UK Diabetes Week

ISSUED 16th June 2016

The NIMH supports UK Diabetes Week 2016

Members of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists will be participating in UK Diabetes Week starting Tuesday 14th June 2016.

Diabetes is a familiar condition to most people. Many of us personally know at least one of the current 3.5 million diagnosed in the UK.  According to the leading Diabetes charity ‘Diabetes UK’, there are an additional 549,000 who un-knowingly have the condition. Alarmingly, type II which used to be known as ‘adult onset’ is affecting more children than ever.

Herbal medicine has many safe and effective remedies to offer as an adjunct therapy to help manage this condition.  Aside from helping the patient formulate a realistic diet and lifestyle plan, your herbalist can also advise on the many supplements commonly taken for the management of Diabetes. When putting together an individual formula for their patient, a medical herbalist might include one of the following herbs commonly employed for diabetic patients:

Cinnamon (Cinnamom zeylanicum/spp.) lowers fasting blood sugar levels in patients with type II diabetes. A meta-analysis looked at a series of randomised controlled trials and noted that participants given cinnamon showed significant decreases in fasting plasma glucose acrossdifferent studies.¹ Polyphenols found in the bark have also shown to increase insulin sensitivity thereby making cinnamon an important plant to tackle insulin resistance.²

Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre) is an Ayurvedic herb which has found its way into Western Herbal Medicine’s Materia medica. Originally from India, ‘the sugar destroyer’ offers much potential for diabetic patients.  This reputation is backed by research studies showing the plant’s dual ability to stimulate insulin production and reduce glucose uptake, thereby significantly lowering fasting blood glucose levels.³ Gymnema can also play a role in managing sugar cravings due to its temporary action of blocking sucrose receptors in the tongue, thus inhibiting or even entirely negating the sweet taste of sugar. Several compounds including gymnemic acid have been identified with this action.⁴

When taking herbs, the NIMH always recommends seeking the advice of a qualified medical herbalist.  Your nearest NIMH herbalist can be found here.

¹Allen RW, Schwartzman E, Baker WL, Coleman CI, Phung OJ. Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Family Medicine. 2013 Sep-Oct;11(5):452-9.

²Anderson RA. Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2008 Feb; 67 (1):48-53.

³ Al-Romaiyan A, Liu B, Asare-Anane H, Maity CR, Chatterjee SK, Koley N, Biswas T, Chatterji AK, Huang GC, Amiel SA, Persaud SJ, Jones PM. A novel Gymnema sylvestre extract stimulates insulin secretion from human islets in vivo and in vitro. Phytotherapy Research. 2010 Sep;24(9):1370-6.

⁴ Schroeder JA and Flannery-Schroeder E. Use of the Herb Gymnema sylvestre to Illustrate the Principles of Gustatory Sensation: An Undergraduate Neuroscience Laboratory Exercise. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education. 2005 Spring; 3(2): A59–A62.

More about Diabetes Awareness Week

The week is organised by UK charity Diabetes UK, who provide support and education, campaign on behalf of diabetics and fund new research. Despite the extensive media coverage and household familiarity of this condition, there are still misconceptions surrounding Diabetes which has inspired 2016's theme ‘Setting the Record Straight’.

For information about diabetes and local events in the UK:

 More about the NIMH

 The National Institute of Medical Herbalists is the UK's leading professional body representing herbal medicine practitioners.

First established as the National Association of Medical Herbalists in 1864, today the National Institute of Medical Herbalists has more than 700 members across the UK and beyond.

The Institute promotes the benefits of herbal medicine and oversees the provision of the best patient care through the work of its members.

NIMH members undergo a lengthy training programme before they can register as qualified medical herbalists. Practitioners train for at least three years and adhere to a strict code of conduct before they can gain MNIMH or FNIMH after their name. Recently qualified practitioners will have taken a BSc in Phytotherapy (herbal medicine). All NIMH-registered herbalists are fully insured, and follow a strict code of conduct.

NIMH-registered medical herbalists are trained in the same diagnostic skills as mainstream doctors but take a more holistic approach to treating illness. Herbalists treat a wide range of acute and chronic conditions and frequently work in collaboration with GPs and consultants to achieve the best combination of treatments for individual patients.

NIMH can be contacted at:
Clover House, James Court, South Street, Exeter EX1 1EE
Tel: +44 (0) 1392 426022
Fax: +44 (0) 1392 498963