Diabetes is a problem with insulin levels. Glucose is a form of energy from foods that you eat. Insulin is needed to move glucose from the blood into cells for energy. If there isn’t enough insulin, glucose will build up in the blood. It can lead to short and long term health problems. Over time, regular high blood glucose can lead to problems with eyes, heart, kidneys, and nerves.

Medicine and healthy habits can help manage glucose levels. It is important to follow the care plan made with your medical care team. Natural treatments may help with blood glucose control. However, it should only be used with standard treatment.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

These herbs and supplements may help you control your blood glucose levels:

  • Astragalus is a flowering plant that is taken as a supplement. (Note: It should not be taken by people who have problems with their immune system.) A33
  • Berberine is a chemical found in plant called Goldenseal that is taken as a supplement. (Note: Berberine is not safe for children or women who are breastfeeding or pregnant.) A30, A37
  • Fenugreek is an herb that is taken as a supplement. (Note: Fenugreek is not safe for women who are pregnant.) A35
  • Green Tea A7, A22
  • Magnesium is a mineral in the body, in foods, and taken as a supplement. A32, A34
  • Milk Thistle is an herb that is taken as a supplement. A9
  • Blonde psyllium is likely to help control blood glucose when used with standard treatment A29
  • Sweet potato A23

Yoga may help lower your fasting blood glucose. B1-B3

May Be Effective

These herbs and supplements may help you control your blood glucose levels:

  • Aloe vera is a succulent plant that is used in many forms to treat health problems. A12
  • Ayurvedic herbs A11
  • Chinese herbs A19
  • Cinnamon is a spice that is thought to help treat health problems. A3, A5, A6, A8, A14, A17, A21, A24
  • French maritime pine bark is taken as a supplement. (Note: It should not be taken by people who have problems with their immune system.) A13
  • Ginger is a spice that is thought to help treat health problems. A27
  • Ivy gourd (coccinia indica) is taken as a supplement to treat health problems. A4
  • Red ginseng is a root that is taken as a supplement to treat health problems. (Note: Red ginseng may not be safe when taken long-term or by those with certain health problems.) A10, A26, A28
  • Sage (salvia officinalis) is an herb taken as a supplement to treat health problems. (Note: Sage may not be safe when taken long-term or by people with certain health problems, such as seizure disorders.) A25
  • Salacia oblonga is a shrub that grows in Asia. A1, A2, A20
  • Whortleberry comes from a shrub and is used to treat health problems. (Note: It may not be safe when taken at high doses for a long period.) A18

Unlikely to Be Effective

These herbs and supplements are unlikely to help lower your blood glucose levels:

  • Bitter Melon is a tropical, fruit-like gourd. (Note: It should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.) A15
  • Chromium is a mineral that humans need in trace amounts. (Note: Chromium should not be taken by people with certain mental health problems.) A31
  • Vitamin D is available in a few foods and as a supplement. Your body also makes it in response to sunlight. A16, A36

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some may get in the way of treatment. They can also make illness worse or cause new problems. Examples include:

  • Astragalus may make the immune system more active. Talk to your doctor before taking it if you have problems with your immune system.
  • Berberine is not safe for children or women who are breastfeeding or pregnant.
  • Bitter melon should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Toxicities and side effects of Chinese herbs and Ayurvedic medicine vary depending on the herb and amount used.
  • Chromium should not be taken by people with certain mental health problems.
  • Fenugreek is not safe for women who are pregnant. It may cause contractions.
  • French maritime pine bark may make the immune system more active. Talk to your doctor before taking it if you have problems with your immune system.
  • Red ginseng may not be safe when taken long-term or by people with certain health problems, such as auto-immune diseases or bleeding problems.
  • Sage may not be safe when taken long-term or by people with certain health problems, such as seizure disorders.
  • Whortleberry may not be safe when taken at high doses for a long period.

Revision Information