Diabetes is a condition in which sugar (glucose) builds up in the bloodstream. Problems with insulin production and function lead to this condition.

Cases of diabetes have increased across the globe. The number of people worldwide who are living with diabetes has grown from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, estimates the World Health Organization. This rise is expected to continue.

Diabetes is usually treated with a change in diet, exercise, and prescription medications to control blood sugar. Still, many people with diabetes have trouble controlling their symptoms. Symptoms can include:

Homeopathy is an alternative medical system. It’s also called homeopathic medicine. Homeopathy is based on the idea that a condition can be treated with a diluted amount of a natural substance that’s been shown to cause symptoms of the disease in healthy people. This is the homeopathic principle of “like cures like.”

There are many homeopathic remedies available for treating the symptoms of diabetes. But keep in mind that homeopathy isn’t recommended by health agencies as a treatment for diabetes or its symptoms.

This is because there’s little to no evidence that homeopathy is effective in treating diabetes. If you choose to use homeopathy, you need to also continue to follow your doctor’s treatment plan for diabetes.

Read on for more information about homeopathic treatments to help you make an informed decision about your diabetes care. If you want to try a particular homeopathic treatment, make sure to talk to your doctor first.

Homeopathic remedies are made from minerals, plants, or animals. They’re considered “all natural.”

Homeopathic principles state that when a substance is diluted, it increases its therapeutic strength. The natural substance is diluted to the point where the remedy contains only trace amounts of the substance. It can then be formulated as:

  • sugar pellets
  • ointments
  • drops
  • creams
  • tablets

Examples of homeopathic remedies marketed to treat the symptoms of diabetes or prevent complications include:

  • Syzygium jambolanum or S. cumini (black plum) is said to help treat thirst, weakness, skin ulcers, and excessive urination.
  • Uranium nitricum is marketed to treat excessive urination, nausea, swelling, and burning with urination.
  • Conium (hemlock) is purported to treat numbness in the feet and hands as well as diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage).
  • Plumbum (lead) is said to help with numbness in the hands and feet, nerve pain, and tinnitus.
  • Calendula (marigold) is said to treat infected ulcers.
  • Phosphoric acid is promoted to treat impaired memory, confusion or heavy head, frequent urination at night, hair loss, and difficulty maintaining an erection.
  • Candida (yeast) is said to treat yeast infections.

There’s little evidence to prove that homeopathic treatments work. While they’ve been used for many years, more research is needed to determine their effectiveness.

Studies testing Syzgium jambolanum in mice and rats have shown promise. Double-blind, controlled clinical studies in humans haven’t been able to show any benefit. One study concluded that S. cumini as a homeopathic remedy is “pharmacologically inert.”

Most other homeopathic remedies for diabetes haven’t been tested in human clinical trials.

In 2015, the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia conducted a research study to assess the effectiveness of homeopathy. The researchers were unable to find consistent evidence that homeopathy was effective for treating any of the conditions tested. There were no well-designed studies with enough human participants for a meaningful outcome.

Like many other health organizations, they don’t recommend using homeopathic remedies without first consulting your doctor.

Advocates of homeopathic treatments still support eating a healthy diet and exercising as part of a treatment plan for diabetes. They also recognize that there’s no substitute to insulin.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows over-the-counter homeopathic remedies to be sold without proof that they’re safe. These products could pose a health risk if they’re incorrectly manufactured.

The FDA recently announced that it will begin toughening its regulations on homeopathic drugs.

Homeopathic remedies by definition only include a minute amount of a substance. Side effects and adverse reactions are rare. There’s still a small risk of having a serious allergic reaction to the substance, though. There’s also a risk of it interacting with one or more medications you’re taking.

Perhaps the biggest risk to using a homeopathic treatment for diabetes is the danger of someone stopping use of their prescriptions needed to manage diabetes. While waiting to see if the homeopathic remedy works, their condition could get much worse. They could develop serious complications as well.

Possible complications of diabetes include:

Diabetes is life-threatening if not treated.

Homeopathy is a controversial topic in medicine. While there are several homeopathic remedies marketed for diabetes symptoms, there’s little to no evidence showing they actually work.

If you want to try homeopathy for treating one of your symptoms, still continue to take the medications prescribed by your doctor. Don’t replace your current treatment with a homeopathic treatment.

It’s still important to manage your weight with a healthy diet and exercise, and to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Dieting and exercising may be hard, but they’re not impossible.

Meet with your doctor before taking any homeopathic medicine. During your appointment, be sure to discuss the remedy to make sure it doesn’t pose a risk of side effects or drug interactions.