How Useful Is Karela For Diabetic Patients?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which is characterized by high blood sugar level . In this disease, the islets of Langerhans particularly the beta cells, which helps in the production of insulin gets affected because of this our body is unable to manage the blood sugar level.
In ayurveda diabetes is known as 'Madhumeha' or 'Prameha'. It is a "Kapha Pradhan Tridoshaj Vyadhi", in which a person shows symptoms like, polyurea, polydipsia, polyphagia, burning sensation in hands and feet, excessive sweating, sweet taste in mouth, etc. It will affect all the systems of the body due to the involvement of ojas thus, difficult to manage.
The reason behind diabetes is an imbalance of hormone insulin, and the cause of this deficiency or impairment in the function of insulin is our unhealthy or bad lifestyle, which was mentioned decades ago, in our Ayurvedic classics. Here, the bad lifestyle includes - our unwholesome diet and daily routine, etc.
As per our classics, the causative factors are -
(Reference - CharakSsamhita / Chikitsa Sthana / Chapter no. 6 Shloka no. 4 )
The meaning of this quote goes as -
- Asyasukham - Individuals who used to sit for a long time and not at all performing any physical workouts like following a sedentary lifestyle, they are prone to develop diabetes.
- Swapansukham - Used to sleep for long hours, especially in the day time.
- Dadhini - Excessive consumption of curd.
- Gramyaodak - Excessive intake of foods which are readily available in villages like - butter, curd, etc.
- Anuparasam - Excessive consumption of seafood.
- Payamsi - Excessive consumption of milk products.
- Navannapana - Consuming newly harvested food items.
- Gudavikritam - Excessive consumption of sweet items.
Individuals indulging in excessive consumption of this kind of products and following the unwholesome regimens, and already possess kapha prakruti, may prone to develop a disease which is kapha predominant, named 'Prameha'.
Currently, diabetes is a rampant disease which has not well-oriented treatment in modern science. But Ayurveda can give many options to treat this havoc. As it is categorized under lifestyle and genetic disorders, Ayurveda starts its management with the correction of lifestyle behavior that includes our dietary habits and lifestyle habits.
In Ayurvedic classics, there are various herbal medicines are explained for the treatment of diabetes. One among them is karela (Bitter gourd). Karela (Bitter gourd) is a herb mentioned in our classics by the name of 'Karvellam'. Karela means bitter gourd or bitter melon or Momordica charantia (in Latin) it is an herbal climber that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family.
(Reference - Bhavaprakasha Nighantu / Shaka Varga / Karvellam / Shloka no. 63, 64)
Meaning of this Shloka goes as
The synonyms of this herb are karvellam and kathinam. There are two varieties explained as karela and kareli. Both of them have the same qualities but small variety (kareli) is a bit light for digestion and enhances the digestive fire. It possesses qualities as follow -
- Rasa - Tikta (Bitter)
- Guna - Laghu (Light)
- Virya - Sheet (Cold)
- Dosha - Slightly aggravates vata dosha and subsides pitta and kapha dosha.
- Karma - Malbhedak (Breakdown the stool in small particles), agni deepaka (increases the digestive fire),
- Effective - Treats jwara (fever), asra (bleeding disorders), pandu (anemia), meha (diabetes), krimi (worms).
Carotene, momoridicine, glycosides, saponins and volatile oils are present in this herb. It has a high nutritional value of vitamins and minerals thus acts as an adjuvant to full fill the basic needs of macro and micronutrient in our body.
For therapeutic purposes leaves, seeds and fruits are used.
BENEFITS OF USING KARELA (BITTER MELON)
- Lowers the glucose level hence beneficial in diabetes
- Effective in splenomegaly, hepatomegaly and ascites
- In skin diseases, because it helps to purify the blood
- Useful in gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
How Karela Is Beneficial In Diabetes?
- Increases Insulin Production and Secretion - Diabetes happens when Beta cells of the pancreas are unable to produce insulin. Let us go at agni level, jatharagni and dhatvagni both these agnis are responsible for the proper metabolism and production of hormones in our body. As discussed earlier karela is an ‘Agni vardhak’ herb thus, it stimulates the production of insulin hormone. Hence beneficial in prameha.
- Bitter Taste -B Due to the bitter taste, bitter gourd directly combats the sweetness inside the blood hence lowers the blood sugar level in our body.
- Dosha - As stated earlier it helps to pacify kapha dosha in our body which is a main cause of prameha. Hence, beneficial.
- It has mild diuretic property thus, expels out the extra glucose from the blood through urine.
Karela - A good option In case of Juvenile Diabetes
Karela is the best option to adopt rather than other medicines in case of children. Because juvenile age is very tender phase of life where sometimes individual may not meet the proper development of dhatus (tissues) i.e अपरिपक्वा धातु . In that case, if loading the body with a heavy dosage of medicine that may hinders the growth and development of child. Just to avoid that better to go ahead with Ayurvedic medicines.
Overall it is a wonder herb that can be incorporated in your diet in the form of a vegetable or in a juice form.
Precautions To Be Taken
- Contraindicated in pregnancy because in excess quantity it may lead to abortion.
- Avoid excessive use of karela because in excess may leads to vomiting.
As we know, everything in the limit is helpful for our body but in excess leads to problems.
For combating diabetes Planet ayurveda is offering a best herbal combo pack by the name of ‘Diabetes Care Pack’ that includes Karela Capsules, Diabeta Plus capsules, Madhumehantak Churna and Fenugreek Capsules. All these medicines are prepared under the supervision of eminent doctors with complete safety. The medicines are prepared using standardized extracts of herbs, they are free from chemicals, binders and fillers and are safe to use along with modern medicines.
Karela Capsules (Bitter Melon Extract)
These capsules are the pure extract of Bitter melon (karela) herb. This formulation is potent enough to maintain and neutralize the hyperglycemic condition by stimulating the pancreas. It is also helpful in the management of diabetic neuropathy. These capsules are also advised in skin diseases as it is also a blood purifier.
Dosage : 1-2 capsules twice daily with plain water, preferably after meals.
Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan
MD (ALT. MEDICINE) View Profile