The following article gives information about diabetes and what causes diabetes.

This is a growing condition and research suggests that it can be controlled by combining medical and natural methods. As part of our regular newsletter there will be examples of successful alternative treatments.

What is diabetes? Can you prevent and treat diabetes?

Diabetes occurs either when the pancreas stops producing insulin or the body is unable to use the insulin it produces. Both result in glucose, the body's fuel, not being absorbed by the cells. Insulin is needed to be present and working for this absorption to occur.

There are two types of Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 is insulin dependent and diabetics must inject themselves with insulin daily to control blood sugar levels. Type 1's pancreas is not producing insulin or producing insufficient insulin, the result of which is the body is unable to process glucose (sugar). This causes a high level of glucose in the blood, and low absorption of the vital energy-producing glucose by the tissues.

Blood sugar levels can swing wildly between Hyperglycaemia and Hypoglycaemia.

a) Hyperglycaemia - when there is an abnormally large amount of sugar in the blood

b) Hypoglycaemia - when there is an abnormally small amount of sugar in the blood.

Type 1 usually first appears under the age of 35, particularly in adolescents and develops rapidly.

Type 2 diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, the body produces its own insulin, but the cells are unable to respond to it properly. This form of diabetes is associated with obesity and in some cases pregnancy. It usually affects people aged 40 and over. It is often possible for those with Type 2 to avoid taking drugs and to regulate the condition with changes to their diet.

This approach in most cases is more effective and more pleasant. But always consult with your health practitioner.

Improve your circulation

Diabetes can cause narrowing of the small blood vessels throughout the body. The higher the blood sugar levels, the more the small blood vessels narrow. Resulting in the vessels carrying less blood and circulation is impaired. Poor circulation can lead to a number of complications connected to diabetes: eye, foot and kidney problems. See the circulation article for lots more tips.

There are number of foods and herbs that can assist in controlling the blood sugar levels.

Some well known herbs to help you:

Goldenseal will bring elevated blood sugar levels plunging down and step up the production of insulin in the pancreas. For type 2 diabetics this is great news, but for hypoglycaemics it is something to watch very carefully. Goldenseal should help but not cure diabetes. A tincture extract can be taken approximately 15 drops, two or three times daily.

Scientific studies have shown that onions reduce blood sugar levels for longer periods than insulin, but more slowly. Ensure you have plenty in your diet. Onions are best eaten raw as cooking partially destroys its active compounds, which are contained in a highly volatile oil. Like onions, garlic has a significant ability to control blood sugar levels. Garlic has a strong odour so take as a tincture or other supplement. Either way try to ensure your diet is rich in garlic.

Fenugreek contains six compounds that help regulate blood sugar levels. Modern research shows that fenugreek seeds not only lower blood glucose but reduce insulin levels, total cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL (the good cholesterol).

Olive leaf acts as a hypotensive (lowers the blood sugar levels) and dilates the walls of blood vessels. Thereby increasing blood flow and circulation through the body and to vital organs. It has no side effects even when taken over a long period, so it is good for diabetics.

Cayenne pepper is a wonderful herb to stimulate circulation. When your blood is circulating more efficiently you don't need as much of the chemicals that your body produces. A little will go a long way.

A retired plant scientist and a former Smithsonian botanist, James A. Duke and Edward S.Ayensu believe that Korean ginseng is a remedy for a wide variety of disease or ills. In their two-volume reference work Medicinal Plants of China (1:123) they report that among other aliments ginseng is good for diabetes.