Bear’s Claw and Hypoglycemia
I’ve been finding that small doses of Oplopanax horridum are incredibly useful for mild to moderate hypoglycemic attacks. Especially when taken at the first sign of trouble (i.e. nausea, faintness, blurred vision, anxiousness, irritability, shaking and sudden fatigue), even a few drops can dramatically back off nearly all symptoms. It seems to works best when several small doses are taken over a period of about half an hour. Oftentimes, some light fatigue will remain but the rest of the symptoms will recede dramatically. Bear’s Claw, also known as Devil’s Club, also gives a lovely feeling of general well-being and happiness.
No herb is a cure for hypoglycemia and the bigger pattern of dysfunction it represents, but as I’ve said before, anything that helps is a welcome relief while integrating a holistic protocol. That’s as long as being able to treat symptoms doesn’t keep us from addressing the whole picture.
This plant can also be used in a more constant way to steady blood sugar levels or to help with acute carb cravings on a daily basis as outlined by Ryan Drum:
In practice, the most important use to date is the control of blood sugar. My own long-term personal consumption of Devil’s Club indicates to me that blood sugar release or conversion mechanisms are affected; by this I mean that daily available energy levels stay much the same throughout the day and tend not to fade or plunge in the late afternoon when Devil’s Club bark is chewed or tincture taken in the morning before food. I have had patients use either the strong tea or powdered bark in capsules (2-4 ,00/day ) between meals to balance blood sugar and suppress or relieve overwhelming food/eating desires; often the tea has been too flavorful to drink, particularly it seems, for the biggest fans of refined sugars and white flour products. The treatment is often effective in less than ten days; and, if not showing positive results by two weeks, may not be effective for some recalcitrant sweet food fans. I suggest devil’s club tea, tincture, or capsules for most blood sugar imbalance problems in addition for the earlier stages of type II diabetes. I tend to use single herbs rather than formulas. Other herbalists frequently include devil’s club in formulas for treating blood sugar imbalances. Severe diet and behavior modification is an essential part of all treatment plans. For those patients with sugar blues, it is not only helpful in modulating blood sugar release and utilization, but there is often a distinct mood enhancement and improved sense of well-being.
I’m currently working on how I can use bitters, Nettle seed, Elderberry and Bear’s Claw together for a more complete and encompassing regimen for hypoglycemia. I also want to say that I have not yet worked with clients using this herb on a long term basis. In my personal experience it seems (so far) safe and useful, especially in small amounts.