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Natural Healing for Diabetes
by Gayle Eversole, PhD, CRNP, AHG, Executive Director, Creating Health Institute
© CHI Creating Health Institute – 1998
From a talk given at the Indian Health Service Hospital, Browning, Montana, May 1, 1998.
Natural Healing is the oldest medicine known. It has been traced to cave paintings that have existed as long as 18,000 years. Historically natural healing is known to be a part of every culture. Most of the history and use of herbs in North America, and the development of the medical system, comes from the ancient and old ways of tribal people.
Part of natural healing includes the use of herbs, which I call First Medicine.
Natural healing is based on the concept that the body can heal itself, given the right environment. The human body, and all of our brothers and sisters in the animal kingdom, is endowed with the knowledge of self – healing. As the wonderful Dr. John R. Christopher taught us, “there are no incurable diseases, only incurable people.” Healing is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Without all of these four directions included in your healing, nothing will occur. In my work I can not do what I do without the help of the Creator. And so it is for us all.
In the old times tribal people, especially of the plains, were known to have a physiological state for survival, which may have been related to the nomadic life. This state was in some ways similar to what is called “ketosis” in diabetes mellitus.
This changed with the development of the reservation system, and the traditional diet. White flour, white sugar (and now artificial sweeteners), processed salt, processed foods, high fat and overcooked foods, and excessive red meat lead to poor health and bring on chronic diseases of many kinds, especially diabetes.
I have, with the help of information from Ivan MacDonald and LSBC, found that at least 25% of the people of the Blackfoot are known diabetics. Diabetes has a high incidence on all reservations, and now in the general population.
At the Pima Reservation in Arizona the incidence of diabetes is 50%. David Christopher, a Master Herbalist in Utah, provided me with this information. He believes, as I do, that this is directly related to the government food program, and nutrient poor diets in general.
Diabetes is called the silent epidemic. It is the most common dis-order of the endocrine system (glands) known today. It effects your whole body !
The pancreas is the main gland involved in diabetes. It is located behind the stomach and it secretes digestive enzymes and insulin, as well as helping with energy storage of glucagon, secreted by alpha cells, in the liver.
The pancreas is one part of a whole system which includes the pituitary gland in your head (Master Gland), the thyroid gland located in your throat (helps with metabolism and calcium), the thymus (sits behind the chest bone – acts with the immune and lymph systems), the adrenal glands (located on top of each kidney and helps with stress and the production of corticosteroids), the ovaries in women and testes in men (producers of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone).
The pancreas has several functions. It is directly connected with the pituitary gland through hormonal secretion. The vagus nerve from the brain directly connects to the pancreas too. The pancreas is most often thought of as the gland that secretes insulin and digestive enzymes. It works in conjunction with the liver (by helping to regulate hormones and manufacture enzymes). It works with the adrenal glands in stress related situations.
Juvenile diabetes (Type 1) is an insulin dependent form of diabetes brought about because the beta cells of the pancreas fail to manufacture and secrete insulin. It is considered by some to be an auto-immune dysfunction. It is my opinion that there is a correlation between the development of Type 1 diabetes and immunizations in infants and young children.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes can be treated effectively with natural healing. Other types of diabetes are related to stress of pregnancy, surgery, alcoholism, and various chronic conditions.
Approximately 10 million people have diabetes and the numbers are rising.
A large body of research exits that shows reversal of diabetes with diet. In the 1960′s a study was done at the Hines, Illinois Veteran’s Administration Hospital showed that Adult Onset diabetes can be reversed with a whole foods diet. New research shows the importance of diet as the crucial factor in prevention of diabetes and reversal of the dysfunction. The average American diet causes you to be two times more likely to develop diabetes.
Diabetes is the 4th Leading Cause of Death
It is implicated in heart dis-ease, stroke, blindness, impotence, amputation, kidney failure, nerve damage, brain disorders, and gangrene.
Diagnosing diabetes is often delayed up to seven years. This time allows the devastating side effects of the dis-ease to develop. According to the National Institute of Health, ” . . . only one-half of those with diabetes actually know it.” The American Diabetes association has worked very hard to have the blood test levels lowered. Impaired fasting glucose was diagnosed at 126mg/dl; now it is 110 -125 mg/dl. Normal fasting blood sugar is 80 to 110 mg/dl.
Glucose (sugar) does its damage by attaching to proteins and causing the proteins to clump together in your blood. This clumping then attaches to other proteins, closing off the blood vessels. Now the blood vessels cannot supply glucose to cells for energy, especially brain cells. The cells then die.
The following things create high risk for developing diabetes: Overweight, lack of exercise, family history of diabetes, stress diabetes in pregnancy, and being older than age 45. Visual impairment, cardiovascular disease, elevated blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides in the blood stream increase the risk factor by 20 per cent.
