A recent review of evidence by The International Diabetes Federation found that, “… plant-based diets accompanied by educational interventions can significantly improve psychological health, quality of life, … and weight, and therefore the management of diabetes [and] could potentially improve diabetic neuropathic pain and the levels of total cholesterol, [low density lipoprotein] cholesterol and triglycerides in [type 2 diabetes].”
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According to a recent study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Colorado, it only takes a few weeks of healthy eating to generate lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Dr Campbell, one of the researchers said, “"These findings should encourage people to try again if they fail at their first attempt to adopt a healthy eating pattern," …It seems that your body isn't going to become resistant to the health-promoting effects of this diet pattern just because you tried it and weren't successful the first time. The best option is to keep the healthy pattern going, but if you slip up, try again."
Launched in 2015, NHS England’s Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) records that, “around 22,000 people with diabetes die early every year. Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke.”
Diabetes UK announced a new pilot by NHS England starting in 2019 which, “…will test a Type 2 remission programme … involving low-calorie diets.”
The Guardian reports, “The 800-calories-a-day regimen, made up of soups and shakes, has been shown to help people lose excess weight that has caused fat to build up around their internal organs including the pancreas, leading to type 2 diabetes.”
We hope that those taking on such a regimen consider the role of phlegm (mucus, balgham) we wrote about last week.
And also the role of foods from prophetic medicine in the management of diabetes mellitus as listed by Bassem Y. Sheikh of the College of Medicine, Taibah University, Madinah in his review of the literature:
And we are reminded, again, of the hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who said, “No human being has ever filled a container worse than his own stomach. The son of Adam needs no more than some morsels of food to keep up his strength. Doing so, he should consider that a third of [his stomach] is for food, a third for drink and a third for breathing.”
Sometimes it can be useful to take a 30-day holiday from eating wheat.
By “wheat” we take the meaning to be: all types of bread made from wheat. Also, pasta, pizza, cake, biscuits, and cereals. This includes naan, pitta, roti and paratha.
Here is a short non-exhaustive list of alternatives:
Oat Cakes (make sure it doesn’t contain wheat)
Oat Pitta Bread
Barley Pitta Bread
Rye Bread (make sure it’s 100% Rye)
Rye Crispbread (for example, Ryvita)
Of interest is a recent study from Copenhagen University concluded that, “When healthy people eat a low-gluten and fiber-rich diet compared with a high-gluten diet they experience less intestinal discomfort including less bloating, a new study shows. The researchers attribute the impact of diet on healthy adults more to change in composition of dietary fibers than gluten itself.”
Paul Robin and Paul Brecher in, “Practical TCM”, say, “To keep the lungs strong we eat rice, chicken eggs, duck and chestnuts. Then in autumn when it is dry our lungs can stay balanced.”
Paul Robin and Paul Brecher in, “Practical TCM”, say, “To keep the spleen strong we eat millet, beef and apricots. Then in late summer when it is humid our spleen can stay balanced.”
Paul Robin and Paul Brecher in, “Practical TCM”, say, “To keep the heart strong we eat millet, sheep and plums. Then in summer when it is hot our heart can stay balanced.”
Latin: verbascum thapsus
Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM): Jia Yan Ye
“A demulcent expectorant” (Menzies-Trull in "The Herbalist's Prescriber").
“A very beneficial respiratory remedy useful in most conditions that affect this vital system.” (David Hoffman in “The New Holistic Herbal”).
Unani Tibb: For, amongst other things, coughs, colds, chest and haemorrhoids (Robert Thomson, in “The Grosset Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine” (1980).
A “stimulating urinary tonic” (Menzies-Trull in "The Herbalist's Prescriber").
“Buchu may be used in any infection of the genito-urinary system, such as cystisis, urethritis and prostatisis. It’s healing and soothing properties indicate its use together with other relevant remedies in any condition of this system.” (David Hoffman in “The New Holistic Herbal”).
We have mentioned rice before.
Ibn Sina in “The Canon of Medicine” says, “The temperament of rice is hot and dry; the dryness being more pronounced than hotness. Some physicians, however, hold it to be hotter than wheat …Rice gives good nourishment but also causes dryness. When cooked with milk and almond oil, it gives more and better nutrition. Its properties of causing constipation and desiccation are lost when it is soaked in bran water and left over night. This process endows rice with a property to cool and cleanse … Rice produces some constipation when cooked with water. If cooked with milk, it increases the production of semen. It does not cause constipation except when boiled with its husk and an attempt is made to remove the moisture of the milk. The dryness may be removed by soaking the rice in bran-water.”
