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Diabetes, which is also referred to as the term ‘Xiao-Ke’ in 中医 is characterised by constant thirst and hunger, along with excessive urine and weight loss. Diabetes can be caused by several factors, but high blood sugar is the main cause of diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. In treating diabetes, its important to know firstly which type your diabetes fall under. 

Type 1 Diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition as the antibodies in the system attacks the pancreas, causing damage which in the process, results in the pancreas unable to make insulin. Insulin is important as it helps to use sugar in the food we eat for energy as well as storing it. It keeps our blood sugar level balanced too so that its not too high or too low. Type 1 diabetes can be managed by taking insulin. 

Type 2 Diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin hormone in their body to break down glucose, causing a high concentration of sugar in the blood. Factors such as obesity and unhealthy diet loaded with sugar put people at risk of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by medication, exercising regularly and also controlling their diet.

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TCM’s Perspective 

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been using Chinese herbs and other treatments such as acupuncture for thousands of years. From TCM’s perspective, ‘Xiao-Ke’ is caused by Yin deficiency. When there is a Yin deficiency in the body, excess heat is produced. 

Herbs Good For Diabetes 

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1. Ginger

Ginger is a herb that has been used since ancient times in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat all sorts of ailments. They are often used to treat any digestive and inflammatory problems. However, they can be good for diabetic patients too by helping to lower blood sugar levels which is suitable for patients with Type 2 diabetes. 

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2. Tea

If you have a habit of reaching for that carbonated soft drink, switch it to tea instead if you want a flavoured drink without any sugar or calories. Other than a healthy drink, tea may also be helpful for diabetic patients, especially black tea. Studies have found that black tea is effective in helping to slow down the absorption of blood sugar. 

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3. Cinnamon

For patients with type 2 diabetes, cinnamon is a good herb to include in their diet as well. Research has found that cinnamon can imitate the effects of insulin, lowering the blood sugar level in the body. Other than diabetic patients, it is generally encouraged for people who often experience food coma after meals. People often feel lethargic after lunch and find it difficult to focus at work as they experience a sudden spike and drop in blood sugar level. Cinnamon can help to control the spikes by slowing down the absorption of food.