Statistics laid out by WHO indicate that about 422 million people(1 in every 19 people) worldwide have diabetes, the majority living in low-and middle-income countries, and 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year. According to the International Diabetes Federation, India’s number of people with diabetes is expected to rise to 69.9 million from 40.9 million by 2025. The Indian subcontinent is commonly called the diabetic capital of the world by India Today. These numbers are appalling and an alarm to change HOW WE EAT & TREAT OUR BODY.
As soon as food or a drink enters the body, the body begins its general function that is to extract glucose and provide it as a fuel to energize your cells. The smooth operation of this process depends on the pancreas and its ability to produce a hormone called insulin. This hormone, Insulin, is essential to draw out the sugars from the blood and enable its smooth passage into the cells to produce energy. However, when insulin production is at either extreme (low or high), it disrupts the balance in the body, affecting each organ. This insulin imbalance results in high glucose levels in the blood, leaving the cells with little or no energy. The clinical name of this diagnosis is what we commonly know as Diabetes.
There are majorly two types of diabetes, namely, type 1 and type 2. 90% of the people that have diabetes have type 2 as per CDC National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020.
Type 1 Diabetes: Also known as Juvenile Diabetes, this type is an immune system disorder. The insulin production in the pancreatic cells is attacked by the individual’s immune system, thus crushing down the body’s ability to produce insulin. Diagnosed during the early years of life, an individual with this type requires a daily insulin intake to survive.
Type 2 Diabetes: In type 2, the body produces insulin, but the pancreas resists its use. Hence it is also explained as insulin resistance. This resistance causes hindrance in drawing the sugar from the blood to energize the cells leading to a need for insulin medication. Earlier, diabetes was majorly found in the old and elderly population. However, in the present day, the younger population is more of a victim to this. It is a result of their eating habits, undisciplined lifestyle, and physical inactivity.
Besides these, there is also a prediabetic stage and gestational diabetes, which, when managed effectively at early diagnosis, prevents Type 2.
The rising levels of sugar in the blood cause diabetes, and it flashes out through various symptoms. Some of the commonly known symptoms are:
Irrespective of Gender:
Diabetes symptoms as seen in women:
Diabetes symptoms as seen in men:
Keeping a regular check on the blood sugar levels is basic to maintain good health, a fit body and a sound mind. However, Ayurveda takes a slightly different approach towards Diabetes. In Ayurveda, Diabetes, also known as Madumeha, relates directly to the inefficient functioning of the digestive system. Poor digestion opens a channel to a sticky toxin called Ama, which significantly impacts insulin production.
The complexities associated with a weak digestive system cause an imbalance in the doshas, majorly affecting the Kapha dosha turning it dominant. However, the dominance of Kapha alone does not mean Diabetes. On the contrary, a predominant Kapha dosha clubbed with a weak Agni is lethal to slow down the metabolism in the body. Slow metabolism is one of the primary reasons for excessive sugar levels in the body. Hence, a balance of food items with air and fire elements in the daily diet positively impacts those with dominant Kapha dosha in the body, thus curbing diabetes.
Madhumeha that translates as ‘sweet urine' is the name Ayurveda has for Diabetes. Simply put, Madhumeha signifies high blood sugar levels in the blood, resulting in excess sugar in the urine. It moreover categorizes diabetes into two types, namely Avarna and Dhatuksyaya. In the former type, routes in the body are obstructed by aggravated Kapha dosha or other tissues (Dhatus) of the body. This obstruction is typically the cause of adult-onset diabetes. The latter type is caused when the Dhatus are either affected or excessively used up, resulting in Juvenile diabetes.
Ojas is defined as the very essence of life in Ayurveda. When Ojas is lost, it also means that the body has also lost all its strength and functions. For example, when an individual is affected with diabetes, the Ojas are lost through the urine. Thus many texts sometimes recognize diabetes as Ojomeha. Ayurveda dives our entire lifespan into three stages. First is childhood, which is governed by the Kapha dosha. Next comes puberty, when pitta dosha regulates body function. The last stage spans from 50 years until death.
A Kapha aggravated diet and a sedentary way of life can present themselves as type 1 diabetes during childhood. Ayurveda mentions realigning the doshas with the help of both external and internal Ayurvedic treatments. These treatments look for the stress factors in the body and help to release them.
Ayurveda labels type 2 diabetes as Apathyanimittaja in all the vedic texts. The primary cause for this type is an aggravated Vata dosha that brings a significant imbalance in the Kapha dosha levels. When this imbalance is fused with unhealthy eating habits and an inactive lifestyle, it results in type 2 diabetes. Ayurvedic treatment for Diabetes includes Ayurvedic medication, alterations in eating habits and lifestyle correction to keep sugar levels regulated.
Panchakarma detox procedures, appropriate diet, Footcare, and physical movement through yoga contribute to managing Diabetes in the long run. Unfortunately, the present-day lifestyle is a combination of lazy, busy, and careless. Unhealthy eating habits and an inactive lifestyle are the major gateways to Diabetes. If ignored and not dealt with healthily, Diabetes can prove to be a silent poison to an individual’s good health and open doors to a swarm of diseases.
The Ayurvedic treatment for Diabetes is a holistic approach where individuals must alter their food habits and bring drastic modifications in their lifestyle. A study recorded and published by NCBI in 2009 has listed the top 10 commonly available plants which prove to be effective in reducing sugar levels and improving metabolism. Plants like Fenugreek, Bitter melon, Indian Kino tree, Gymnema, Turmeric, Margosa tree, Holy fruit tree, Ivy gourd, and Pomegranate are amongst the top 10 plants used in Ayurveda to deal with type 2 Diabetes.
Keeping the digestive Agni powerful is essential to ensure that the digestion is at its best. It is advised to avoid food items with sweet and sour tastes as it aggravates the Kapha dosha. Besides, keeping the breakfast and dinner comparatively lighter than the lunch proves beneficial for better digestion. It is optimal for a person with dominant Kapha dosha to sip lukewarm or hot water throughout the day. Drinking water stored in a copper vessel is a traditional way to support diabetes treatments.
Additional remedies also include garlic, bitter gourd juice, Shilajeet tablets, and Bilwa leaves. Each of these plants is known to be beneficial for regulating sugar levels and maintaining them. In addition, the intake of the Ayurvedic herbs and formulations that aid digestion and enhance the digestive fire is advised for insulin resistance treatment. One must always keep in mind that not all Ayurvedic formulations are made equal, quality of the underlying ingredients, the potency and the shelf life vary hence one must always place one's trust in a certified Ayurvedic Doctor who has the experience and access to high-quality Ayurvedic herbs and medicines. DIY or home remedies should be avoided as the risk outweighs the rewards.
These treatments work the best when aided with proper exercise, a balanced diet, stress management, and, lastly, adequate sleep. It is necessary to remember that every person’s body is different and responds differently to plants, herbs, and treatments.
**The benefits of Ayurveda vary from person to person and the results may vary immensely based on the quality of the herbs, oil concoctions and medicines. BalanceBoat.com is not responsible or liable for the effectiveness and outcome of the Ayurvedic treatments. The information above is shareable purely for educational purpose it is not to be considered as a replacement for medical advice. Please always consult a certified specialist/Doctor before you embark upon a treatment.