Ibn Sina is quoted as saying in “Avicenna’s Medicine” that “The best way to eat full meals is to eat only one a day and two the day after (morning and evening). The schedule should be strongly followed since a person who gets used to two meals will become weak and lose strength. A person with weak digestion should eat two meals and reduce the amount of food each time.”
Paul Robin and Paul Brecher in, “Practical TCM”, say, “To keep the liver strong we eat wheat, chicken and peaches. Then in spring when it is windy our liver can stay balanced.”
The Prophet (pbuh) said eat this [raisins], it is a healthy meal, removes tiredness, cools the anger, gives strength, makes food sweet smelling, reduces phlegm and brightens the face. (Dr Mohammed Shakeel Shamsi in, “Tibb-e-Nabawi, Medical Guidance & Teachings of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)”)
Paul Robin and Paul Brecher in, “Practical TCM”, say, “To keep the kidneys strong we eat beans … and dates. Then in winter when it is cold our kidneys can stay balanced … instead of saying a food is healthy, we say it is either appropriate or inappropriate. For example, in winter we would choose to eat more foods with warm and hot properties …”
Ibn Sina is quoted as saying in “Avicenna’s Medicine” that “One who is seeking health preservation should endeavour not to have the essence of their food as medicinal foods such as green, leafy vegetables and fruits, and alike.
"The attenuant food [that which thins or dilutes the fluids] chars blood (i.e. oxidizes), and heavy food causes phlegm and weightiness of the body.
"Food should be composed of meat, especially that of the young goat, young beef, and young lamb; wheat that has been cleaned and is free from contamination … sweets that are suitable to [the individual’s] temperament [mijaaz]; and good drinks made of fragrant herbs.
Other than that is used for treatment and preservation.”
Peganum harmala, commonly called esfand, wild rue, Syrian rue, African rue, spilani, harmel, or aspand.
Not related to rue (ruta graveolens).
Cited by Robert Thomson, in “Natural Medicine” (Wildwood House, London, 1981) as one of the top herbs for a natural medicine herbalist to stock.
Image: By Lazaregagnidze (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Wormwood, also known as sweet wormwood, sweet annie, sweet sagewort, annual mugwort or annual wormwood. In TCM it is Qing Hao. The latin name is artemisia annua.
A December 2016 study found that, “A centuries-old herbal medicine, discovered by Chinese scientists and used to effectively treat malaria, has been found to potentially aid in the treatment of tuberculosis and may slow the evolution of drug resistance.”
In fact, wormwood is well known not just within the TCM system but also in western natural medicine and Unani Tibb.
Menzies-Trull, in "The Herbalist's Prescriber" says it is an anti-infective with cautions for diarrhoea, headache and tinnitus.
Robert Thomson, in “The Grosset Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine” (1980), says, of wormwood (artemisia absinthium), “The tops and leaves are used as a tonic, a stomachic, a stimulant febriluge, an anthelmintic, and a narcotic … it is a first-rate treatment of enfeebled digestion and debility … It is also treated for [amongst other things] loss of appetite … diabetes … obstinate diarrhoea.”
Robert Thomson, in “Natural Medicine” (Wildwood House, London, 1981) refers to it on several occasions including as part of a formula for roughness of the lungs from smoke or dust, or loud shouting.
In TCM marshmallow root is Yao Shu Kui and is classified as sweet, neutral, and pungent.
Robert Thomson, in “The Grosset Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine” says, “… prescribed for a variety of ailments, including dropsy, coughs, sore throats, and catarrhal conditions of the urinary tract. The dosage of the powdered root is ½ to 1 teaspoon, as a tea.”
In Tibb (Islamic Medicine), it is classified as hot and moist: food qualities.
It is Gan Cao in TCM.
In Arabic it is called al-Sus and also Urq al-Suws
Robert Thomson, in “Natural Medicine” (Wildwood House, London, 1981) says, “All the Hakims I consulted were in agreement that chickory is the best remedy for bad temperament of the liver.”
Chickory root, is al-hindubaa al-baria in Arabic, and Ju Ju Gen in TCM.
In Tibb it is classified as a tonic, diuretic, hepatic and laxative. It removes phlegm. It is good for the liver.
In TCM it is classified as bitter and diuretic and considered as good for the liver.