One third of all those who develop diabetes never have classic symptoms. Of increased thirst, frequent urination, and weight loss. Other symptoms that may be over looked are gum disease, vaginitis in women, yeast infection, slow healing, tingling in the lips, and itching. Also overlooked may be unusual hunger, irritability, visual disturbances, general numbness and tingling, recurrent infections involving skin – gums – and bladder. Fatigue is often ignored as a primary symptom of diabetes.
Nutritional deficiencies may lead to the development of diabetes or increase the risk of other damage caused by the dis-ease. Chromium deficiency prevents the ability of glucose and insulin to normalize. Chromium is lost in the processing of wheat into enriched, bleached white flour. Low fiber diets lead to magnesium deficiency causing insulin resistance and platelet aggregation. Magnesium deficiency is responsible for at least 200,000 deaths in this country every year.
Using nutritional supplements like chromium in a does of 200 micrograms three times daily, vanadyl sulfate (vanadium which decreases insulin dependence in some people), and magnesium, along with antioxidants vitamins C and E, and alpha lipoic acid may prevent the binding of proteins and glucose in the blood. Zinc, a mineral necessary to pituitary and endocrine health will reduce lipids (fat) in the blood, decrease blood sugar, and decrease insulin resistance. Be cautious not to take more than 60 mg. daily. Zinc, like chromium is lost in food processing.
What You Can Do
Diabetes is preventable and reversible. Changing your diet and lifestyle is the most important thing you can do for your health. Reduce or eliminate high fat protein foods (Velveeta), fast acting carbohydrates (pastries), high glycemic index foods like white bread, white flour, colas, low fiber cereals and other processed foods. Eat less white rice and potatoes, exchanging them with brown or wild rice and yellow or red potatoes.
Examples of low glycemic foods are slow acting carbohydrates like dried beans, legumes (very important), peanuts (dry roasted or raw in natural peanut butter), barley, natural yogurt, apples (high in fiber and pectin), broccoli, whole grains, and oranges.
Healthy fats are important to your health. Examples are avocado, coconut, cold pressed olive oil, and almonds. Almonds are high in magnesium. The health fats in this list of foods act to decrease abnormalities of fatty acid metabolism, increase anti-oxidant function, and decrease insulin needs in the body. Other health promoting essential fats include flax oil, coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, sunflower oil, borage oil, and other selected oils.
Animal fats are the most harmful because they increase insulin levels in the blood and clog arteries. Avoiding margarine is important as it is considered to cause a highly dangerous level of trans fatty acids (deadly) in the blood. Margarine is found in most, if not all, commercial bakery products. Margarine is heated when it is being made and this heating process is a causative factor of poor health.
Flax is the source for a very healthy fat called an essential fatty acid. It is obtained from seeds. Flax is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which is also found in fish. Eating as little as one ounce of fish every day will reduce the risk factor of arterial blockage by 50 per cent. Fish is a highly absorbable and usable form of protein.
It is important to watch your weight. Weight loss alone has been shown to reduce the impact on diabetes, and insulin need. It also lowers blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Avoid or severely limit your use of artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet and Splenda. These chemical cause obesity and sugar cravings. NutraSweet deteriorates rapidly in heat and becomes formaldehyde and methyl alcohol. These are very dangerous substances to your brain and overall health. Splenda impacts the immune system by its impact on the thymus gland. Use stevia, an herbal sweetener 100 times sweeter than sugar, safe for diabetics, and it prevents tooth decay.
Eat small frequent meals to create a steady state of blood sugar in your body. Use herbs and spices like cinnamon, clove turmeric, and bay leaf. These are warming digestants and will stimulate the production of insulin and help balance blood sugar. Eat lower calorie snacks like dry roasted or raw peanuts, apples for fiber and pectin (pectin will lower blood sugar), raw vegetables, or low fat frozen yogurt. You might even want a piece of chocolate cake, but give up the mashed potatoes in your dinner in exchange.
Fermented foods prevent rapid rise of insulin. Sourdough bread is a good choice of a fermented food. Even one glass of red wine daily will reduce blood sugar and insulin need, while increasing the healthy cholesterol – HDL.
Using Whole Foods and Whole Herbs
Have more fresh fruits and vegetable, legumes, and whole grain in your diet.
Some researchers believe that a virus causes juvenile diabetes. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and bed wetting. An important thing to do is to treat the thymus and adrenal glands to calm and strengthen the immune system. Herbs to help with this are marshmallow root and astragalus. Chromium helps support the beta cells of the pancreas and this comes from whole grain. Using Jurassic Green and Vitalerbs work to stabilize blood sugar and cleanse the cells. For kidney and bladder problems use cranberry, Marshmallow Root, Parsley, and Juni-Pars formula. Marshmallow and juniper berries are found in the traditional Blackfoot herbal.
