Over 29 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes, and 25 million have type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Type 2 diabetes is a long-term disease when the pancreas doesn’t make enough of the hormone insulin, or the body cannot use insulin effectively. Insulin helps the body store glucose, or sugar, in the cells. Without insulin, glucose builds up in the blood and is passed from the blood to other body areas.

Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 29 million people in the United States, making them 10 percent of the U.S. population. If you are one of these people, you may be looking for natural ways to manage the disease. Over-the-counter and pharmaceutical drugs for diabetes come with various negative side effects. Others have serious, long-term side effects. Thankfully, some natural supplements and herbs can help.

Here are the best supplements and herbs that you might take for type 2 diabetes. 

Ginger

While type 2 diabetes is not new, it is rising worldwide. It is a serious condition that, if not addressed, can lead to serious health complications. The condition is linked to insulin production and insulin resistance. It can also develop due to obesity, inactivity, or an unhealthy diet. Although ginger is not a cure, it can help reduce blood glucose levels and reduce your dependence on insulin. In one study, people taking 400 milligrams of ginger twice a day for six months were able to reduce their average blood glucose levels by 25 percent and reduce their use of insulin by 10 percent.

Gymnema

There are so many supplements and herbal remedies that claim to help treat diabetes, but many of them are ineffective. One herb studied extensively is Gymnema Sylvestre, or Gymnema, a vine native to India. This herb is effective in preventing blood sugar spikes as well as controlling blood sugar. It’s even been used to treat type 1 diabetes, which would suggest that it may also be an effective treatment for people with type 2 diabetes as well.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a plant that is commonly used in Indian cooking. The seeds are dried, ground, and used as a spice in curries and stews. Fenugreek is also found as a supplement, usually in capsule form, and is often used to treat diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. Fenugreek’s use for treating diabetes is not as well studied as several other herbs, but there is some evidence that fenugreek may be beneficial.

Milk thistle

Milk thistle is one of the oldest herbs used in traditional medicine, and studies have shown that it may be an extremely helpful supplement for people with diabetes. The name “milk thistle” comes from its milky sap that oozes from the plant when cut. This sap contains a number of potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which help protect the liver from damage and inflammation.

Bitter melon

Studies have shown that Bitter melon can help lower blood sugar in diabetic patients, so it’s not surprising that many herbal supplements for weight loss contain bitter melon. One study revealed that taking bitter melon extract helped patients lose 6.3 pounds versus just over 2 pounds in the placebo group. The FDA does not regulate herbal supplements, so it’s impossible to tell what ingredients make up these pills. Bitter melon is believed to help lower glucose levels by stimulating the pancreas to release insulin. The active ingredient in this herb is called vicine. Bitter melon appears to be safe when taken at the recommended dose. However, there are reports of side effects, including diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, and itchiness.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the best supplements and herbs for type 2 diabetes. It has been traditionally used as a spice in cooking, but on its own, it possesses many health benefits making it one of the most used supplements and herbs for type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-diabetic properties, making it an effective herbal solution for preventing and treating Type 2 Diabetes.

Aloe vera

Millions face two major health problems being overweight and struggling with diabetes. And while medication and lifestyle changes can help, another option is herbal supplements. One of the best supplements for Type 2 diabetes is aloe vera. The succulent plant is packed with vitamins and minerals that help regulate blood sugar and manage diabetes symptoms, and it’s also full of health benefits.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease that affects about 29 million people in the United States. Among this group, about 8 million have the condition and its most severe complications—such as nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. No one goes to school to learn how to manage diabetes, and many of those affected are blamed for their condition.