- Buckwheat is a plant. People make flour from the leaves and flowers. This flour can be used either as food (usually in bread, pancakes, and noodles) or as medicine.
- As medicine, buckwheat is used to improve blood flow by strengthening veins and small blood vessels; to treat varicose veins and poor circulation in the legs; and to prevent “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).
- Buckwheat is also used to treat diabetes.
- Buckwheat might help people with diabetes by improving how well the body deals with blood sugar.
- Buckwheat allergy: Some people who are exposed to buckwheat on the job develop buckwheat allergy. Other people can also become allergic to buckwheat. Re-exposure to buckwheat can lead to serious allergic reactions including skin rash; runny nose; asthma; and a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure, itching, swelling, and difficulty in breathing (anaphylactic shock).
- Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity: Some researchers think that including buckwheat in a gluten-free diet might not be safe. However, buckwheat is considered an acceptable food by the Celiac Disease Foundation and the Gluten Intolerance Group. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can probably eat buckwheat safely.
- Allergy to rice: Some people who are allergic to rice might also become allergic to buckwheat.
- Diabetes: Buckwheat might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control in people with diabetes. The dose of diabetes medication might need to be changed.
- Surgery: Buckwheat might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using large amounts of buckwheat at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
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Source: WebMD, “Buckwheat”, www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/