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