Insulin leaves to control diabetes

Fiery costus or spiral flag, is a herbal plant from costaceae family native of Brazil. In India, it is known as “Insulin plant” because of its use in Ayurveda and siddha medicine to treat diabetes (1). The leaves of the plant are dark green and fleshy. The plant grows up to a height of about two feet with a number of broad lengthy leaves forming around the stem like a spiral.

Nutrition information

The plant is mainly used for its anti-diabetic properties even though it contains many other medicinal properties. There are studies that suggest the usage of the plant in the treatment of Ascaris, asthma, and bronchitis.

The study on the contents of the insulin plant and its application in the modern medical field is in initial stages only. Only during recent years some authenticated studies and the observations have been revealed (2).

How to make insulin leaves raita – Tutorial

The recipe here is simple and is a healthy way to consume the leaves of insulin plant. You can consume this raita daily as accompaniment for rice, bread and roti.

  • 8 leaves Insulin leaves
  • 1 cup Homemade yogurt / curd
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  1. The ingredients required for making insulin leaves raita are shown below. If you are unable to prepare yogurt at home, you can buy plain yogurt and use that.
  2. Chop the insulin leaves using a knife or a pair of scissors. The leaves are crunchy in texture and can be chopped well.
  3. Keep the chopped leaves aside. These leaves taste mildly sour and are suitable for making raita.
  4. Add the chopped leaves to yogurt. Use fresh yogurt for making raita.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Add a teaspoon of ground pepper and a pinch of salt to the yogurt.
  7. Mix all the ingredients together.
  8. The raita is now done. You can also refrigerate it for a while and serve it chilled.

Tips for growing insulin plant:

This plant needs sun shine to grow. It can be grown in fields as well as in home gardens where adequate sun shine is available. It is a perennial plant. The stem cuttings are planted and grown. No seed is required. The leaves are sweet and sour and you can consume it raw.

When can you see results?

It is established that results of regular consumption of insulin plant can be seen only after fifteen days of consumption.

So far, the plant is known to contain many nutrients beneficial to health. The plant is rich in protein, iron, and anti-oxidants like orsorbic acid, a-tocopherol, beta-carotene, terpenoids, steroids, and flavonoids. The plant contains carbohydrates, interpinoids, alkaloids, tannins, and saponins. The leaves contain 21.2% fiber. The leaf extract contains petroleum ether, Cyclohexane, acetone, and ethanol. Significant amounts of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, and zinc are available in the plant.

The phenolic substances in the plant are responsible for the antioxidant properties. The antioxidants quercetin and diosgenin in the plant are used in reducing stress in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. It also stimulates glycolytic enzymes besides controlling gluconeogenesis in animals affected by diabetics (3).

When insulin leaves are consumed along with other modalities of diabetic treatment, it provides effective glycemic control(4) in diabetic patients. Even in cases where blood sugar level is not controlled by oral drugs, consumption of insulin plant might be effective. In addition to that, consumption of insulin plant regularly reduces the intake of other oral drugs by half the quantity.

Insulin plant can be made into a salad along with tomato and fenugreek seeds. This is also one of the effective remedies that treat and controls blood sugar levels.

Other health benefits of Insulin plant

Though this plant is widely used for treating diabetes, there are many other health benefits that the plant provides when used regularly. This humble plant can be easily grown in a home garden and can be used for regular consumption.

Aids digestion

This plant and its leaves are probiotic, that helps to soothe the colon and intestines. It contains natural fructose which helps to smoothen the digestion process. It also reduces flatulence(5) and gas accumulation in the intestines.

Anti-bacterial property

The natural anti-bacterial property in it helps to eliminate bacterial infection in the internal systems. It helps to clean the kidneys and flush out toxins. Excretion process will also be smooth when the plant and its extract is consumed regularly.

Improves bowel movement

Since the plant contains plenty of fiber in it, it helps to digest food effectively. It also helps the body to absorb nutrients completely from the food consumed. Foods that are rich in dietary fiber(6), aids smooth bowel movements and empties the bowel completely.

