by Nelson, Dr. Christopher's Herb Shop
Diabetes means 'honey fountain'. When someone has diabetes, they eliminate a lot of sugar in there urinary tract. Old Chinese herbalists used to diagnose diabetes by having their patient urinate on an anthill. If the ants were attracted to the urine, then they used that to indicate a high blood sugar content. Believe it or not, they would also taste the urine to see if it was sweet, but fortunately more pleasant ways of diagnosing have become available.
The pancreas can be regenerated, and this can be accomplished with herbal therapy. I would like to focus on two particular herbs today. There has been a lot of press on cinnamon, sage and some other herbs for regulating blood sugar. These are wonderful and have helped many people, but we want to actually rebuild the pancreas if we can. Gurmar (Gymnema sylvestre, often called gymnema) has been shown to do this. In several clinical studies with this herb, the islets of Langerhans (the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin) were able to be rebuilt.(1) Some other clinical studies indicated that the beta cells could even be regenerated with extracts of gymnema!
"In the diabetic rats, fasting blood glucose levels returned to normal after 60 days of GS3 and after 20 days of GS4 oral administration. Blood collected during the conduct of oral glucose tolerance tests was used to assay for serum insulin. GS3 and GS4 therapy led to a rise in serum insulin to levels closer to normal fasting levels. In diabetic rat pancreas, both GS3 and GS4 were able to double the islet number and beta cell number
. This herbal therapy appears to bring about blood glucose homeostasis through increased serum insulin levels provided by repair/regeneration of the endocrine pancreas."(2) (Emphasis added)
This is miraculous! For years medical research seemed to indicate that beta cells in the pancreas could not heal. This destroyed all hope for type 1 diabetics to ever achieve any level of permanent recovery. I have been impressed with the number of type 1 diabetics that are able to live functional lifestyles with natural protocols such as the raw food diet and herbal therapy. Some of them still need to be incredibly careful how they live, or they will definitely need the insulin, but at least they have a choice to be drug free.
Dr. Christopher most often worked with cedar berries. Most of the time I do too. Cedar is an unusual herb in our times. Most medicinal herbs have recorded use dating hundreds or thousands of years. A lot of them are written in old herbals. Cedar is new. You'll hardly find it in any herbals, and as far as I know, none of them mention its effect on the pancreas. It was used by Native Americans as a natural food preservative and for digestive complaints. You probably wouldn't enjoy it as much, because it makes the food taste like a tree.
Cedar berries work, but nobody seems to understand why they work. There are no scientific studies I could cite telling anyone that it will rebuild the pancreas, but it has a very potent effect nonetheless. The reason I prefer cedar (despite the lack of depth in any scientific studies) is that you may employ it in both cases of hypoglycemia or diabetes. Gymnema is not a good herb to give to hypoglycemics. Gymnema is also called 'sugar destroyer', and hypoglycemics can't have their blood sugar drop any more.
Dr. Christopher was able to see people heal from both diabetes and hypoglycemia using cedar berries. In one interesting case of his, a brother with hypoglycemia and his sister with diabetes both started using cedar with some other cleansing herbs, and both healed in a years time.(3)
Usually within two weeks we see measurable results when the blood sugar is tested. Sometimes even after the first day! Insulin can be reduced and gradually weaned off as the pancreas produces its own insulin. Occasionally someone does not respond to the formula after two weeks. Here are some troubleshooting tips when herbs aren't helping you manage the diabetes.
1. Diet. We always stress diet is a completely necessary component to healing with herbs, but it is never more true than with diabetes. White sugar and white flour spike blood sugar. Meat and dairy are dense sources of 'second hand' protein, which is taxing to the pancreas. These need to be eaten sparingly, or not at all until symptoms are managed. Eating mostly raw foods is advisable, particularly dark, leafy greens. Sugar snap peas can also have a massive impact on stabilizing blood sugar. Some natural healers were able to see reversal in type II diabetes by having their patients drink one cup of string bean juice 5 times a day while they ate 5 small meals a day.(4)
2. Not chewing your food. This can utterly foil any progress you can make sometimes. The mouth pulverizes the food and the saliva has enzymes that break down carbohydrates and proteins. Critical parts of digestion can only take place in the mouth. Dr. Christopher taught to 'chew your liquids and drink your food' for this reason.
3. Side effects of prescription drugs. Certain drugs can cause blood sugar problems. If you are taking any of these, don't be surprised if it takes you longer than other people to see any results.
4. Weak pancreatic function due to a weakness stemming from another part of the endocrine system. The liver, adrenal glands, thyroid and other glands play a role in managing blood sugar. If one of these is breaking down, the pancreas might secrete insulin just to help you manage side effects of another problem until it wears out. Dr. Christopher had his diabetic patients take the Lower Bowel formula and the Kidney formula for at least a week when starting his program. The Lower Bowel formula not only cleansed the bowel, but the liver as well. The liver stores glycogen, which the body can rapidly convert to glucose. The adrenals are closely linked with the health of the kidneys. You can see some impressive results just by working on the liver alone sometimes.
The renowned Dr. Schulz once gave a lecture on diabetes.(5) He must have had this last part in mind, because he was putting his patients on the Lower Bowel , Kidney, Liver & Gallbladder and Bloodstream formulas at the time. He combined this with a double dose (a full 12 capsules) of the Pancreas formula, and 12+ capsules of spirulina. I used to consider these pretty heroic doses at first, but I like the level of healing I've seen with them. Fortunately, Dr. Christopher's formulas are produced in bulk, and taking a tablespoon of the Pancreas formula can give you this same suggested dosage without destroying your bank account.
Even with essential herbs like these, we suggest using them only 6 days a week. This will prevent you from developing possible side effects and will give the bodies receptors a break, making you heal faster in the long run.
1 "Characterisation of the insulinotropic activity of an aqueous extract of Gymnema sylvestre in mouse beta-cells and human islets of Langerhans." Cell Physiol Biochem. 2009;23(1-3):125-32. Epub 2009 Feb 18.
2 "Possible regeneration of the islets of Langerhans in streptozotocin-diabetic rats given Gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts." J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct;30(3):265-79.
3 "Newsletter 6-4" (Pancreas Formula
4 "Encyclopedia of Healing Juices" by John Heinerman. This book has information on the healing effects of common foods I haven't seen anywhere else.
5 "Herbal Therapies with Richard Schultz" A DVD available to students of the School of Natural