8 Herbs That Help Heal

Fresh herbs

In many cases, exercise and diet is enough to regulate and help fight off disease, but when it is not, medicine is available. But even beyond traditional medicine, there are more options still.

As with many other ailments, people often look to natural remedies and herbs to assist with their treatment. Because of this, several botanical and herbal supplements have been studied as alternative treatments for type 2 diabetes and other diseases. Read onto find out if trying them might work for you.

• Milk thistle: This flowering herb is found near the Mediterranean Sea. It has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It is sometimes known by the name of its active component, silybinin. Milk thistle has been widely used to help with liver disease.

• Fenugreek: This herb has been used as a medicine and as a spice for thousands of years in the Middle East. Benefits of fenugreek include help with fighting breast cancer.  In one study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, fenugreek was found to have a significant effect on controlling blood sugar.

• Psyllium: This plant fiber is found in common bulk laxatives and fiber supplements. Psyllium has also been used historically to treat diabetes. Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes who take 10 grams of psyllium every day can improve their blood sugar and lower blood cholesterol.

• Cinnamon: Consuming about half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can result in significant improvement in blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. One of the biggest things that cinnamon fights is heart disease. Add it to your diet weekly.

• Holy basil: This herb is commonly used in India as a traditional medicine for inflammation.  If you have inflammation in your organs or joints, adding this to your drink has shown great promise. Studies in animals suggest that holy basil may increase the secretion of insulin. A controlled trial of holy basil in people with type 2 diabetes showed a positive effect on fasting blood sugar and on blood sugar following a meal.

• Ginseng: Ginseng has been used as a traditional medicine for more than 2,000 years. In addition to sexual health, studies suggest that both Asian and American ginseng may help increase blood circulation and energy levels. One study found that extract from the ginseng berry was able to normalize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity in mice that were bred to develop diabetes.

• Aloe vera: This plant has been used for thousands of years for its healing properties. Some studies suggest that the juice from the aloe vera plant can help lower blood sugar in people with types 2 diabetes. The dried sap of the aloe vera plant has traditionally been used in Arabia to treat diabetes.

• Bitter melon: This is a popular ingredient of Asian cooking and traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed to relieve thirst and fatigue, which are possible symptoms of liver disease and pancreatic cancer. Research has shown that extract of bitter melon can also reduce blood sugar.


Giving Care: Communication Is Key

african american medical nurse handshaking with senior patientCommunication between family caregivers and their recipients is something which is often overlooked or undervalued.

The one who is affected will often fail to communicate what they’re going through to the very people who most need to know. They may fail to tell their friends; they may fail to tell their families; they may fail to tell their colleagues and employers. They may even fail to tell their doctors. And that failure to communicate — or that failure to communicate effectively — all too often means they aren’t getting the understanding, help and treatment that they need.

Caregivers too often talk ‘about’ the family member instead of ‘to’ them. Open two way communication is essential for working together to make life easier and more fulfilling for both. Effective communication is vital in dealing with the everyday aspects of any disease or disability. Talking about how you feel, both physically and emotionally, isn’t always easy, but if you don’t express your feelings, the people around you are in no position to provide the help and support you may need. If the family caregiver does not communicate their feelings as well, this can lead to hurt and misunderstanding on the part of the care recipient.

Living with a disease or disability can be tough, especially if you do it in isolation. Learning to communicate effectively with every member of the treatment team — from friends, family and colleagues to the health professionals involved — can make your road a lot smoother in countless ways.

Communication between Caregivers and Care Recipients

Really listen

• Listen to what the person is saying.
• Try to determine what the person is hearing you say.
• Listen to silence as silence allows someone to think about what is being discussed or how to respond.

Ask Questions

• Find out what is really going on.
• Are you assuming some things about what the other person is saying because you think you know everything that is going on.

Use Body Language to Improve Communication

• Look the person in the eye.
• Lean into the person or put a hand on the person’s arm or shoulder; remember that not everyone likes to be touched so this may not be effective.

Talk directly to the person

• It may be easy for caregivers to “multi-task” as they prepare meals, do laundry, take someone to the grocery store, or accompany them to a doctor’s appointment.

• It is important to set aside time to have one-on-one conversation.

• This may save time in the long run because misunderstandings can be avoided.

• If the care receiver feels heard and understood they may talk about something that is a concern or fear.

Avoid arguing

• Listen to concerns and try to understand the other person’s experience and opinions.
• Remember that it is still his or her life and care.
• Focus on meeting unmet needs and not on conflict.

Use humor when appropriate

• Humor can help ease tension.
• Most caregivers and care receivers know each other well enough to find humor in the situation.