Detoxification at the cellular level is very important to cleanse the body of toxins. You cannot heal if the cells in your body are toxic.
For adult onset diabetes it is important to alter diet by adding more whole foods, and using herbal and nutritional supplements. (See Intuitive Eating)
Herbs are used to treat the liver, support adrenals, and rebuild the pancreas. Some of these herbs are *barberry, a traditional *Blackfoot herb, uva ursi, *cedar berry (nourishes pancreas), *huckleberry (promotes insulin production), *dandelion (balances blood sugar – coffee substitute), *bilberry (for eyes), and buchu. Garlic increases circulation, immunity, and blood sugar stability. Formulas are Panc Tea, Barberry LG, and Adrenentone. Also beneficial are bioSUPPLEMENTE NATURELLE, nutritional yeast, manganese, and high fiber foods.
Try and avoid tobacco if you are diabetic. Smoking causes increased vascular constriction. Kidney damage is three times more likely to occur with this dis-ease if you smoke. Smoking also impairs sodium balance and decrease natural lubrication of your skin. If you smoke for five years you age the equivalent of fifteen years.
Sodium is very important to fluid balance in the body, and provides other needs of health. Processed salt is heated to 1500 degrees F, then additives and adulterants are added to make free poring salt. This salt is deficient of water and cause water retention and other harm. Natural mineral rich salt like Blackfoot Traditional Salt acts as a natural catalyst used by enzymes needed for health, and prevents dehydration of the cells.
When one endocrine gland is not working effectively, all the other endocrine glands suffer form some degree of dys-function. An example with diabetes is the mal functioning of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroid, or low functioning thyroid may be a leading cause of diabetes. It certainly is one of the hidden symptoms of diabetes. The Barnes Test is a non-invasive way to assess the thyroid. It is accomplished by measuring body temperature.
If you develop stress diabetes in pregnancy it is more likely that your baby will have some birth defects. Using bioSUPPLEMENTE NATURELLE may prevent diabetes and birth defects such as spina bifida. This natural formula also prevents morning sickness and excessive vomiting called hyperemesis gravidarium in pregnancy. It may also prevent toxemia.
Vitamin A helps with diabetic retinopathy and cataracts that may develop with diabetes. Castor Oil ( Palma Christi, a pure, cold-pressed castor oil will prevent cataracts and other eye conditions with proper use). Other herbs such as bilberry and cayenne help the eyes and vision.
Reducing your protein intake brings relief to the kidneys. Niacinamide is helpful to gout and Type 1 diabetes. It is believed that it supports beta cell function.
More Help with Whole Herbs and Whole Foods
A glass of hot water and the juice of one lemon every morning helps cleanse the liver and gall bladder. Carrot-Beet-Cucumber Juice supports the liver, gall bladder and kidneys.
Asparagus-Carrot juice and Brussel Sprouts will strengthen the pancreas.
Green String Beans and their juice helps diabetes, especially weight problems. If you mix this juice with Brussel Sprouts you can promote natural insulin.
A traditional folk remedy used for more than one hundred years, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and Raw, unpasteurized honey will reduce high blood pressure. This tea also helps provide calcium so it is helpful in preventing osteoporosis, and other health problems.
Bitter Root, another traditional Blackfoot herb, will bring help for kidneys, rheumatoid dis-eases, heart, and diabetes. This herb acts on the liver and gall bladder to stimulate bile salts which activate the digestive enzyme pancreatic lipase (for fat digestion). You can mix bitterroot with peppermint, fennel, and calamus.
Huckleberry aids the pancreas. It is high in vitamins B, C, K, and iron.
Foods to use include kelp, dulse, chard, turnip greens, wheat germ, egg yolk ( free range fertile eggs), cod roe, sesame seed butter (tahini), seeds, nuts (not oily and salty), raw goat’s milk, and sardines (high in RNA and DNA).
Also think of black cherry, pineapple, chlorophyll (Jurassic Green), ginseng, angelica, licorice, echinacea, goldenseal, and dandelion.
For the health of your endocrine system you need foods high in vitamin B complex, E, and C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, lecithin, choline and inositol (found in lecithin and flax). Important minerals are iodine, silica, chlorine, magnesium, manganese, sodium, potassium, sulfur, and iron.
Exercise daily, walking is wonderful! Return to a whole foods diet and give honor to the health given to you from the traditional way of life.
SPECIAL NOTE:Thank you for your interest in my work. I hope you will benefit in some way through this information. I am happy to know that you are interested in your health, and becoming more in charge of your own health.