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#200436 - 04/18/10 06:54 PM Home-grown insulin
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
One of the things I remember about Pat Frank's book Alas, Babylon, was that he said that after America was reduced to bare subsistence level, all the diabetics died within two weeks. It would be scary to be totally dependent on a supply of insulin.

I am attempting to grow some experimental patches of various cover crops, and one of them is the annual herb Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum). Looking up info on it, I found a very interesting (and very short) notation: "Fenugreek seeds have been used as an oral insulin substitute, and seed extracts have been reported to lower blood glucose levels in laboratory animals."

I know nothing more about it, but an interested party could probably find more info on it.

First, I found whole Fenugreek seeds in bulk supply at the local Fred Meyer/Kroeger (herbs and seasonings), and they are supplied by Frontier Natural Foods. Frontier apparently sells to individuals, but if you have a decent health food store nearby that deals with them, they (or possibly FM/Kroeger) could order some for you (the price is $10-15/pound, depending on if you wanted whole seeds or powdered -- Organic; non-O is about half that) and eliminate the shipping.

Second, it's growing requirements are pretty general, and would probably grow in most parts of the U.S.: Does well in places where temperatures range from 46F to 80F, with an annual precipitation of 16-60, and a soil pH of 5.3 to 8.2. Prefers full sun and rich, well-drained soils. Growth is slow and weak in low temps and wet soils. Requires little nitrogen (it's a legume), but may require the same seed inoculant as alfalfa.

Third, I tried sprouting the seeds, and got very high germination rate.

I haven't checked into this any farther than this article on forage crops from the NE Organic Dairy Producers Alliance.

In this as with all things, don't experiment with someone's life (even your own) -- do your research and talk to your doctor.

Sue

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#200442 - 04/18/10 08:12 PM Re: Home-grown insulin [Re: Susan]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC

Very interesting, Sue, I've never heard of fenugreek. The insulin angle also figures prominently in "One Second After."






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#200445 - 04/18/10 09:19 PM Re: Home-grown insulin [Re: Dagny]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7416
Loc: southern Cal
So how much fenugreek would be needed to provide for a typical diabetic for, say, one year?

We have had far out threads before, but this may be the prize winner......
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#200447 - 04/18/10 10:47 PM Re: Home-grown insulin [Re: Susan]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 831
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
"a substitute for oral insulin" is an interesting concept as there is no such thing as oral insulin available to us diabetics. The digestive system destroys insulin. That's why we inject. There is one that can be inhaled, but is not in wide use, and some problems have been reported (damage to the lungs).

I think they mean it just lowers blood sugar. Some other natural remedies tend to have a similar effect, (e.g. cinnamon). They may help a mild type 2 diabetic lower their blood sugar, but they do not substitute for insulin. Type 2 diabetics have trouble using the insulin their bodies produce, and some compounds seem to help the body use the natural insulin better.

On the other hand, if you don't have your body's insulin to use in the first place, such natural compounds will not help. For example, in my case I inject insulin 3x a day. My pancreas pretty much gave up on producing insulin about 10 years ago.

However, I will last longer than 2 weeks. I have a 3 month supply in the fridge at any one time. wink
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#200455 - 04/19/10 12:07 AM Re: Home-grown insulin [Re: bws48]
Krista Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/10
Posts: 101
Loc: North Carolina
[quote=bws48]"a substitute for oral insulin" is an interesting concept as there is no such thing as oral insulin available to us diabetics.

I think maybe it means the fenugreek is taken orally, as a substitute for insulin.

I'm really interested in herbalism, so this topic is great. One of my books, "The Little Herb Encyclopedia" by Jack Ritchason, N.D., discusses fenugreek. It describes experimental data that indicates that it does lower sugar levels, which helps with the insulin regulation. It is apparently used in the Middle East today. I imagine that for long time sufferers whose body produces little or no insulin (?) it would not be very effective. But maybe for those with mild (?) cases it would be beneficial?

*That's just my un-medically educated opinion* smile
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Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.

~Marion C. Garretty



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#200462 - 04/19/10 01:36 AM Re: Home-grown insulin [Re: Krista]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I know very little about diabetes, it's one thing my family isn't plagued with (as opposed to daily insanity). I don't know anything about this particular use of Fenugreek except for that sentence in the article I ran across today.

Good, bad, useless or indifferent, I have no idea.

Sue

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#200477 - 04/19/10 04:17 AM Re: Home-grown insulin [Re: Susan]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Fenugreek is interesting.

But I would caution everyone to remember that most of the stuff on 'natural food', 'herbal medicine' sites is not science based. Most are far more interested in selling you herbs, seeds, 'treatments' than staying strictly science and reality based. Many herbal and alternative medicine sites are deep in the woo.


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#200502 - 04/19/10 02:41 PM Re: Home-grown insulin [Re: bws48]
Compugeek Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 392
Loc: San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: bws48
However, I will last longer than 2 weeks. I have a 3 month supply in the fridge at any one time. wink


Good on you!

How long can you keep it cold if the power goes out?

(I'm not being snarky. I'm honestly interested.)
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Okey-dokey. What's plan B?

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#200509 - 04/19/10 04:07 PM Re: Home-grown insulin [Re: Art_in_FL]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"...most of the stuff on 'natural food', 'herbal medicine' sites is not science based. Most are far more interested in selling you herbs, seeds, 'treatments' than staying strictly science and reality based."

Mostly true, with a double-whammy attached: the people with the money for the science are the drug companies who don't do work on natural ingredients because there isn't enough money in them, and the universities subsidized by the drug companies, who will pull their donations if they try (like the agricultural colleges).

In fact, many folk remedies are found to be fact-based, like digitalis for the heart, and spiderwebs as an anticoagulant. But without the work and some money being put into them, natural meds will remain the black sheep of medicine.

If some backroom scientist found a cure for cancer or even the common cold in a plant, he would be bought out or laughed into oblivion.

MONEY IS ALL.

Sue

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#200512 - 04/19/10 04:26 PM Re: Home-grown insulin [Re: Susan]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Quote:
Mostly true, with a double-whammy attached: the people with the money for the science are the drug companies who don't do work on natural ingredients because there isn't enough money in them, and the universities subsidized by the drug companies, who will pull their donations if they try (like the agricultural colleges).

In fact, many folk remedies are found to be fact-based, like digitalis for the heart, and spiderwebs as an anticoagulant. But without the work and some money being put into them, natural meds will remain the black sheep of medicine.

If some backroom scientist found a cure for cancer or even the common cold in a plant, he would be bought out or laughed into oblivion.


Hi Sue,

I will have to disagree with you on this issue, as the NCI has a major program which as been around for many years looking for and developing treatments from natural products:

Natural Products Lab

Natural Products

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