The ayurvedic lifestyle and diabetes management

May 3, 2023 | Ayurveda


The ancient life science ayurveda, helps people adopt a wholistic approach to achieving and maintaining physical and mental health. Ayurvedic teachings focus on wellness and preventive care that are easy to incorporate in to our modern lifestyles. It advises on small but sustainable changes for a healthy lifestyle that not only helps manage diabetes but sometimes even reverses it. Along with lifestyle changes, this is done through natural healing therapies and the use of ayurvedic herbs and oils. An ayurvedic diet also plays a key role as certain foods help regulate blood sugar levels by reducing blood sugar.

An ayurvedic perspective on diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is the condition when your body does not make enough insulin or as sufficiently as it should which results in too much blood sugar staying in the bloodstream. Managing blood sugar levels in important because if not controlled it leads to serious health problems.

Anyone with a family history of diabetes has a slightly higher risk of developing the disease. Age too can add to the risk, as people over the age of 45 are again at a higher risk while some pregnant women get gestational diabetes which is diabetes that happens during pregnancy. Of course leading a sedentary lifestyle with diet that is not very healthy can also lead to diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes with health complications including chronic kidney disease, heart disease, nerve damage and problems such as vision and hearing issues, oral health complications and mental health issues.

According to ayurveda diabetes is caused by an imbalance in our dosha or life energies – vata, pitta and kapha dosha. Either due to the aggravation of the vata dosha due to tissue depletion and/or excess kapha dosha and fatty tissue obstructing the channels in the pancreas causing the blood sugar levels to rise above the limit and spill over into the blood and urine. Diabetes is referred to as madhumeha in ayurveda which means ‘sweet urine’ disease.

Symptoms of diabetes include needing to urinate often during the night, intense thirst, hunger, blurry vision, tingling in the hands or feet, feeling tired, dry skin and losing weight without trying.

Benefits of using ayurveda in diabetes management

In ayurveda the belief is that nature provides us with natural remedies to nearly all diseases, diabetes included. Rather than take synthetic medication or pump themselves with insulin, diabetes patients can adopt ayurvedic medicine and methods based on ancient teachings. Herbal medicines for controlling blood sugar levels by stimulating the production of insulin and strengthening the pancreas while a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables also help control glucose levels.

With ayurveda people suffering with diabetes achieve a sustainable approach to controlling the disease rather than just taking medicine to treat the symptoms. The best is it can be practiced alongside taking western medicine if so desired.

Managing diabetes through Ayurveda

Ayurveda takes a multi-level approach to treating and managing diabetes or pre diabetes, from easy to adopt lifestyle changes and habits to using natural herbs to control blood sugar levels and strengthen the immune system for long term health benefits.

Diet and nutrition – This is a key element in ayurvedic treatment for diabetes. Using food prepared with healthy herbs an ayurvedic diet is based on a person’s constituent nature and will include elements such as fenugreek seeds, bitter gourd and barley to manage sugar levels. Natural ingredients such as honey, light and bitter vegetables and protein rich foods such as chickpeas, lentils, moong beans, soya bean products and dhal are all good options for a person with diabetes.

Exercise and physical activity – Being active is a great way to make your body more sensitive to insulin and thereby manage diabetes. Exercise helps control sugar levels and lower the risk of related health issues. Walking is an easy and highly effective way to get exercise with a brisk 30 minute walk daily having immense benefits. Practicing yoga is another good way to achieve daily exercise because not only does it tone muscles, increase flexibility and help with weight loss to mention a few benefits, but is also helps improve the sensitivity of β-cells to glucose. This improves insulin secretion and increase the blood supply to muscles.

Herbal remedies – Ayurveda always promotes the use of natural therapies with the use of herbs such as aloe vera, cinnamon, bitter melon, ginger and fenugreek. Using these and the ones mentioned below when preparing food helps to manage diabetes.

Ginseng – Used for centuries it has immune boosting properties and is anti-diabetic. It reduces the absorption of carbs and accelerates the production of insulin by the pancreas.

Sage – Is believed to reduce blood sugar levels especially when consumed on an empty stomach. It can be consumed in the form of a tea. Adding this to your diet helps increase the secretion of insulin.

Rosemary – It balances blood sugar levels and promotes weight loss and can help reduce bad cholesterol or LDL and increase good cholesterol HDL.

Treatments – Many diabetics have poor circulation and ayurvedic treatments are geared to help promote increased circulation through various types of massage therapies, acupressure and acupuncture. Ayurveda also promotes naturopathy which is a holistic approach to wellness with a focus on stress management, a healthy diet, hydration, sunlight and movement which help reduce the dependency on medicines to control blood sugar levels.


In ayurveda it is not only about controlling diabetes, but rather about nurturing a balance between your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing to create an environment for better health. Without simply treating the symptoms, ayurveda guides us with lifestyle changes that work to treat the body as a whole entity and help it achieve lasting wellness. Making these tweaks to your everyday life will help you stick to habits, from eating to exercise, that will not only help you mange your diabetes but could even help reverse it, depending on your individual case. With so many benefits, adopting an ayurvedic lifestyle to manage your diabetes is a smart way to take control of your health and wellbeing.