Type 2 diabetes affects more than 8% of Americans and costs the United States approximately $175 billion a year. Food scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been researching the viability of popular culinary herbs in diabetes treatment. Their findings, published in the July edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggest that culinary herbs may be able to manage type 2 diabetes in the same manner as prescription diabetes drugs.
The Dangers of Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the non-insulin form of diabetes that develops gradually when too much sugar hangs out in the bloodstream. Obesity and high sugar diets contribute to the prognosis of the disease. Symptoms manifest as extreme thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, fatigue, slow healing skin infections, and dark patches on the skin. If not regulated, type 2 diabetes can lead to eye and kidney damage, heart attack, stroke, or a diabetic coma.
According to this most recent study, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram may offer a natural way to keep blood glucose levels stable. Researchers tested both greenhouse-grown and commercially purchased dried forms of the herbs. They were looking to measure their effect on two enzymes involved in type 2 diabetes. The enzyme DPP-IV (or DPP-4) helps to control insulin secretion, and the enzyme PTP1B plays a role in insulin signaling.
Results showed that the greenhouse-grown herbs were the most nutrient dense, with the highest concentration of antioxidant polyphenols and flavonoids, and had the most effect on the DPP-IV enzyme. The commercially purchased dried herbs had the most inhibitory impact on the PTP1B enzyme, an enzyme notoriously difficult to suppress with prescription drugs.
More studies need to be determined for a definitive assessment, but it looks like adding some culinary herbs to your diet could be a great recipe for glucose control!