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From Washington, DC, USA:

A friend recently brought an herb back from Brazil - called Lobeira there and perhaps going by "Nopalxochia macdougalli" here - that is being used in Type 1 diabetes to regulate blood sugar levels. It is being marketed in capsule form now, although I believe it was traditionally used in tea form. Do you have any information about this product? I have a 3 year old daughter with diabetes and am very interested in alternatives to supplement her insulin therapy.


I have not personally come across Lobeira or Nopalxochia Macdougalli nor could I find any reference to it in Medline, the computer version of the National Library of Medicine. We had a visit some weeks ago, however, from two pediatricians who looked after the 'street children' with diabetes in Sao Paulo. They said that herbal remedies were often used, without going into specifics; but the main impetus for this was that it was often impossible to get enough insulin for these children, a problem that is found in many third world situations.

By far the most important things you can do for your daughter, as I am sure your doctor has stressed, is to try to maintain excellent control, to gradually teach her to look after herself and to have her lead and expect an otherwise normal life. Quite a number of families also use herbal remedies for Type 1 Diabetes as well as insulin and even when there is no provable pharmacological benefit the feeling of making a contribution independent of the doctor is often important.

Nowadays, if the product label claims to offer benefit to Type 1 Diabetes in children it is supposed to be formally approved by the FDA. It is more likely that Lobeira contains one or more of the trace substances like chromium that have been shown to be of some value in Type 2 Diabetes and that no claim can be made for the autoimmune form of diabetes.


Original posting 14 Sep 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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