You’re probably referring to Salacia oblonga (or S. oblonga) an herb traditionally used in Indian medicine to help control the increase in blood sugar that follows a meal. A study published in the January 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that a drink made with the herb blunts this effect and also reduces insulin levels. S. oblonga grows in India and Sri Lanka, but is not well known in the United States, and has not been widely researched.
Glucose in the bloodstream passes through the kidneys, where it can either be excreted or reabsorbed. Sodium-glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2) works in the kidney to reabsorb glucose, and a new class of medication, SGLT2 inhibitors, block this action, causing excess glucose to be eliminated in the urine. Canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), and empagliflozin (Jardiance) are SGLT2 inhibitors that have been approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes. Because they increase glucose levels in the urine, side effects can include urinary tract and yeast infections.
According to studies, cinnamon may have a positive effect on the glycemic control and the lipid profile in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2. This is because it contains 18% polyphenol content in dry weight. This popular Indian spice can improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. According to a study published in Journal Of The American Board Of Family Medicine, “cinnamon lowered HbA1C by 0.83% compared with standard medication alone lowering HbA1C 0.37%. Taking cinnamon could be useful for lowering serum HbA1C in type 2 diabetics with HbA1C >7.0 in addition to usual care.”
In addition to their usual diabetes regimen -- a careful diet, regular exercise, and in some cases, medication -- 23 type 2 diabetic patients took either 3 grams of American ginseng or a placebo each day for eight weeks, at which point they switched treatments. The diabetic patients' fasting blood sugar levels dropped about 9% more when they took ginseng compared with when they took the placebo; glycosylated hemoglobin levels between the two groups differed by 4%, with the ginseng group being lower.
To the extent that you can do these five things, you can reverse diabetes yourself! Diabetes is not a difficult disease to prevent or reverse because it's not really an affliction that "strikes" you randomly. It is merely the biological effect of following certain lifestyle (bad foods, no exercise) that can be reversed in virtually anyone, sometimes in just a few days.
There are many drugs available to treat type 2 diabetes. Your diabetes care team can help you understand the differences among the types of medication on this long list, and will explain how you take them, what they do, and what side effects they may cause. Your doctor will discuss your specific situation and your options for adding one or more types of medication to your treatment.
In-person diabetes prevention programs: The CDC offers a one year long lifestyle change program through its National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) at various locations throughout the US to help participants adopt healthy habits and prevent or delay progression to type 2 diabetes. This program is a major undertaking by the CDC to translate the findings from the DPP study into a real world setting, a significant effort indeed!
The bionic pancreas is another project from Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital in a joint effort to create a bionic pancreas, a type of artificial pancreas which not only includes insulin but also glucagon to raise blood sugar. The system is intended to use an algorithm that checks every 5 minutes to calculate the amount of insulin or glucagon needed. The project has recently formed into a public benefit corporation called Beta Bionics. This newer structure allows it to serve not just shareholders, but also the public good. Beta Bionics also became the first American company to raise over a $1 million from small investors under new public investing rules!