Eliminates free radicals

Anti-oxidants present in insulin plant helps to prevent and eliminate free radicals from the internal system. It also slows down the aging process of the internal organs.

Treats hypertension

When the extract the plant is consumed regularly, it helps to reduce blood pressure. It also treats hypertension(7) and reduces stress. The extract of the leaves or the leaves can be directly consumed to treat hypertension.

Boosts immunity

It also contains immunity-boosting properties that strengthen immunity and improves resistance towards flu viruses and bacteria. It also cures a sore throat and flu symptoms.

Reduces cholesterol and aids weight loss

Regular consumption of the extract of the leaves can help you get rid of bad cholesterol in the body effectively. this also helps to use the energy and fat already accumulated internally.

Research evidence(s)

Evidence 1

Ethanolic extract of Costus igneus (insulin plant)  has the ability to conduct antidiabetic effect. The study and research has proved that the diabetes level has reduced when tested in diabetic rats. This particular study had brought the plant to the notice of many scientists who are carrying researches in fining treatment options for diabetes mellitus from Costus igneus leaves. (8)

Evidence 2

Studies show that when the insulin leaves from the insulin plant (Costus igeus) are consumed regularly, it reduces the fasting blood sugar level and postprandial blood sugar levels. This study has brought down the sugar levels to normal when tested in dexamethasone-induced hyperglycemia rats.

These research evidence show that the regular consumption of the plant leaves and its extract can help you reduce blood sugar levels effectively. The extract of the leaves are available in powder form which can be used in making tea or can be mixed in warm water and consumed.

Follow the instructions in this simple recipe to know how to use insulin plant to treat diabetes mellitus.

Here is the recipe.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.

16 replies on “How to use Insulin plant to cure diabetes – DIY”

  • Sandhya
    June 8, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Hi! Thanks for the DIY recipe for the Insulin plant. Does a person have to be diabetic to have this? Or can one start consuming it as a preventive measure as well? Thank you 🙂

  • Yazhini
    June 9, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Yes Sandhya – it definitely can. Just chewing on 2 – 3 leaves a day will do the trick!

  • June 10, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    my insulin plants have a blossom on top does this have seeds?

  • Yazhini
    June 11, 2017 at 5:48 am

    They will – but if you’re looking for propagation, stem cuttings work faster.

  • Liza
    June 13, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    can i boil it and use like tea instead of chewing?

  • Yazhini
    June 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

    I would suggest using it in the raw form as much as possible – even in salads.

  • marcelina
    June 18, 2017 at 6:52 am

    hi my husband taking insulin for about 2 years now. He injected insuget brand 70:30, 35 units of insulin in the morning and 15 in the evening. I gave him a cup of blended insulin leaves every day, Is it okey? do I need to reduce units of injectable insulin? how many units are going to reduced?

  • Yazhini
    June 21, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Hello Marcelina,

    Do it in a planned manner. First check the blood sugar levels. Start the ground insulin leaves treatment and continue for a week (along with the insulin injection – do not stop or reduce it) After a week, check the levels and based on that, take a call. But, in your husband’s case, I would suggest you try the periwinkle tea remedy available on this website. That would be more effective at this stage.

  • dely
    July 7, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    how much is the insulin plant?

  • Allyson Hinds
    August 21, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    How do I grow this plant myself Do I purchase bulbs? Seeds? Please advise…

  • Ramya Srinivasan
    August 22, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Stem cuttings work well. Very easy to propagate.

  • Aileen Tan
    August 22, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    What’s the best to consume, the mature leaves or the new leaves?

  • Ramya Srinivasan
    August 23, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Both are fine. Mature is the best.

  • Elvie Go
    October 10, 2018 at 7:16 am

    What is the taste of isulin plant?

  • Ramya Srinivasan
    October 10, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Mildly sour… tastes pretty good.

  • MARY FRANCIS CONSENCINO
    October 27, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for the insights…May i ask if how many raw leaves does a person could chew if she’s taking an insulin medicine?

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