prameha or Diabetes Type 2 (Madhumeha)
On the basis of the predominance of doshas and easily distinguishable by the physical properties of urine, there are three types of ‘Prameha’:
‘Kaphaj’, in which an imbalance of Kapha affects lipid metabolism, muscles, and body fluid in the urinary bladder. Excessive consumption of fresh pulses, curd, ‘Til’ (sesame), etc. along with the reduced amount of exercise, and sleeping for a higher number of hours, etc. increase ‘Kapha’ & ‘Meda’ (fat) that affect lipid metabolism, muscles and body fluids in the urinary bladder and thereby cause ‘Prameha’.
‘Pittaj’, in which heat may aggravate Pitta, causing ‘Prameha’. Excessive intake of ‘Ushna’ (hot), ‘Amla’ (sour), ‘Lavana’ (salty taste), ‘Katu’ (pungent), alkaline food, irregular diet, excessive exposure to the sun, anger, and exertion are said to be the causative factors for this type of ‘Prameha’.
- ‘Vataj’, in which ‘Vayu’ causes ‘Prameha’ by affecting the ‘Dhatus’ in the urinary bladder. Use of excessive amounts of ‘Kashaya’ (astringent), ‘Katu’ (pungent), ‘Tikta’ (bitter) and ‘Laghu Dravya’ (light substance) and also excessive exercise, ‘Vaman’ and ‘Virechan’ (emesis and purgation) are the main causes of this type of Prameha.
Stress aggravates Type 2 Diabetes
Any change in the environment that you find difficult to cope with, causes ‘stress’ in the body; a state of flux that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain on the body. When the body is in such a state, it releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, giving the body the energy to elicit a fight or flight response!
But, once these hormones are released, they mimic the insulin hormone, making it difficult for the actual insulin to work on glucose and release energy. This leads to an increase in the blood sugar levels in the body. A constant state of stress makes the blood sugar levels remain at peak at all times, putting one at a high risk of becoming a prediabetic. If not controlled in time, it could lead to one becoming a diabetic.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Building self-awareness around diabetes is important. Knowing the clinical factors associated with this disease, could help one in an early diagnosis and start treatment or a lifestyle improvement plan. A few of the clinical features to keep in mind are:
- Increased frequency of urine (Polyuria or Prameha)
- Excessive thirst (Polydipsia)
- Increased appetite (Polyphagia)
- Milky or cloudy urine.
- Unintentional weight loss.
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises.
- Persistent fatigue, even after adequate rest.
- Changes in vision.
The above clinical features do not surface immediately, but develop over a period of years, which could be as long as 10 years! At this stage, the body is already at a pre-diabetic stage which is characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels for a sustained period of time.
Prediabetes, however, is easy to reverse if detected in time. If undetected, prediabetes ultimately takes the form of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and increases the body’s vulnerability to several other diseases such as heart attack, stroke, inflammation, stress, depression, anxiety, etc.
Ayurvedic treatment & management for diabetes: An approach towards treating ‘Prameha’ & ‘Madhumeha’
Making small yet steady changes in your lifestyle helps reduce the incidence of stress. Incorporating better quality and healthy food products, regular exercises and recreational activities go a long way in reducing stress in the body.
One must also include preparations consisting of important herbs such as those present in our herbal infusions and cookies to help tackle stress and related issues, as well as provide the body with numerous other benefits attached with the consumption of these herbs.
Preventative measures for diabetes (Type 2 Diabetes) in Ayurveda:
1. Type of Foods to incorporate in your diet:
- Regularly incorporating foods made from whole grains such as Barley, Ragi, Jau and Pulses such as Green Gram, Bitter Gourd, ‘Methi’, Cucumber, Pumpkin, ‘Triphala’, Buttermilk, especially for cases who are borderline diabetic, as these foods have a lower glycemic index and do not raise blood sugar levels in the body and help pacify Kapha dosha in the body.
- One must ensure that the diet consumed is in line with your body constitution to experience the results of your dietary changes.
