There’s currently little to no evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating diabetes. You can usually treat it with a change in diet, exercise, and prescription medications to manage blood sugar.

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

Cases of diabetes increased across the globe through the years. For example, the number of people worldwide living with diabetes grew from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, estimates the World Health Organization. The rise in cases might continue.

You can usually treat diabetes with a change in diet, exercise, and prescription medications to manage blood sugar. Still, many people with diabetes have a difficult time managing their symptoms. Symptoms can include:

Homeopathy is an alternative medical system. It’s also called homeopathic medicine. Homeopathy involves the idea that you can treat a condition with a diluted amount of a natural substance that may 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 health agencies do not recommend homeopathy as a treatment for diabetes or its symptoms.

This is because there’s currently little to no evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating diabetes. If you choose to use homeopathy, it’s important 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 with your doctor first.

Homeopathic remedies derive from minerals, plants, or animals and people may consider them “all-natural.”

Homeopathic principles state that when someone dilutes a substance, that substance increases its therapeutic strength. The natural substance dilutes to the point where the remedy contains only trace amounts of the substance. People can then formulate it as:

  • sugar pellets
  • ointments
  • drops
  • creams
  • tablets

There are examples of homeopathic remedies that people market to treat the symptoms of diabetes or prevent complications. These include:

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

There’s currently little evidence to show that homeopathic treatments work. While people have used them for many years, we need more research to determine their effectiveness.

One 2014 animal study testing Syzgium jambolanum or S. cumini in mice and rats showed promise. But many studies involving humans haven’t shown any benefits yet. And, a 2004 study concluded that S. cumini as a homeopathic remedy is “pharmacologically inert.”

Researchers haven’t tested most other homeopathic remedies for diabetes in human studies.

One 2015 research review conducted by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) assessed the effectiveness of homeopathy. But the researchers did not 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.

The NHMRC statement says that “members of homeopathy associations have continued to publish unfounded and incorrect statements about NHMRC’s conduct of the review, including implications that the Ombudsman has made negative findings against NHMRC. Such statements are not true.”

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 balanced diet and exercising as part of a treatment plan for diabetes. They also recognize that there’s no substitute for insulin.

The FDA allows over-the-counter homeopathic remedies to be sold without proof that they’re safe. These products could pose a health risk if people manufacture them incorrectly.

The FDA 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 a substance, though. There’s also a risk of it interacting with one or more medications you take.

Perhaps the biggest risk of using a homeopathic treatment for diabetes is the danger of someone stopping use of the prescriptions they need 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 untreated.

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

If you want to try homeopathy to treat one of your symptoms, it’s important to continue to take the medications that your doctor prescribes. Healthcare professionals recommend that you don’t replace your current treatment with a homeopathic treatment.

It’s still important to manage your weight with a balanced diet and exercise, and to keep your blood sugar levels steady as best you can. Dieting and exercising may be hard, but they’re not impossible. Talk with your doctor about managing your weight in a way that’s right for your health needs.

Also, connect 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.