With any addiction, the body becomes dependent on a substance, craving it even when though it may be harmful. Sugar addiction is no different. While limiting sugar intake as much as possible is a critical part of the process of breaking the sugar habit, there are herbs and supplements that can also help.
One of the best herbs to help get sugar cravings under control is gymnema sylvestre. Gymnema is an Ayurvedic herb used traditionally to treat diabetes, digestion, urinary tract problems, obesity and hypoglycemia. It is unique in that it actually helps block the taste of sugar and its absorption by the body. One study, published in 2007 in the "Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition," notes there is a link between the taste buds and the absorption of sugar in the intestines. Gymnemic acid, found in gymnema, has a molecular structure similar to sugar. These molecules fill in the receptors on the taste buds temporarily, preventing the taste buds from being activated by the sugar eaten. It can be found in capsule form or as a liquid extract.
Licorice is used in both cooking and herbal medicine. It is a versatile herb used to treat a variety of conditions, including: hypoglycemia, cough, colds, viral infections, inflammation, ulcers, female complaints, and to increase energy. It stimulates adrenal glands and supports the endocrine system. It is naturally sweet, and can satisfy sugar cravings. However, it does not raise blood sugar levels the same as table sugar. It can be found in powder form or liquid extract, and can be added to teas, or used as a sugar substitute.
Stevia is an herb from South America. It is used by herbalists specifically to treat diabetes, and helps lower blood sugar levels. It is extremely sweet and can be used as a sugar substitute to help decrease overall sugar consumption, and satisfy sugar cravings. It can be used in recipes and added to teas, yogurt and cereal. Unlike many sugar substitutes, stevia does not lose its sweetness when used in cooking.
Ginseng root, or panax ginseng, is an Asian herb used to increase energy levels. It is a central nervous system stimulant, and also helps to lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, it can be used to help overcome sugar addictions. However, it does take time for the herb to take effect, as much as two to three months. According to the Herb Guide, a typical dose of ginseng powder is 4,000 to 6,000 mg per day, taken in capsule form.