2. Fitness Regimen:
Including ‘Yoga’ or any kind of exercise routine in one’s ‘Dincharya’ (daily regimen); walking, cycling, light jogging, martial arts, or weight lifting exercises.
Somatic practices help relieve stress and improve the body’s functioning. Plus, they help in improving mental health conditions and overall well-being.
3. Foods To Restrict & Limit:
- Reducing the consumption of products containing ‘maida’, white sugar and overly processed foods, such as bread, chips, cakes, etc.
- Restricting the consumption of fried food items, and alcoholic beverages. One must also reduce the amount of refined oil used in cooking. Ensure to use oils such as mustard, sesame and olive oil in rotation and in limited quantities. (By rotation, we mean changing the type of oil used to cook different foods, like mustard oil, considered best for Indian cooking and olive oil for salads and pasta).
- One must also limit the consumption of excess dairy products, tubers, and fruits such as Bananas, Mangoes, and Chiku.
4. Lifestyle Shifts To Make:
- It is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Take breaks of a small duration [10-15 minutes] to re-energize yourself and keep up your efficiency. Reducing screen time, especially at home will help reduce stress and improve mental health.
- It is recommended that one maintains an active lifestyle and works towards developing sleep hygiene and giving the body 6-8 hours of adequate sleep.
- Including recreational activities that you enjoy doing such as cooking, writing, reading a book, gardening, stitching, taking music and dance lessons etc. It could be any activity that helps you feel enthusiastic and alive!
5. Diabetic-Friendly Foods that you must Include:
Diabetic individuals or people prone to diabetes or increase in sugar levels are found to be cautious while consuming any food or beverage. So here is a shout out to them - our cookies and infusions make for a nice alternative to replace your regular tea and snacks munchies!
The components of these products help improve cholesterol level, boost heart health, support liver health and also ease detoxification processes. Our Diabe-choice cookies and Diabe Infusion are tailor made for diabetics to take care of their chai time & snack needs.
- Diabe-choice cookies are made with Barley & Gram flour, Cinnamon, ‘Methi’, and Cardamom, all ingredients important to include in a diabetic individual’s diet plan. Sesame seeds and flax seeds are a source of good fat, calcium, and potassium. These high-fiber cookies help balance the Vata and Kapha dosha, normalize blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, and also boost heart health.
- Diabe Infusion: A herbal infusion tailor-made for the diabetic and for those who have inherited a predisposition to the disease. With the goodness of ‘Gurmar’, ‘Guduchi’, ‘Vijaysar’, and Sweetleaf Stevia, Diabe Infusion is a natural way to support healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the body. Being 100% caffeine-free, this herbal infusion tea for diabetes can be enjoyed anytime during the day or late evening. It helps balance the Kapha Dosha, supports liver health, and assists in the body’s detoxification processes.
Recommended Ayurvedic medicines for Diabetes Type 2
1. Pancreofly capsule is a clinically evaluated, unique formulation of herbal extracts developed scientifically using Ayurvedic concepts. It helps moderate blood sugar levels and brings down hyperinsulinemia which is the root cause of diabetic complications, such as peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy, and male impotency.
Pancreofly capsules are enriched with extracts that help normalize kidney and liver functions and minimize the side effects of allopathic medicines like jaundice and stomach upsets. This Ayurvedic medicine is highly recommended for borderline cases of sugar patients with prediabetes as well as Type 2 diabetic patients.
It has proven to show effective results when taken as a supplement with allopathic treatment, accompanied by the needful lifestyle changes. The best part about this medicine is that it has no side effects.
Dosage & Usage:
One should take 2 capsules twice a day, half an hour before meals with lukewarm water or as directed by the physician.
2. Livofly-SF: Livofly-SF is a sugar-free Ayurvedic medicine for the liver that helps keep the liver healthy by improving the body’s metabolism. Sugar patients and diabetics often find themselves susceptible to a sluggish liver.
Allopathic medications consumed have a direct impact on the liver and the kidneys, making these organs work overtime to help the body metabolize them. At such a stage, the Livofly-SF syrup helps with gradual detoxification and promotes a comprehensive elimination of drug-related toxins from the body.
