Can the insulin plant actually treat diabetes? How do you eat insulin leaves? How many leaves do you need to eat to lower blood sugar levels? Get all your answers here!
We have all heard of several home remedies for Type 2 Diabetes. From karela juice, to apple cider vinegar, to cow urine, some may work, some may not. However, there is one home remedy that has become popular lately, and that is the insulin plant for diabetes. Does this plant really work? Does it stimulate insulin production as it claims? Read on to learn if the insulin plant is helpful in treating Type 2 Diabetes.
What is the Role of Insulin in Your Body?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells in your pancreas. Normally, the pancreas (an organ located behind the stomach) produces insulin to assist your body in storing and utilising the sugar and fat from the food you eat. Most of what you eat or drink is broken down into a simple sugar called “glucose”. This glucose is then transported through the bloodstream to your cells, where it is used to provide some of the energy you need for your daily activities. Insulin regulates the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Type 2 Diabetes is characterised by either a lack of insulin production or by insulin resistance in the body’s cells, resulting in high levels of sugar (glucose) circulating in the blood, also known as high blood sugar.
Insulin Leaves: Nutritional Value
The insulin plant, also known as Costus igneus, has been used in Ayurveda to lower blood glucose levels. The leaves are high in fibre, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins like ascorbic acid, and α-tocopherol. The leaves also contain phytochemicals such as triterpenoids, saponins, tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, and β-carotene,
The triterpenoids like corosolic acid, α and β-amyrin are thought to be the major compounds that exhibit the hypoglycaemic (blood sugar lowering) properties of the Insulin plant.
What are the Benefits of Insulin Plant for Diabetes?
Though numerous studies have been conducted on the hypoglycaemic properties of the insulin plant, the exact mechanism of action is yet to be determined. Most of these studies claim that there has been a noticeable and significant decrease in blood sugar levels after consuming the leaves from the Costus igneus plant.
Studies claim that this glucose-lowering property of the insulin leaves can be the result of one or more of the following.
- The phytochemicals in the insulin leaves improve insulin sensitivity in your cells, thus promoting glucose uptake.
- The phytochemicals, especially α and β-amyrin, stimulate insulin production from your pancreatic β-cells.
- The fibre and other compounds in the insulin leaves slow down the absorption of glucose from your gut.
How to Use Insulin Plant Leaves for Diabetes?
- You can chew on a leaf of this plant every day for a month to start seeing positive effects.
- You can also get the benefits of this plant by drying the leaves and powdering them. Collect the leaves of this plant, wash with water, and dry them in the shade. After that, grind the dried leaves. The resulting powder can be consumed daily. Consume one tablespoon (10 to 15 g) of this powder every day.
Studies have shown that the insulin plant does not cause any toxicity when consumed in higher quantities. However, it is advisable to limit your consumption to one or two fresh leaves or 10 to 15 g (1 tbsp) of dried powder a day.
If you are on medication for Type 2 Diabetes, consult your doctor before consuming insulin leaves.
What is the Best Time to Consume Insulin Leaves?
The ideal time to consume insulin leaves or powder is in the morning, before or after your breakfast. However, the leaves can also be consumed in the evenings, before a snack or dinner.
What are the Risks of Over-consumption of the Insulin Leaves?
Several studies have observed that regular consumption of the leaves of the insulin plant had no side effects. The leaves showed no toxicity during studies despite being administered in higher quantities. Although there are no reported adverse effects of over consumption of insulin leaves, it is recommended to limit your consumption to two leaves per day.
What are the Other Health Benefits of the Insulin Plant?
- The leaves of the insulin plant exhibit antibacterial properties against a variety of gram-positive bacteria.
- The insulin leaves are a rich source of various antioxidants, which can prevent damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals to your cells. Thus, the leaves may lower your risk of developing diseases caused by oxidative stress, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, atherosclerosis, heart diseases, etc.
- Several studies have shown that the insulin plant has a hypolipidaemic properties, i.e. consuming insulin leaves regularly can also reduce high cholesterol levels .
- Some studies have shown that the phytochemicals in insulin plant extract may prevent the formation of kidney stones by stopping the formation of calcium oxalate crystals. Further research needs to be done on the potential of the insulin plant to treat kidney stones.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. Type 2 Diabetes is characterised by either a lack of insulin production or by insulin resistance in the body’s cells, resulting in high levels of sugar circulating in the blood.
- The leaves of the insulin plant (Costus igneus) are high in carbohydrates, fibre, protein, flavonoids, triterpenoids, tannins, saponins, antioxidants such as ascorbic acid, β-carotene, and α-tocopherol.
- The exact mechanism of action of the leaves of the insulin plant in lowering blood sugar levels is yet to be determined, but it is thought to induce hypoglycaemia by improving insulin sensitivity in your cells, stimulating insulin production in your pancreas, and by slowing glucose absorption in your gut.
- You can consume up to two fresh insulin leaves or 10 to 15 g of powdered dried insulin leaves a day.
- The ideal time to eat the insulin leaves or powder would be in the mornings, before or after breakfast.
- The insulin plant is considered safe for consumption, and is not known to cause any adverse effects if consumed in excess. However, if you are on diabetes medication, consult your doctor before taking insulin leaves
- The insulin plant has also been shown to have antimicrobial, hypolipidaemic, and antioxidant properties. It may also prevent the formation of kidney stones when consumed regularly.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management program which provides 360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.
Friendly Asked Questions
You can consume the leaves of the insulin plant for diabetes by harvesting one or two leaves, thoroughly washing them in water, and then chewing them thoroughly before swallowing. Alternatively, you can clean and dry the leaves in shade, and grind them to a fine powder once the leaves are completely dry. This powder can be mixed into a glass of water or milk and consumed.
You can consume up to two insulin leaves in a day. Alternatively, you can consume about one tablespoon (10 to 15 g) of dried insulin leaf powder per day.
You can observe changes in your blood sugar levels after consuming the insulin plant leaves daily for about 15 to 30 days.
No, you cannot obtain Insulin from plants. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas that are found in animals. However, plants have certain phytochemicals that can stimulate the production of insulin from your pancreas, or mimic the function of insulin.
No, several studies have shown that consuming the leaves of the insulin plant (Costus igneus) is not harmful to your kidneys. According to research, the plant extract may be beneficial for preventing the formation calcium oxalate crystals (stones) in your kidneys.