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Neem, scientifically known as Azadirachta indica is among the oldest and traditional herb used for alleviating various diseases in human beings. Its great usefulness is mentioned in many traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda and Unani. Not only the leaves but also other parts of a neem plant like bark, fruit, stem and roots are widely used to treat varieties of diseases. Do you know that neem is considered one of the best herbs to manage blood glucose?
Bioactive Compounds Of Neem
The main components of neem include azadirachtin along with other compounds like alkaloids, phenolic compounds, triterpenoids, flavonoids, ketones and steroids. The leaves of the neem plant contain ascorbic acid, amino acid, nimbin, nimbandiol, hexacosanol, nimbanene, polyphenolic flavonoids and Quercetin, while the seeds of this herb contain constituents like azadirachtin and gedunin.
Neem And Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects around one in every 11 people in the world. The management of this common disorder of the pancreas is important as it may affect the day to day life of the people if not controlled. According to a study, the methanolic and aqueous extracts of neem were found to have anti-diabetic properties. The methanolic extract of neem, when tested, showed a good oral glucose tolerance by reducing the blood glucose in the body. Also, the herb is very effective in reducing a patient's dependence on insulin injections.
Another study published in the journal of Ethno-Medicine shows that neem leaf powder controls the symptoms of diabetes in male diabetic patients who are not dependent on insulin.
The effectiveness of neem for diabetes is promising, yet, its usage varies between countries. In regions where herbal medicines are widely used, neem for diabetes is on high demand, however, in areas where modern medical treatments are booming, neem extracts are not recommended safe by the medical experts. It should also be noted that people who are opting for neem to control their blood glucose level should do the same only after proper consultation with a health expert as the interaction of neem with some products may cause adverse effect to the patient.
How Neem Is Effective For Diabetes
1. Delays onset of diabetes
A study shows that consuming neem leaf extract and seed oil for four weeks reduced the blood sugar level in a diabetic rabbit. The extract was found to have an anti-diabetic effect similar to a drug named glibenclamide, which is often prescribed to a diabetic patient to treat the condition. Also, the aqueous extract of the neem root and bark were found to have reduced glucose and cholesterol levels in a diabetic rat. This proves that the neem extract is very effective in delaying or preventing the onset of diabetes.
2. Improves insulin sensitivity
People with diabetes (Type 2) have insulin resistance or a condition in which their body fails to respond to insulin causing an increase in the level of glucose in the body. The leaf aqueous extract of the herb helps in normalizing the glucose level in the body and thus, improving insulin sensitivity.
3. Lowers blood glucose
In a study, neem has proven to enhance the secretion of insulin in diabetic mice and lowering the NADPH level that causes diabetes due to oxidative stress. 
Neem Decoction For Diabetes
To regulate blood glucose level in the body, neem decoction seems to be very effective. Here's how a diabetic should include this bitter herb in their diet.
- In half-litre water, add around 20 neem leaves and let it boil for around 5 minutes.
- When the leaves become soft and the water becomes a bit greenish, turn off the heat.
- Strain the neem water in a bottle and drink it twice a day.
Neem is an amazing herb to keep diabetes in check. However, a large amount of anything is bad after a certain period. Neem, when taken with certain blood thinner drugs, can cause an extreme drop in blood sugar levels. Therefore, before starting on it, consult a medical expert to know about its usage and side effects when taken with certain medications.
-  Okpe AC, Shu EN, Nwadike KI, Udeinya IJ, Nubila NI, et al. (2019) Effects of Fractionated Neem Leaf Extract (IRC) on Blood Glucose Level in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Wistar Rats. Int J Diabetes Clin Res 6:105. doi.org/10.23937/2377-3634/1410105
-  Alzohairy M. A. (2016). Therapeutics Role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Their Active Constituents in Diseases Prevention and Treatment. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2016, 7382506. doi:10.1155/2016/7382506