Goat Rue as the alternative herbal medicine for Diabetes
Galega officinalis, or Goat’s Rue as it is more commonly known, was originally found in southern Europe and part of western Asia. The Greek words ‘gala’ meaning milk and ‘ega’ meaning ‘to bring on’, aptly describes this herb’s unique ability to stimulate milk production in both animals and humans. Its common name however, came about after countless unsuspecting goats that had consumed this bushy perennial, soon met a very unfortunate end.
Goat’ Rue has incredible medicinal properties
Goat’s Rue, which resembles wild licorice
, can reach heights of up to five feet and is normally found in low-lying, moist areas such as riverbanks, or damp meadows. The flowers, similar to those of the pea family, are white to lilac in color and grow in spikes that bloom from late June to August. In autumn, the spikes bear reddish-brown seedpods that can produce up 15,000 pods per plant, each containing approximately nine yellowish, kidney-shaped seeds. Each leaf is made up of 13 to 17 long spear-like leaflets about two inches in length. Visually, the plant is very beautiful, but ecologically, it has become a very hazardous problem for farmers. Although the long, hollow stems and leaves of the plant, when consumed, have proven fatal to sheep, cattle and goats, its flowers and seeds are quite safe and hold incredible medicinal properties.
Goat’s Rue for the treatment of intestinal parasites
Like many North American plant species, Goat’s Rue was originally brought over by early settlers in the late 1800s. By 1891, it was already being tested as a foraging plant for livestock. After lethal results, attributed to a poisonous substance called galegin, the plant was eventually designated a noxious weed and set for eradication. Because the seeds are known to stay viable in soil for as long as 10 years however, some areas, like Cache County in Utah, still report a 60 square mile area of infected pastures, cropland, riverbanks and wetland. Despite its proven toxicity, the plant has been used for centuries as a treatment for intestinal parasites and snakebites. It was also know as a treatment for the plague. In parts of England, Goat’s Rue was used to clot milk in order to make cheese.
Goat’s Rue is proven to stimulate milk production and flow in lactating women by as much as 50 percent according to some studies. Once use in England to increase milk production in cows and goats, it is now also thought to stimulate the growth of the mammary glands through active components, called isoflavones, which act as balancing agents on female hormone levels. The estrogenic properties of these isoflavones, naturally bind with specific cells within the mammary glands, stimulating breast development and improving circulation in the glands.
Goats Rue as alternative diabetes medicine
More exciting however, is that Goat’s Rue is now making headlines as a possible alternative for reducing the risk of adult onset diabetes, a problem that is reaching epidemic proportions in today’s society of sugarcoated edibles. According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), in the US alone, there are 18.2 million people suffering from one form or another of diabetes; that translates to an alarming 6.3 percent of the entire population. Some experts believe these figures will double in less than eight years. This often deadly disease, can cause serious irreparable harm if left untreated and in many cases, such things as blindness kidney disease or limb amputations result.
Diabetes occurs when there is an irregular production of insulin in the body causing glucose levels to rise. Insulin is basically a natural occurring hormone that helps move glucose in the blood to various cells for later use as energy or storage as fat. There are two types of diabetes: Type-I, in which the body does not produce insulin at all and requires daily insulin injections, or Type-II, in which the body can produce minute amounts of insulin and some form of medication may be required. Type-II diabetes usually shows up in older people between the ages of 40-70 and requires sufferers to make strict changes in their diet and exercise regimes.
Goat’ Rue as natural diabetic cures
The medicinal constituent found in Goat’s Rue shown to help with diabetes is a chemical called galegin, which studies report has very similar effects to well-known pharmaceutical called Metformin.1 As with many natural substances, the use of Goat’s Rue results in fewer side effects than chemical-based substances, which in the case of many diabetes drugs, can cause a severe loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Researchers believes that Goat’s Rue may be responsible for reducing blood glucose levels by making cells more receptive to normal hormonal and chemical stimulation. This in turn, affects the cell’s natural ability to use glucose effectively.2 One US doctor, has even gone so far as to state that Goat’s Rue has the same effects as Metformin.3
Goat’s Rue as healthy weight loss supplements
Further research conducted at the Department of Sciences at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, England reports that Goat’s Rue could also become a venerable weight loss agent. Studies reported that patients experienced significant weight loss, but what was even more encouraging was that when they returned to their normal diet, they were able to keep the weight off.4
The recommended dosage of Goat’s Rue will vary depending on what it is being use for, but normal amounts range form 20 mg – 200 mg three times per day. As with any herb, it is always best to check the purity and quality of the active ingredients and when in doubt, consult a health practitioner for advice.
- Phytotherapy Research 1999, 13(2): 91-94
- Experimental Eye Research 1996, 62; 505-510
- Vitamin Research News 2001, 15(3): 4-5
- Vitamin Research News 2001, 15 (10); 1-16