Thursday, October 19, 2017 by Isabelle Z.
As the number of people suffering from high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, and related problems continues to rise, many doctors are taking the easy way out and sending people home with prescription medications that supposedly help keep the condition under control. Not everyone is willing to accept the risks of these drugs, however. What can health-conscious individuals do if they want to keep high blood sugar in check?
A research study carried out by scientists at Brock University in Canada points to one potential solution: rosemary extract. They reached their conclusion after reviewing existing studies into the extract’s effects on diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is expected to affect more than 439 million adults by the year 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization, and it is the most common cause of high blood sugar. It currently does not have a cure, so treatments are generally aimed at managing it and keeping it under control. Lifestyle modifications like a healthy diet and regular exercise can go a long way toward helping people with this condition, but medication is often given to sufferers as well.
Metformin, the most widely-used drug for type 2 diabetes, causes gastrointestinal problems in around a third of patients including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cramps. Many of the newer drugs given for this problem have side effects like pancreatitis and a heightened risk of heart failure and pancreatic cancer. On top of that, half of those suffering from the illness live in areas of poverty and lack access to medication. This is why finding an effective drug that does not cause adverse side effects is of the utmost importance.
The scientists were interested in studying the effects of the evergreen shrub rosemary, which has long been used for various afflictions in natural medicine. Native to the Mediterranean and South America, it has been used for respiratory problems and to help digestion. Part of the mint family, it contains nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin B6 and carnosic acid. It is widely used in aromatherapy for its ability to boost alertness and concentration, and it is also believed to help delay brain aging and prevent the onset of brain damage in stroke patients.
Polyphenols such as phenolic acids and flavonoids found in rosemary extract are responsible for its positive effects on blood sugar.
The researchers found that rosemary extract can affect crucial insulin target tissues in fat, muscle and the liver and directly cause anti-diabetic effects. The carnosic acid in rosemary has significant anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hyperglycemic properties. The review also discovered that rosemary extract had insulin-like effects on insulin target cells, and it shows a strong potential as a means of managing blood glucose levels as well as diabetes. They called for further studies to uncover the mechanism of action, determine the effects of the extract on humans and find appropriate therapeutic dosages.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that rosemary that was grown in a greenhouse had significantly higher levels of polyphenols than its dried commercial counterpart. In that study, rosemary and oregano both showed efficacy levels that were similar to or even higher than many popular antidiabetic medications. While the authors of that study stopped short of suggesting that people replace their medications with rosemary and oregano, adding more of these herbs to their diet can be beneficial.
Rosemary is easy to incorporate into your diet because it pairs well with so many foods. It complements chicken and other poultry nicely, and it’s a great addition to soups. Rosemary tea is also a great way to boost your intake, and it’s easy to make yourself with homegrown organic rosemary.
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