This guide on Insulin Plant and diabetes will help you explore the plant and its different uses. This guide is relevant for people with diabetes and others too. You will find answers to many questions about Insulin Plant here, such as how to use insulin plant leaves for best health outcomes.
Let’s start the journey of exploring…
The body has different ways of regulating its activities. One major thing that allows the body to maintain balance is hormones.
Insulin is a hormone found in the body that helps to ensure the regulation of the amount of sugar or glucose in the body. This hormone is important because too much sugar or less sugar in the body can be very harmful.
Due to the function of ‘insulin’, they have been very wide speculations and guesses as to whether the insulin plant and its leaves are good for the body, especially for people with diabetes.
This article aims to outline the benefits of insulin plants, different insulin plant materials used in health and wellness, their side effects and risk factors, and so on…
What is Insulin Plant?
The insulin plant belongs to Cactaceae family and is commonly known as the spiral flag and fiery costus.
The plant has a native from central America.
The leaf is widely known for its function in diabetes. This function is because it contains corosolic acid, which helps to generate insulin used in the treatment of diabetes.
This insulin plant is generally used in the treatment of diabetes due to its anti-diabetic properties.
Looking at the physical structure of the insulin plant might help for its identification. It has spirally arranged leaves, which are very attractive.
In addition to its anti-diabetic properties, it has also been found to have some pharmacological functions like a diuretic, hypolipidemic, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and also anti-cancerous features.
What is Insulin Plant Leaf?
People who are yet to see the insulin plant always ask whether it has a leaf, and also if the leaf contributes to its therapeutic function.
The answer is Yes.
The insulin plant has also been given the names spiral flag and step ladder, because of its arrangement. The leaves stem from the main stalk, while scaling upward.
The plant stands between 2-3 feet from the ground and has wide green leaves that form stem and spiral up the reddish-brown stalk.
The leaves have colors ranging from dark to lime color. These leaves are between 4-8 inches long.
Amongst the leaves, others have orange-red flowers, which are sweet and are said to be nutritious.
From the various studies conducted, insulin plant leaves have been found to be rich in protein, iron, and several antioxidant components like B-carotene and a-tocopherol.
When these properties are combined with the natural insulin content of the plant, it increases the ability to lower blood sugar levels, in individuals with diabetes.
Now, let’s turn on to the health benefits of the Insulin Plant…
Possible Health Benefits of Insulin Leaf
- It is helpful for diabetics
People with diabetes suffer from high sugar levels in the body, and this alters some metabolic functions. Being able to control the sugar levels of diabetics is the first step in solving their problem.
Insulin plants are very helpful in treating diabetes because they are believed to reduce blood sugar levels effectively.
This sugar-reducing property is due to its fructose content which helps to regulate the increased blood sugar level. Consequently, taking insulin plant leaves can greatly help in reducing this sugar level.
- Insulin leaf aids digestion
Amongst the numerous components of insulin leaves are vitamins and fructose.
Vitamins are very good for E-coli bacteria that grow in the guts. This E-coli bacteria helps in the smooth functioning of the human digestive system.
On the other hand, fructose helps improve the colon’s functions, as it helps to facilitate the excretion process.
- Insulin leaves have antioxidant properties
Oxidation is a natural chemical reaction that occurs in the body which releases free radicals. These free radicals are very harmful to the body; therefore, the body is always looking for ways to eliminate them.
Once the free radicals get broken down into the body system, it may cause some health issues like cancer.
The antioxidant property of the insulin plant is very helpful because it reduces the oxidative stress of the kidney, liver, and pancreas, which is most times caused by diabetes.
It has been noted that the antioxidant property found in the insulin plant is over 90%. The insulin leaves help the body to combat the oxidation process in body cells.
- Insulin leaves have an anti-bacterial function
We could develop issues in our excretion of body waste. Bacteria can cause this. However, the antibacterial properties of insulin can help fight against several gram-positive bacteria.
These insulin leaves help to kill some of the bacteria in the urinary tract, thereby improving the excretion process and providing relief.
- Insulin leaf promotes kidney health
People with any form of kidney problem usually suffer from different complications from it.
In the case of kidney problems, there is a need for potassium and sodium clearance so as to regulate diuresis.
Insulin plant leaves perform a diuretic function by enhancing this potassium and sodium clearance. This is very beneficial because once there is a balanced excretory rate, it will improve your kidney health too.
