Obesity and diet-related blood sugar imbalances are reaching crisis levels. According to data from the Center for Disease Control, over 70% of American adults are overweight and more than 30 million have developed Type 2 Diabetes. Dr. Bomi Joseph, Director of the Peak Health Center in California, contends that the major reason for this health epidemic is the widespread availability of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) which are not found in nature. Foods like flour and sugar are made with industrial machines that did not exist for the vast majority of human history. They send our blood sugar levels skyrocketing up higher than normal and then crashing down, leaving us urgently hungry for more. In this sense, UPFs are more like “drugs” than completely natural foods like chicken or lettuce. People get addicted to the “highs” offered by sugar and grains and after decades of heavy consumption, they can easily develop blood sugar imbalances like diabetes.
Insulin is a hormone that allows blood sugar (glucose) to enter cells, resulting in naturally lower blood sugar levels. In Type 2 Diabetes, there is reduced insulin secretion in the pancreas and the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin.
To combat this problem, doctors prescribe synthetic drugs like metformin and tell patients to change their diet and lifestyle. But when people try to change to a lower carb, healthier diet, their blood glucose levels “crash” down from the lofty plateaus which they are accustomed to. These patients feel so miserable and edgy that they are unable to stay on the program, despite sincerely intending to, and they go back to their old dietary habits for relief. “They are caught in a deadly cycle that is hard to break out of with just willpower alone,” says Dr. Bomi Joseph.
Introducing the “Insulin Plant”
An exciting botanical breakthrough has taken place over the past decade in Southern India. An ornamental plant called spotted spiral ginger (costus pictus) was imported from South America around 2002. But using plants for medicine is an ancient & instinctive part of Indian culture and the local herbalists experimented with it. Anecdotal reports begun to emerge that chewing on the fresh leaves of spotted spiral ginger helped normalize blood sugar. It quickly gained the nickname “Insulin plant.” Soon afterwards, scientists began to confirm there is more to the nickname than just folklore.
According to a 2010 study published in the journal Cellular Physiology & Biochemistry, spotted spiral ginger extract can help stimulate insulin secretion in the pancreas. A 2015 study in the Journal of Functional Foods confirms that spiral ginger improves insulin sensitivity in animals and suggests that it may because of the plant’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In a 2018 study, scientists who combined spiral ginger extract with the natural antioxidant quercetin found that it “efficiently managed Type 2 diabetes” in mice.
How Spotted Spiral Ginger Works
A 2013 article in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications describes how spotted spiral ginger contains an insulin-like protein (ILP) that has a different chemical structure than insulin but works nearly the same inside the body. Lab experiments on cell lines suggest that it may also increase insulin secretion in human pancreas cells.
In India, spotted spiral ginger has become a widely known folk remedy and it is also recommended by both Ayurvedic practitioners and allopathic medical doctors.
“Based on the pilot studies that are taking place in India, it appears that a 45-day course of spotted spiral ginger extract, taken twice daily, helps a lot people keep their blood sugar balanced and feel better while adjusting to a new & healthier diet,” said Dr. Bomi Joseph. Dr. Joseph has heard of certain cases where patients achieved results, in the form of lower post-meal and fasting glucose levels, in just a few days. “I believe that nature is often wiser than humans. Natural plant compounds are usually my first choice before trying synthetics.”