Traditional Chinese Medicine May Provide Hope for Diabetes

chinese medicineChina has developed a growing problem with increasing rates of type 2 diabetes in the nation’s population; it’s easy to understand that the country’s researchers would therefore have a vested interest in exploring options for preventing and treating the disease more effectively. Like diabetics all over the world, those with the disease in China must monitor their blood glucose levels, buying diabetic accessories such as true track strips and Accuchek lancets, prodigy auto code meters or freestyle diabetes test kits. While supplies for diabetes are not difficult to find, anyone with the disease knows that the expense over the course of the year can be difficult to live with. There is hope for diabetics all over the world, however, in a recent study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, which shows that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) may have some utility in preventing the onset of type two diabetes, and may even help patients manage the symptoms once the disease has developed.


According to the study’s author, Dr. Chun-Su Yuan, Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on establishing balance in the body in order to treat disease, as opposed to Western medicine, which focuses on specific symptoms and organs. For the purposes of the study, the researchers combined TCM’s principles with modern medicine to identify herbs that have been proven effective in treating people with diabetes. Those with type two diabetes do not always have to take insulin, but they do have to monitor their blood-glucose levels, which requires the purchase of test kits and other diabetic accessories such as Accuchek lancets, freestyle diabetes test kits, true track strips and prodigy auto code meters. The study followed 389 participants with impaired glucose tolerance; the double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study tested the participants every three months to monitor whether they had developed diabetes or if they had experienced a restoration of normal glucose tolerance.


Half of the participants were treated with a Chinese herbal mixture known as Tianqi, a capsule containing 10 Chinese herbal medicines, including Coptidis Rhizoma and Astragali Radix, which have been shown in previous studies to improve glucose levels. All of the subjects in the study were given dietary education and were advised to maintain their usual physical fitness routines. The study found that Tianqi appeared to reduce the risk of diabetes by 32.1% compared to the placebo group. 63% of the subjects in the Tianqi group had achieved normal glucose tolerance compared to less than half of the placebo group; in contrast, only about 18% of the Tianqi group went on to develop diabetes, compared to almost 30% of the placebo group. Those who developed diabetes would still have to take medications to manage their blood sugar, as well as monitoring their levels with the help of products such as true track strips and prodigy auto code meters, or freestyle diabetes test kits, or Accuchek lancets. Importantly, there were no reported side effects from the Tianqi treatment, which is a big difference from Western-style medicines. Researchers believe furthermore that the TCM treatment may be almost as effective as Western drugs in treating diabetes. The researchers for this study are looking forward to expanding their study and researching further to prove the effectiveness of the treatment in other countries, including the US. There may be hope for side effect-free prevention of diabetes and even potentially treatment of blood-glucose elevations.


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