- Insulin plant leaf improves liver function
Too much deposition of fat can cause liver diseases which might invariably lead to other chronic conditions.
Insulin plant leaf helps to break down excessive fatty content in the liver, thereby improving liver function.
- Insulin plant leaf helps to maintain bladder health
Bladder problems can be caused by different problems like lack of water, or virus infection in the urinary tract.
Insulin plant can help to increase maintenance of liver function because it contains diuretic effects. The leafy extracts in the insulin plant can help to regulate the urination process.
In this case, taking the insulin plant before going to bed can help maintain proper work of the bladder at night and then excretion of the urine in the morning.
- Insulin plant leaves can help in boosting immunity
Because of its antioxidant properties, it can rapidly eliminate free radicals. Elimination of these free radicals can help you live a healthy lifestyle. Taking insulin plants can help you increase your immune system’s function and protect your body from infections.
- Insulin plant leaf can help you reduce the symptoms of bronchitis
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airway. It mainly occurs due to the narrowing of the airways.
There are essential compounds present in insulin plants that have anti-inflammatory properties which work well in inflammation. These anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce swelling in the airways.
Now let’s turn on to Insulin Plant Flowers. What are their health benefits?
Possible Health Benefits of Insulin Plant Flower
- The insulin flower has very sweet petals. The flowers also have some nutritional value.
- Asides from the health benefit of the insulin plant flower, the flower usually has the appearance of a garden attractive cover. The plant is a low grower that has fine red color spikes, which looks very attractive.
- These insulin flowers are also sometimes cultivated for ornamental and decorative purposes.
How Does Insulin Plant Work?
The insulin plant contains numerous vitamins and complex components. Those components are very beneficial to E-coli, which is a bacteria that leaves inside the intestine.
Insulin also functions to break down fatty acid deposits in the liver. They activate beta cells in the pancreas, thereby producing natural insulin and helping in maintaining blood sugar levels.
The insulin plant derived its name is due to its ability to lower blood sugar levels effectively. It mirrored the function of the endogenously produced insulin in the body.
It has phytochemical contents. It contains triterpenoids, flavonoids, proteins, and fatty acids. It generally controls blood sugar levels without inducing hypoglycemia in patients.
What Does Research Say About Insulin Plant?
There was research published in the International Journal of Ayurveda Research on the effect of the Insulin plant (costus igneus) leaves on dexamethasone-induced hyperglycemia.
The study was conducted using male Wister rats. Four groups of male Wister rats 9 (n=6) were treated with 10mg/kg/day of dexamethasone subcutaneously for 20 days.
Different groups received 100, 250, or 500mg/kg/day of powdered leaves of costus igneus in distilled water orally from day 11 to day 20.
After overnight fasting, a retro-orbital puncture was performed to draw blood samples to determine the fasting blood glucose on the 20th day. The same procedure was performed on the eye after one hour.
The research revealed that fasting blood sugar and post-glucose load blood sugar levels were raised in the group that received dexamethasone compared to normal controls.
While research outcomes look promising, we should remember that the science on Insulin Plant is still in the early stages, and the current research is not based on human trials.
Now, let’s explore more about Insulin Plant and Diabetes, where things can go wrong…
Possible Side Effects of Insulin Plant on Diabetics
- It may lead to hypoglycemia
When you take insulin, it makes the body absorb more sugar from the bloodstream.
This will pose a challenge when it becomes excess because when more sugar is absorbed from the bloodstream, it will drop.
When a person’s blood sugar drops too low, it will lead to some complications like tiredness, aphasia, dizziness, pale skin, excessive sweating, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
If ‘insulin’ will be taken, it strictly has to be with the prescription of the doctor.
- Fat necrosis
People who take ‘insulin’ regularly are prone to having fat necrosis. In the condition of fat necrosis, a painful lump m might develop in the subcutaneous tissue just below the skin’s surface.
- Heart attack
- Kidney problems
- Pancreatic cancers
How To Use Insulin Plant Leaves and Flowers?
Here are healthy ways to use insulin plant leaves and flowers.
- Get your insulin leaves ready. Get two leaves, one teaspoon pepper, and yogurt.
- Cut the insulin leaves using a pair of knives or scissors.
- Add the cut leaves to your yogurt and mix well.
- Add pepper and water to the mixed yogurt.
- Refrigerate for a while and serve it chilled.
