How Traditional Herbal Chinese Medicine Can Help Prevent Diabetes

The JCEM – or Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has recently published a study which suggests that some TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal formula can actually help to slow down the progression from a state of pre-diabetes to fully fledged diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is the condition which is indicated by a person with elevated levels of blood sugar but has not yet developed types 2 diabetes. Any persons who have pre-diabetes do have a raised risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The study involved 420 subjects – 389 of which completed the trial across 11 study sites in China, the trial was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled. Over a period of 12 months, the subjects consumed Tianqi capsules or a placebo three times every day prior to meals. Study subjects were given lifestyle education for one month prior to the commencement of the study and met with nutritionists multiple times throughout the year. Every three months the glucose tolerance of the subjects was studied.

The TCM formula Tianqi is a combination of 10 herbal medicines used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in China. A number of these herbs had already been shown to be instrumental in the lowering of blood sugar levels and boosting glucose levels after meals.

As the study finished a total of 56 subjects from the placebo group had developed diabetes but only 36 subjects developed the condition after taking Tianqi. After necessary adjustments for gender and age, the researchers found that the Tianqi had lowered the risk of diabetes development by 32.1 percent when compared with the placebo. These figures were comparable to ones obtained from studies of other diabetes drugs metformin and acarbose.

It was also found that a higher number of subjects from the Tianqi group had normal tolerance to glucose after the study was completed – 63.13 percent compared to 46.60 percent from the placebo group.

One significant finding was that those who took the Tianqi had no severe side effects to contend with which shows that the herbal formula was not only effective in the prevention of diabetes and improving the control over blood sugars, it was safe for consumption too.

According to Xiaolin Tong MD Ph.D. from the Guang’anmen Hospital, Beijing, China and a leader in the study there are only a small number of clinical trials which have examined the impact of Traditional Chinese Medicine on diabetes and these findings showed that they can be extremely useful in slowing down the progression of the disease.

Diabetes is rapidly becoming a very serious worldwide health burden with many patients struggling to adjust their lifestyles to control their blood sugar levels with limitations of the currently available medications and some having adverse side effects. It is hoped that these traditional Chinese herbal medicines can provide a new way to manage blood sugar levels either singularly or when combined with other treatments.

How Can TCM Help Diabetes

It has been traditional for TCM practitioners to treat diabetes using a combination of herbs with acupuncture. TCM could be a real help towards stabilizing blood sugar levels, improving circulatory issues and slowing down the neuropathy process.