Since the 1940s, medical science has developed chemotherapy, radiation therapy, adjuvant therapy and the newer targeted therapies, as well as refined surgical techniques for removing cancer. Before the development of these modern, evidence-based treatments, 90% of cancer patients died within five years. With modern mainstream treatments, only 34% of cancer patients die within five years. However, while mainstream forms of cancer treatment generally prolong life or permanently cure cancer, most treatments also have side effects ranging from unpleasant to fatal, such as pain, blood clots, fatigue, and infection. These side effects and the lack of a guarantee that treatment will be successful create appeal for alternative treatments for cancer, which purport to cause fewer side effects or to increase survival rates despite evidence to suggest a 2.5 fold increase in death with alternative medicines.
^ Jump up to: a b Bauml, J. M.; Chokshi, S.; Schapira, M. M.; Im, E.-O.; Li, S. Q.; Langer, C. J.; Ibrahim, S. A. & Mao, J. J. (26 May 2015). "Do attitudes and beliefs regarding complementary and alternative medicine impact its use among patients with cancer? A cross-sectional survey". Cancer. 121 (14): 2431–38. doi:10.1002/cncr.29173. PMC 5589132. PMID 26011157. Lay summary – Reuters (26 May 2015).
Modern medicine now tends to use the active ingredients of plants rather than the whole plants. The phytochemicals may be synthesized, compounded or otherwise transformed to make pharmaceuticals. Examples of such derivatives include digoxin, from digitalis; capsaicine, from chili; and aspirin, which is chemically related to the salicylic acid found in white willow. The opium poppy continues to be a major industrial source of opiates, including morphine. Few traditional remedies, however, have translated into modern drugs, although there is continuing research into the efficacy and possible adaptation of traditional herbal treatments.
A spice that is popular for soothing your stomach and aiding digestion, Ginger also has the ability to normalize blood sugar levels. Multiple studies conducted on rats show that ginger extract can have a significant anti-hyperglycemic effect. It lowers serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and increases the HDL-cholesterol levels. Diabetes is a digestive disorder. Diabetics often face issues with acid reflux. Ginger soothes the entire digestive tract, giving diabetics another reason to add ginger to their supplement regimen.
The most common uses for Aloe would have to be for treating burns, wounds and skin conditions. This along with the ease of growing an Aloe plant make it an excellent choice to have in your herbal first aid kit. The real magic of the Aloe Vera plant comes from the gel inside the leaves, to extract this all you need to do is take a knife and take off the thick skin on the outside of the leaf. The part you're after is the clear inner gel, sometimes referred to as the inner fillet, because you're sort of filleting the leaf. When used on minor burns you should run the affected area under cool water for about ten minutes before applying the Aloe gel. Continue to apply the gel several times per day for both burns and skin conditions. If you're using the Aloe gel for lowering blood sugar levels take about one tablespoon daily (be sure to use an aloe gel that's free of aloin if taking orally).
Bacopa has been used as an effective brain tonic in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for thousands of years in India. It is beneficial to long and short term memory. The plant’s saponins and bacosides have a positive effect on the brain’s neurotransmitters and can help one to think faster. Bacopa is now being studied as a possible treatment for ADHD, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Bacopa is often used to treat depression, anxiety asthma, allergies and bronchitis. It also possess some anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2012 review of ginseng in animals and human beings found that not only does ginseng reduce insulin resistance, it also lowers HbA1C levels. It’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as one of the most potent herbs for blood sugar control. Indian ginseng, also called Ashwagandha, offers fantastic all round benefits. Scientists are also researching the connection between diabetes and Alzhiemer’s. Panax Ginseng is a type of ginseng that is able to help with both diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Another well know spice in the kitchen cinnamon is also known for it's medicinal properties. While not really an herb I still think it's important to list it in our list of herbs and their uses. Cinnamon actually comes from the inner bark of a tree in the laurel family. It's been used for centuries and was a hot commodity for trade in ancient times. In fact during the first century A.D. in Rome cinnamon was 15 times more expensive than silver. The Chinese were probably the first to use cinnamon as a medicinal herb and used it to treat fevers, and diarrhea. In more modern times cinnamon has been found to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics, as it has an insulin kind of effect.