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Ayurveda for Diabetes Mellitus: A Review of the Biomedical Literature

Charles Elder, MD, MPH, FACP

Diabetes mellitus is a condition that is extremely serious from both clinical and public health standpoints. The traditional healthcare system of India, Ayurveda, offers a balanced and holistic multi-modality approach to treating this disorder. Many Ayurvedic modalities have been subjected to empirical scientific evaluation, but most such research has been done in India, receiving little attention in North America. This paper offers a review of the English language literature related to Ayurveda and diabetes care, encompassing herbs, diet, yoga, and meditation as modalities that are accessible and acceptable to Western clinicians and patients. There is a considerable amount of data from both animal and human trials suggesting efficacy of Ayurvedic interventions in managing diabetes. However, the reported human trials generally fall short of contemporary methodological standards. More research is needed in the area of Ayurvedic treatment of diabetes, assessing both whole practice and individual modalities. This work was supported in part by the Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research(Altern Ther Health Med. 2003;10(1):44-50)

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