Primitively, human beings experimented on plants. Those that were edible were used for food, poisonous plants were used to drive away enemies, while others were reserved for therapeutic purposes. Plants contain a lot of phytochemicals and each plant part has different chemical compositions, which can either harm or benefit human beings. The use of herbs in the treatment of diseases has been tested by time and there is no doubt regarding their efficacy and effectiveness is treating an ailing body and the same time, promote the general well being.
Diabetes Mellitus is considered as a public menace as it affects almost 3 percent of the world’s total population. In the US alone, 15 million people suffer from diabetes and its complications and the number continue to rise due to different factors predisposing the society in acquiring this disease. Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease resulting from either, inability of the body to produce adequate insulin or increased insulin resistance. Diabetes must be addressed properly and as early as possible since long term complications might result to permanent and life threatening conditions. The complications are systemic and it includes diabetic retinopathy leading to blindness, hypertension, kidney related disorders, heart disease and foot ulcers, which can be a cause of amputations. Complications of diabetes mellitus are disabling and lower the quality of life.
Diabetes Mellitus can be controlled in many ways. Collaborative management for Diabetes mellitus type II or what is now known as Non- Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) includes diet management, increase activity and exercise, oral and injectable hypoglycaemic agents and external insulin sources. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels will in turn lower down and reduce the chances of acquiring all the complications.
The use of alternative therapeutic techniques in managing NIDDM is an efficient and cost effective adjuvant health care measure available to the general population. Traditional herbal products are proven to be effective, without harbouring the unnecessary and sometimes, harmful side effects. The guidance of a physician might as well be helpful, so as to prevent any unnecessary drug interactions. Many people now resort to wonders of nature as a remedy for their diseases as more and more evidence shows their effectiveness.
Green tea is one of the herbs which earned a reputation in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Scientific studies have been conducted from different parts of the world as previous results about the potency of green tea are intriguingly exciting. Previous researches have proven the safety and value of consuming green tea in regulating blood glucose level. The beneficial effect of green tea is greatly attributed to its high polyphenol content, particularly, the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), that is proposed to halt fat cell proliferation and differentiation.
Blood sugar normally rises after a meal; however, people with diabetes tend to retain these sugars much longer in the blood, since they have inadequate insulin in the body. Insulin takes up the excess sugar in the blood storing it in the river or muscles for future use. Green tea intake regulates glucose level in the blood post cebum, effectively preventing insulin spikes and fat storage. But in what mechanism does green tea works exactly? Scientists found out that green tea hampers the enzyme alpha – glucosidase, so that glucose will be absorbed in the small intestine at a slower rate. Another enzyme regulated by green tea extracts is Amylase. This enzyme that breaks down starch into simple sugar is found both in the saliva and in the pancreas. Green tea slows down the rate of glucose metabolism and correspondingly, its release into the blood stream. Scientists also proposed that green tea aids in the effective in the cells utilization of glucose, thus less insulin is needed in order to normalize the blood sugar. This scenario is very favourable to diabetics as less insulin is required in relation to the decreased amount of glucose in the blood.
Another observed outcome is the calorie restriction effect of consuming tea as a beverage. Green tea calms down the muscles in the stomach and intestines resulting to slowed peristalsis. This effect will create a feeling of satiety and fullness at a longer time. This is beneficial since ideal and healthy weight can be controlled and maintained. This also addresses the problems encountered by diabetics, since the disease process makes them more hungry than usual.
Amazingly, results of the studies revealed that antioxidants in green tea may prevent the occurrence of age related process as a result of catabolic processes necessary to maintain life. Digestion, metabolism and even respiration generate free radicals that cause mutations in the genetic material and eventually, cell damage. It also improves the immune system and circulatory functions. Tannins, a polyphenol in green tea is just in right amount and creates relaxing effects by calming the nerves. This lowers down the stress level in diabetic individual. Stress reduction is one of the key to effectively manage diabetes. Stress triggers the release of catecholamine in the body, making the sugar level and blood pressure increased. Diabetic neuropathy might also be addressed by incorporating tea in the diet since it has a neuroprotectant property avoiding damage to neurons.
Although green tea is scientifically proven as an adjunctive therapy for diabetes, holistic treatment by exploiting all the proven and necessary procedures must still be employed. Maintaining weight within the normal level, being watchful with the diet and exercise programs will further decrease the risk of getting NIDDM. A research study showed that a combination of low fat- Asian diet and green tea is the best way to thwart diabetes mellitus. Green tea is also easy to prepare. It is now made affordable and available to almost all markets all over the world, so that anyone can have the chance to try out the nature’s gift for restoring homeostasis in the body’s system.