3 Home Remedies People with Diabetes Can Grow on their Windowsill
A reader who has type 2 diabetes asked me what she could do to motivate herself to better manage her disease. One suggestion I neglected to mention was to grow home remedies for diabetes on her windowsill.
I admit this may sound like an unusual recommendation, but here’s the beauty of this suggestion.
First of all, when you grow plants on your windowsill, you are forced to see them every time you look out the window. When you see them, they are a reminder to test your blood sugar, take your medication, or whatever other issue you want to address.
Second, growing your own home remedies means you are taking an active interest in managing your disease. The plants need daily care, and so do you! Third, use of these home remedies may help you achieve better control of your blood sugar and your life.
There is a fourth reason, but it has nothing to do with diabetes: growing your own remedies indoors is fun and can give you a sense of accomplishment. So grab some potting soil, a few pots or any small containers in which you can put a few holes in the bottom, some seeds or starter plants for the herbs mentioned below, and get started!
In several studies, extracts of the herb sage (Salvia officinalis L. Lamiaceae) have demonstrated antidiabetes abilities. One study in particular compared sage with acarbose, a drug commonly used to treat people with type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that sage reduced postprandial (after eating) blood glucose similar to that of acarbose in the short-term and that it was similar to metformin after three weeks of treatment.
How to grow sage
Sage is an easy herb to grow indoors on a windowsill or container on the floor. To start sage from seeds, fill your pots about three-quarters full of soil, place the seeds on top about 1 inch apart, and then cover them with about ½ inch of soil. Press down on the soil on top of the seeds.
Use warm water to wet the soil and cover each pot with plastic wrap. Keep the pots away from a draft for about one week. Check the soil regularly and do not let it dry out. When the sprouts appear, remove the plastic and put the pots on a sunny windowsill.
Once the plant begins to produce lots of leaves, begin to trim it back and use the leaves for tea. Trimming a sage plant helps make it fuller. Dry the leaves either in a low oven, a drying machine, or place in a net bag and hang in a dark, dry place for several days.
The seeds of the coriander (Coriandrum sativum L) plant have long been valued as a treatment for diabetes. In recent years, researchers have explored whether this traditional use of the herb has merit, and the findings have been positive.
For example, researchers used diabetic rats to evaluate the effect of coriander seeds on blood glucose and insulin. The coriander proved to be a potent antioxidant, and it also resulted in a marked reduction in blood glucose and a rise in insulin.
An earlier study looked at the impact of coriander seeds on lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) in rats. The authors found that animals given coriander showed a reduction in bad cholesterol and a rise in good cholesterol when compared with rats not given the seeds.
How to grow coriander
To be specific, the leaves of the plant are known as cilantro and the seeds that it produces are called coriander. You can grow it from seed or purchase a small plant. Cilantro is an annual, which means it is short-lived so you may want to plant seeds every few weeks if you want a continuous supply of seeds for harvesting.
If you start the plant from seeds, gently crush them, soak them overnight in water, and then let them dry. Store the extras for later use.
Plant the seeds in fast-draining soil about 1 inch deep in a tall pot (about 8 inches). Keep the soil moist but not wet. Cilantro grows best in bright light but not direct sunlight. Feed the plant some compost occasionally.
After the plant flowers, the seeds will form. Harvest the seeds before they fall off the plant. Store them in an airtight container and ground them in a spice grinder when ready for use in recipes. The seeds also are great when lightly toasted and added to vegetables, stews, casseroles, and salads.
Garlic (Allium sativum) scores big points in the culinary world but it also has been shown to be an important player in diabetes. Here’s what one recent study had to say when the herb was compared with metformin.
One group of diabetics was given metformin daily while the other group received metformin plus garlic. While both groups experienced a reduction in fasting blood glucose and postprandial blood glucose, those who took garlic had a larger decline. Those who took garlic also had a better decrease in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and bad cholesterol and a better increase in good cholesterol than did those who took metformin only.
How to grow garlic
Choose a pot that is about 8 inches deep. Each garlic clove that you plant should be about 4 inches away from each other and the edge of the pot, so plan the sizes of your pots accordingly. Garlic likes a mixture of about 3 parts potting soil to one part sand.
Take a bulb of garlic and separate the cloves. Plant each clove with the pointed end up. Push the cloves into the soil about 5 inches and leave about 1 inch of soil at the top. Garlic needs 8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Keep the soil moist but not wet. When the green sprouts emerge and eventually grow a flower, snip them back at the base. This makes the bulb grow larger. It’s time to harvest the garlic when the leaves begin to turn brown. From planting to harvest takes about 8 months.
Growing your own home remedies for type 2 diabetes can be a rewarding experience on several levels. Consult your local agricultural extension service, herb growing websites, and other sources for more information on growing indoor plants.
Deepa B, Anuradha CV. Antioxidant potential of Coriandrum sativum L. seed extract. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 2011 Jan; 49(1): 30-38
Dhanapakiam P et al. The cholesterol lowering property of coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum): mechanism of action. Journal of Environmental Biology 2008 Jan; 29(1): 53-56
Kumar R et al. Antihyperglycemic, antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory and adenosine deaminase-lowering effects of garlic in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with obesity. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity 2013; 6:49-56
Moradabadi L. et al. Hypoglycemic effects of three medicinal plants in experimental diabetes: inhibition of rat intestinal a-glucosidase and enhanced pancreatic insulin and cardiac glut-4 mRNAs expression. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 2013 Summer; 12(3): 387-97