Insulin Plant Leaf Powder
Insulin plant leaf powder has a very good effect on diabetics. Type 1 and 2 diabetics who echo take insulin plant leaf powder have been found to experience a reduction in fasting and proprandiol blood sugar levels. No cases of negative side effects have been observed, so it is likely safe.
Suppose you are on a blood sugar medication. In that case, you can comfortably take insulin plant leaf powder, but is also advisable that you meet with your health care professional for a proper guide.
Different brands produce insulin plant leaf powder, so you should read the labels carefully before you take anyone.
While taking insulin plant powder, you can combine it with your favourite smoothies, yogurt or even water.
And, you should note that it works differently for different people. Some will get fast results, while for some, the results are slow.
Insulin Plant Tea
The insulin plant leaves can be taken in different forms. Some take it in the form of supplements, while others take it as tea.
Taking insulin plant tea helps you to regulate your blood sugar level, because of the insulin plant leaves it is made of. Therefore, insulin plant tea should help you to lower your sugar levels too.
The insulin plant tea contains different important ingredients that will help break down fatty acid deposits in the liver, promoting liver function.
It is best to take insulin plant leaves in tea form because boiling and brewing remove impurities that might be on the leaves.
When Should Diabetics Not Use Insulin Plants?
As a person with diabetes, it is important to inform your doctor if you want to use the insulin plant. However, it is important that you avoid insulin plants in one of these conditions.
- If you have previously had an allergic reaction to insulin plants or similar supplements.
- If you have a medical history of allergy, maybe to other medications, or food.
- If you are already taking hypoglycemic agents or insulin as medications.
- If you have any additional underlying health conditions like liver or kidney impairment.
Potential Drug Interactions of Insulin Plant
If you are using diuretics, it is important to avoid using the insulin plant.
If you must use the insulin plant, then you should stop using the diuretics because it may cause excessive urination, dehydration, or electrolyte imbalance.
(Make sure you check with your doctor before making a decision!)
Also, try to avoid taking insulin mixture with Antihistamines, sedatives, and CNS depressants.
If you ever notice any adverse drug interaction while taking the insulin plant, it is important that you stop taking it immediately.
Having established that the spiral flag or insulin plant is packed with so many essential nutrients, it is vital if you have this planted in your home as it will permit easier access.
Steps To Planting Your Insulin Plant At Home
1. Look out for the ideal location
In other to get the best out of the insulin plant, it will be ideal if you plant it at a very good location.
Ensure that you plant it in a place that has an abundance of sun, but also with a little shade.
The insulin plant also does well in moisture and soil, so you can also plant it near water.
2. Dig the soil
The most suitable depth for planting a spiral flag is about 2-3 inches. This will allow the plant to grow easily.
3. Increase the quality of the soil in which the plant is grown
You might be wondering the best soil to use in planting your spiral flag or insulin plant. One of the wonders of this insulin plant is that it thrives and adapts to any kind of soil, ranging from loamy soil texture to acidic, clay, sand, or alkaline soil.
You just have to bear in mind that the herb grows well in soil that is very rich and well-drained.
In order to increase efficiency, you can add compost to the soil to enhance performance.
4. Ensure that the plant rhizome is 1 inch deep in the soil
Also, check that the oil cane is facing an upward position.
The rhizome should be properly covered with the soil. You can also press down on the soil with a shovel to achieve firmness.
5. You can routinely fertilize the plant during summer
Try to do this only once a month.
6. You can increase plant growth by spreading wood chips around it
Also, keep an eye to ensure that the chips are not touching the plant.
7. Whenever the leaf mold is removed, try and fertilize and also water the plant
8. Ensure that you apply insecticide to enable the removal of caterpillars and mites, which may damage the plant
The insulin plant has different names, which different people gave for different reasons. Till date, the wonders and efficiency of the plant in curing diabetes still amaze the most.
Different researchers have embarked to further ascertain the effect and safety of this plant. Most of the researchers pointed insulin plant out as having a good effect on diabetics; however, the quality of available research is poor.
Asides from diabetes, the insulin plant has also been found to have other good health benefits.
Most plants that are consumed have one or two side effects. The same applies to the insulin plant. Despite its wonderful health benefits, there are times when it should not be taken, especially for diabetics. It could have different drug interactions.
So, in order to be safe, it is always good to keep in touch with your health professional before using this or consuming this insulin plant, as it will keep you away from harm.