This best liver syrup in India also works as a mild laxative and aids with hyperacidity. It also stimulates the secretion of bile from the liver and exerts laxative & carminative effects.
Dosage & Usage:
Adults: 1-2 teaspoons twice daily, 30 minutes before meals.
Children: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon twice daily, 30 minutes before meals, or as prescribed by a doctor.
Important Ayurvedic herbs present in Pancreofly that help with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- ‘Methi’: Methi increases glucose-dependent insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells, and lowers triglycerides, cholesterol, and LDL-C to help prevent cardiac problems.
- ‘Gudmar’: This is a medicinal herb known to lower blood sugar and promotes the regeneration of Islet cells. It helps in increasing the utilization of glucose and decreasing gluconeogenic enzymes. It also delays glucose absorption in the blood.
- ‘Daruhaldi’: A potent antioxidant and highly anti-inflammatory, it improves insulin sensitivity and promotes the uptake of glucose by the cells and tissues. It also inhibits the formation of glucose by gluconeogenesis.
- ‘Haldi’: It is an effective anti-diabetic herb that helps in maintaining the proper functioning of the pancreas, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and helps in reducing insulin resistance. As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it helps improve oxidative stress in diabetic nephropathy.
- ‘Karela’: Polypeptide-p and charantin improve insulin release from pancreatic beta cells, and repair or promote new growth of insulin-secreting beta cells. The active lectin content in ‘Karela’ reduces blood glucose concentrations by acting on peripheral tissues and suppressing appetite.
- ‘Jamun’: It significantly increases muscle glycogen content by glycogenesis stimulation and lowers blood glucose by insulin secretagogue effect.
- ‘Trikatu’: ‘Tirkatu’ contains three herbs black pepper, long pepper, and dried ginger powder. It increases metabolism by stimulating digestive enzymes.
Pancreofly - Ayurvedic Capsule For Type-1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes is a genetic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Pancreofly is enriched with herbal extracts that help improve pancreatic functions and also help regularize kidney and liver functions.
Since individuals with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus are required to take insulin shots, sometimes the body could go into a state of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) due to too much insulin in the body or irregular eating habits, Pancreofly could help regulate blood sugar levels in such a scenario.
Important Note: It is effective when taken as a supplement with allopathic treatment and accompanied by the needful lifestyle changes.
Ayurveda being the world's oldest holistic healing system focuses on maintaining the delicate balance between the mind, body, and soul. It has delineated what type of foods to eat and avoid as per one’s body type and what to change in case of a disease condition.
Taking a holistic approach toward wellness is the way to go. Incorporating lifestyle changes that help reduce the incidence of stress in the body and improving the quality of food that one eats is important which also prove to be beneficial in the long run.
Taking a leaf out of Ayurvedic principles, Butterfly Ayurveda has developed Ayurvedic products that are diabetic-friendly and help treat your diabetes effectively and keep you fighting fit.
Terms made easy
1. Islet cell: It is a type of cell that produces hormones such as insulin and glucagon that are released into the bloodstream to control blood sugar levels in the body.
2. Diabetic Nephropathy: A complication related to Diabetes (Type 1 & 2) in which the blood vessels of the kidneys get damaged overtime due to uncontrolled blood sugar levels, ultimately leading to kidney failure.
3. Polypeptide-p: It is an insulin like hypo-glycemic protein, that lowers blood sugar levels in the body.
4. Charantin: An active component present in bitter gourd, responsible for reducing blood sugar levels in the body.
5. Lectin Content: A type of protein that actively binds with a carbohydrate molecule and prevents its absorption in the body.
6. Gluconeogenic Enzymes: A unique blend of enzymes that help in the generation of glucose.
7. Insulin Secretagogue Effect: Insulin Secretagogues help lower the blood glucose levels by stimulating the secretion of glucose in the body.
8. Glycemic Index: A simple tool, which is used to promote better sugar management. This index ranks food on a scale of 1-100. The lower the glycemic index of a particular food, the lesser it affects your blood sugar levels.
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