Red Ginseng for Diabetes: How the Herb Stops Blood Sugar from Spiking
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes is a metabolic disorder caused by increased level of glucose in blood in the human body. It is a long-term disorder that slowly affects various organs to the extent that it has been comically referred to as a sort of slow-poisoning. Incapability or inadequacy to secrete insulin hormone in blood is generally considered as the prime cause behind diabetes. Frequent urination, sweating, intense thirst or hunger, fatigue, and erectile dysfunction are some of the common symptoms of increased sugar in blood.
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes is primarily of two types:
a) Type 1 diabetes: This type of diabetes develops in the patient in an early age and the patient needs to inject insulin on a daily basis to survive, since their body lacks the capacity to secrete insulin altogether. Approximately, 10% of all diabetes cases are Type 1 diabetes.
b) Type 2 diabetes: This type of diabetes develops mostly in patients between the age of 45 and 65, usually as a result of obesity and lack of exercise. Some patients acquire the disease genetically. Majority of diabetes cases are that of the Type 2.
Today, one in every four people above the age of 65 suffers from diabetes. In 2002, the number of people affected by diabetes worldwide was 2.8% of the population which counted roughly as 171 million people. A study in 2014 has shown that the number of diabetes affected people rose up to an astounding 422 million and by 2030 the number is anticipated to reach a whopping 11.4% of the total population.1
The greater issue than the increasing number of diabetes affected people is that around half of the people affected do not even know they have diabetes. One of the major indications is fatigue felt after every meal due to a sharp rise in the blood sugar level. Undetected or untreated, diabetes may constrict the arteries causing heart attack. Other than that, various heart issues like stroke, kidney diseases, eye problems, dental disease, nerve damage and foot problems may also arise in patients with diabetes.
Diabetes hasn’t found a cure yet. However, patients of diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by incorporating a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, and taking appropriate medications. Regular exercise and abandoning sugar from the meal has proven to be an effective prevention against diabetes. However, the fast life of present times hardly allows people to accommodate themselves into a healthy routine. According to World Health Organization, in 2015, a staggering 1.6 million deaths were caused directly by diabetes.2 That makes diabetes nothing less than globally endemic and if it remains unnoticed, it may spread far and wide in geometric progressions, not only affecting the people present at a particular time but also invading the genes and holding them responsible to the posterity for a genetically defective blood sugar level.
How Red Ginseng Relieves Diabetes
The picture, nevertheless, is not so gloomy if we count the ‘The King of Herbs’ ginseng in the equation. The English word ‘ginseng’ is derived from the Chinese ‘renshen’ which literally means ‘the man root.’ Though ginseng root has been in use to prevent a long list of diseases, the hypoglycaemic effect of Korean red ginseng came to the fore in 1980s and since then a number of reports arrived at the conclusion that ginseng can prevent diabetic conditions in both human beings and animals. Besides, ginseng reduces cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby indirectly affecting obesity which may significantly help in lowering the sugar level in the patient’s blood.
Korean red ginseng (also known as Asian ginseng or Panax ginseng) is fermented white ginseng root. The procedure of converting white ginseng root to red ginseng root locks the healthy nutrients for human consumption. Because of this, Korean red ginseng becomes the most powerful for health purposes and also the most powerful adaptogenic herb in the species. Regular consumption of ginseng reduces blood sugar level and helps to increase the insulin level. Asian ginseng helps preventing dangerous spikes in blood sugar that may lead to fatal constriction of arterial muscles due to high level of glucose.
A study involving 42 healthy men and women between the ages of 20 and 75 was held with half of the participants in the survey treated with ginseng capsules and the rest put on a simple placebo. It reports that ingestion of the herb resulted in better regulation of insulin level; ginseng also prevents blood sugar spike.3
In 2014, a research showed that Korean red ginseng significantly reduced fasting blood sugar. In most cases of Type 2 diabetes, the tissues don’t remain responsive enough to process the insulin; whereas ginseng apparently helps in processing the insulin already present in the body. According to a study, it has been demonstrated that the mechanism of ginseng along with its active constituents modulates either insulin secretion/production, glucose uptake and metabolism, or inflammatory pathway in insulin-independent as well as insulin-dependent manners.4
Diabetes is not a disease but a metabolic disorder that sets in mostly as a result of unhealthy habits and lack of physical activities such as yoga and exercise, whereas some people acquire the disorder genetically. Diabetes has no cure and the only way to keep it at bay is to keep the blood sugar level within the prescribed limit. Poorly regulated blood sugar level can cause debilitating and fatal consequences such as multiple organ failure, heart attack and excretory complications. Korean red ginseng not only helps regulating the blood sugar level in our body but also relieves us from further complications that an increased level of glucose in the blood may lead to.
1. Yuan Hai-Dan et al. Ginseng and Diabetes: The Evidences from In Vitro, Animal and Human Studies. (Jan 2012). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659569/
2. Fact sheet (Updated July 2017) http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/
3. BottomLineInc. Diabetic? Stop Blood Sugar from Spiking with Red Ginseng. (September 23, 2014) https://bottomlineinc.com/health/herbs/diabetic-stop-blood-sugar-from-spiking-with-red-ginseng
4. Yuan Hai-Dan et al. Ginseng and Diabetes: The Evidences from In Vitro, Animal and Human Studies. (Jan 2012). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659569/