Alternative medicines remain unproven
DUBAI // Camel milk, lilac and honey could help diabetics control their condition as an alternative to modern medicine.
Their effectiveness was discussed by Dr Nader Lessan, a consultant endocrinologist at the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, Abu Dhabi, at the 2016 Arab Health Congress.
Scepticism, however, exists towards some unconventional methods, but the results of recent studies into the use of natural treatments for diabetes should not be ignored, he said.
“In Abu Dhabi, I see patients who have a lot of faith in camel milk who say it is actually good for diabetes,” he said. “A lot of research on camel milk comes from enthusiasts, but it is important for physicians to understand its properties.”
He said some patients wanted to pursue such treatments rather than in using scientifically-backed medicines. “They are taking complimentary medicines like honey and Aloe Vera along with traditional medicine, and that can lead to unpredictable hypoglycaemia.”
Frequency of complementary and alternative medicine varies worldwide, and include such treatments as traditional Chinese medicine, meditation, herbals, homoeopathy – as well as manipulative and body-based therapies.
The World Health Organisation’s traditional medicine strategy in 2002 showed 80 per cent of Africa’s population had used complimentary or alternative medicines. This was compared to 42 per cent of Americans and 24 per cent of patients in the UK.
Camel milk has more lactose than cows milk and has been used in the treatment of type 1 diabetes by helping to control insulin levels.
A small community in Rajasthan, India, that consumed camel milk was found to be virtually diabetes-free.
Aloe vera is another natural remedy used for diabetes treatment in the Arabian Peninsula as users claim it reduces fasting blood sugar levels and triglyceride in type 2 diabetes.
Diabetics reported no ill effects when using a tablespoon of aloe vera juice twice a day. A comparison of glycaemic response to honey was published in the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association in 2014, where researchers found diabetics had lower blood glucose levels with honey.
French lilac shares some of the properties of metformin, the modern drug used to treat diabetes, but can be toxic and cause heart problems. Experts insist users consult their doctor first.
Updated: January 25, 2016 04:00 AM