The CEO, ancient organic herbal enterprise, Mr Oluwafunso Fadele, told me how he uses both dry and fresh leaves of Chamaecostus cuspidatus (also called Costus igneus) known as ‘teteregun’ in Yoruba and also called insulin plant with other herbs to make herbal formulations for lowering blood sugar. When I asked how potent the plant was, he said “it is fire.”

Sometimes in 2016, I stumbled on a scientific research that showed Afromomum melegueta (alligator pepper) lowered blood sugar faster in diabetic rats than metformin (a diabetes medication). There is also a study on Parkia biglobosa (iru) that shows that both its aqueous and methanolic extracts reduced glucose level significantly in diabetic rats to a level that was not significantly different from that of glibenclamide (a diabetes medication). I am going to cite these studies in this article.

I will discuss type 2 diabetes today. It is a disease that keeps your body from using insulin the way it should. People with it are said to have insulin resistance. People who are middle-aged or older are most likely to get this kind of diabetes but it also affects kids and teens mainly because of childhood obesity.

Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, unintended weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, frequent infections, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck.

Causes: Type 2 diabetes is primarily the result of two interrelated problems: Cells in muscle, fat and the liver become resistant to insulin. Because these cells do not interact in a normal way with insulin, they do not take in enough sugar.

The pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to manage blood sugar levels. Exactly why this happens is unknown but being overweight and inactive are key contributing factors.

Risk factors are: Being overweight(Being overweight or obese is a main risk), fat distribution (storing fat mainly in the abdomen) being inactive (Physical activity helps control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin), family history (The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes), race and ethnicity (Although it is unclear why it happens, people of certain races and ethnicities including Black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian people and Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than white people are), blood lipid levels(An increased risk is associated with low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the “good” cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides), age (the risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45), pregnancy related (your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases if you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant or if you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 4 kilograms), polycystic ovarian syndrome (Having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterised by irregular menstrual periods and obesity increases the risk of diabetes).

Managing type 2 diabetes includes a mix of lifestyle changes and medication. Let us see some lifestyle changes you need:

Weight loss: Weight loss results in better control of blood sugar levels, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. If you are overweight, you will only begin to see improvements in these factors after losing as little as five per cent of your body weight. However, the more weight you lose, the greater the benefit to your health and disease management. Try to get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity every day. You can walk or do anything else that gets your heart rate up.

Healthy eating: I have a maternal uncle who is diabetic and almost got into problems because of the consumption of pineapples. As a diabetic, you should know how different foods affect your blood level. Try to work around the list of foods given to you by your doctor too. However, I will just say that you should focus on eating fewer calories, cutting back on refined carbohydrates, adding vegetables and fruits (not all fruits is ideal for a diabetic) to your diet and getting more fiber.

Stop smoking

Manage stress

Get medical check ups


This list includes their names and parts to be used: Acacia nilotica (Booni/ leaves, bark, leaves), Adansonia digitata (African baobab/seeds), Allium cepa (Onion/whole plant), Allium sativum (Garlic/whole plant), Anacardium occidental (Cashew/leaves), Azadirachta indica

(Dongoyaro/stem, bark, leaves),

Brassica oleracea (cabbage), Carica papaya (leaves), Syzygium aromaticum (clove/seeds), Gossypium herbaceum ( cotton plant/leaves), Lawsonia inermis ( ewe laali/stem bark), Mangifera indica (Mango/eaves, stem bark), Moringa oleifera (leaves-squeezing), Psidium guajava (guava/leaves), Vernonia amygdalina (bitterleaf/ soup), Persea Americana ( avocado pear/leaves), Sida acuta (Osekotu/leaves), Afromomum melegueta(ataare/leaves, seed), Ocimum gratissimum (scent leaf/leaves), Picralima nitida (Abere/ seed), Gongronema latifolium (Utazi/leaves), Ageratum conyzoides (imi esu/ leaves and flour), Cocos nucifera (Coconut water), Morinda lucida (Oruwo/leaf, root), Parquetina nigrescens (Ogbo/ leaf), Senna alata (Asuwon oyinbo/leaf), Xylopia aethiopica (Eru/fruit), Cinnamon (it is a spice, make sure it is Ceylon cinnamon because it is healthier than others).


The hypoglycaemic effect of aqueous seed extract of alligator pepper was investigated in alloxan-induced diabetic rats in a study titled, “Evaluation of Hypoglycaemic Efficacy of Aqueous Seed Extract of Aframomum melegueta in Alloxan-induced Diabetic Rats,’’ by Adesokan et al, the results showed that oral administration of aqueous extract of A. melegueta to diabetic rats lowered blood glucose to normal level within six days of administration, while metformin (A diabetic drug) took 14 days. In another study titled, “Effects of an ethanolic extract of Garcinia kola on glucose and lipid levels in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats,’’ by Duze et al, this result confirms the hypoglycaemic and especially the hypolipidemic effects of G. kola in a diabetic rat model.

In a study titled, “Gongronema latifolium leaf (Utazi) extract modulates hyperglycaemia, inhibits redox imbalance and inflammation in alloxan-induced diabetic nephropathy,’’ by Ojo et al, result shows that G. latifolium leaf significantly reduced the alloxan-induced increase in blood glucose.

In another study titled, “Possible antidiabetic and antihyperlipidaemic effect of fermented Parkia biglobosa (African locust beans) extract in alloxan-induced diabetic rats,’’ by Odetola et al, the results of the present study demonstrates that both aqueous and methanolic extracts of fermented seeds of PB exert a hypoglycaemic effect, hence, PB has an antidiabetic property.

If you are already on blood sugar lowering medications and you want to try any of the herbs I listed above, make sure you check your blood sugar so that it does not go too low. I talked about infusion and decoction of herbs last week. You can prepare these herbs using any of the methods. Let me drop a simple recipe before I go. Pour two handful of locust beans (iru) in a pot, put some fresh bitter leaves on it, fill it up with clean water and then boil. Drink a cup twice daily. The locust beans from my state is the best.

-Olufunke Faluyi

@ Punch Newspaper

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