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Diabetes Alternative Treatments


Diabetes According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Tradition Chinese herbs can be purchased and professional consultation can be provided at the site of Dr. Shen.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) calls diabetes Thirsting and Wasting Disease.  The cause of diabetes is held to be the result of a collapse of the Yin principle in the spleen, lungs and kidneys.  Much research and thousands of years of experience have demonstrated that Chinese herbal treatments can be very useful in treating type 2 diabetes.

To get the best results it is vital to start with a diagnosis by a competent Chinese medical practitioner.  This will indicate the organs that are involved.  The practitioner can then arrive at an herbal blend that is suitable for the individual’s specific physiology.  In order to build up yin in different organs, various herbs and formulae will be needed.



Individual Chinese Herbs and Diabetes

In most cases, single Chinese herbs are seldom used for diabetes treatment.  However, there are some exceptions.  A common vegetable in Asia called bitter melon (momordica charantia) or sometimes called bitter gourd, is known to bring down the blood sugar levels in diabetic persons.  Another effective herb for diabetes is Tina Hua Fen or trichosanthis root.  Also Gymnema Sylvestre and Funugreek (Hu Lu Ba) are two more herbs commonly used in Chinese medicine to treat diabetes.

Ginseng has also been used successfully to treat diabetes with American ginseng or Yi Shang Shen, that is most proper for the treatment of diabetes (and not Asian ginseng or Ren Shen).  Most Chinese herbal medicine practitioners will use combinations of different herbs according to the specific diagnosis of the diabetic patient.

Chinese Medicine for Diabetes

Chinese herbs used to tonify or build up yin that are commonly used include Da Bu Yin Wan and Liu Wei Di Huang.  In addition, the practitioner will use acupuncture and other herbs to treat diabetes complications such as loss of circulation to extremities, cataracts and neuropathy.  The most common formulations of these herbs are:

For diabetes conditions in which the lungs are involved, Mai Wei Di Huang Wan is preferred over Liu Wei Di Huang.  For diabetic conditions involving the stomach/spleen with accompanying feelings of gnawing hunger and insatiable thirst, Bai Hu Tang Wan (White Tiger Pills) are included.  When diabetes involves the kidneys with symptoms of frequent urination, Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan (Golden Book Pills) is recommended over Liu Wei Di Huang Wan.  Also the herb Hu Lu Ba (Fenugreek) is advised.  For the complication of cataracts or other eye problems that arise from diabetes, Ming Mu Di Huang Wan (Cataract Vision Improving Pills) is prescribed.

Chinese Medicine Research on Diabetes

Chinese herbs show promise for diabetes prevention

 NEW YORK (Reuters Health) –A number of traditional Chinese herbs may help control blood sugar levels in people at high risk of diabetes, a new research review suggests.

The review, which examined 16 clinical trials of 15 different Chinese herbal medicines , found that the herbs generally helped lower blood sugar levels in people with "pre-diabetes" that can progress to type 2 diabetes.

When the researchers pooled data, they found that adding a Chinese herbal medicine to lifestyle changes doubled the likelihood of participants' blood sugar levels returning to normal.

What's more, people using the remedies were two-thirds less likely to progress to diabetes during the 9 month studies.

The findings appear in the Cochrane Library, published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.

The results, say the researchers, are "quite promising." However, they also stress that the studies had shortcomings that make it hard to draw firm conclusions.

The studies included a total of 1,391 men and women with either impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose -- problems in blood-sugar control that lead to sugar levels that are elevated, but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.

They tested various Chinese herbal medicines such as Jiangtang Bushen, Xiaoke huaya and Tang Kang yin.

Grant pointed out that in traditional Chinese medicine, herbs are recommended based on individuals' unique situations, and not as a one-size-fits-all prescription.

Find full article on Chinese herbal medicine and diabetes here

Diabetes and Chinese Medicine Yu Xiao San 8805 a clinical report

Designed to restore pancreatic function and to proliferate insulin beta cells, Yu Xiao San has been shown to gradually and effectively lower blood-sugar levels and increase insulin secretion. In addition it has been shown to regulate carbohydrate metabolism, improve blood circulation, lower blood cholesterol and increase immune response. The main herb components are Ramulus Euonymi Alatae, Niu Bang Zi (Fructus Arctii Lappae), Wei Ling Xian (Radix Clemetidis Chinensis), Di Gu Pi (Cortex Lycii Chinensis Radicis), E Zhu (Rhizoma Curcumae Zedoariae), Jie Geng (Radix Platycodi Grandiflori), Li Zhi He (Semen Litchi Chinensis) and Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng). This patent is currently also being produced in the US and marketed as a health food. (see Appendix-Clinical Research).

From Feb. 1992 to Oct. 1992, 10,618 cases were selected based upon the diagnostic criteria established for diabetes mellitus by the World Health Organization. The patients were drawn for clinical assessment from the China Beijing Chao Yang District Red Cross Hospital and from 48 comparable hospitals nationwide.


After 4 months of treatment and monitoring, of patients with Type 1 diabetes, 84 (6.80%) demonstrated clinical recovery, 106 (8.58%) prominent effect, 144 (11.65%) some effect, and 902 (72.98%) no effect. Over the same period, 1794 (19.12%) patients with Type 2 diabetes demonstrated clinical recovery, 2346 (25.01%) prominent effect, 3835 (40.88%) some effect, and 1407 (15.00%) no effect. Overall totals were 1,878 (17.69%), 2,452 (23.09%), 3,979 (37.47%) and 2,309 (21.75%) respectively.

Randomized study of glibenclamide versus traditional Chinese medicine in type 2 diabetic patients

Diabetes et Metabolisme, Vray M.; Attali JR.

A recent study at the French University Paris-Nord, hospital Jean-Verier, France demonstrated that traditional Chinese herbal medicine provides effective treatment for persons suffering with type 2 diabetes.  Three plants were used by the French researchers to evaluate the effectiveness of traditional Chinese Medicine in association with a sulfonylurea, glibenclamide (2.5 mg x 3/d).

Four groups of patients were used to establish a randomized double blind trial study.  All patients had type 2 diabetes, 40 to 70  years of age and were being treated with diet alone or oral anti-diabetic drugs.  216 patients were provided from 5 different medical centers.  Changes in blood sugar levels and insulaemia were monitored with blood tests.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the patients treated with Chinese medicine had significantly lowered blood glucose levels only two hours after the test meal.  The beneficial effects were compounded when glibenclamide was used.  19 patients in the control gropus experienced hypoglycemia but there were no occurrences of hypoglycemia in the group treated with Chinese medicine.

American ginseng improves glucose tolerance in diabetics and non-diabetics

Vuksan V, Stevenpiper JL, Koo VYY, et al. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Archives of Internal Medicine 2000; 160: 1009-1013.

A small, randomized clinical study showed that treatment with American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) helped improve glucose tolerance in non-diabetic people as well as those with type 2 diabetes.

For the study, 10 non-diabetic people and 9 people with type 2 diabetes received treatment with 3 g ginseng or placebo capsules either 40 minutes before or in combination with an oral glucose challenge.

In non-diabetic participants, no difference was observed in glycemia between placebo and ginseng when the substances were administered along with glucose, but significant reductions were seen when ginseng was taken 40 minutes before the glucose challenge. However, compared with placebo, both ginseng dosage regimens improved glucose tolerance in the people with diabetes.

The researchers cautioned that for non-diabetics, "to prevent unintended hypoglycemia, it may be important that the American ginseng be taken with meals." They also noted that the 3 g dose of ginseng used in their study is higher than that used in most other clinical studies, which is typically 1.5 g or less.


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