Chinese medicine may hold promise for diabetes treatment

A new study shows that using Chinese medicine along with an anti-diabetic drug can provide promising results in patients with diabetes.

Researchers at the University of Queensland are even going so far as to say that conventional drugs for the disease may be more effective when paired with traditional Chinese medicine.

The study

The study included a controlled trial of 800 type-2 diabetic adults. The patients either received just the anti-diabetic drug Glibenclamide or a combination of the drug and Chinese medicinal herbs.

Patients in the latter group were more than a third less likely to experience hypoglycemia than the patients who had only taken the drug.

“They were also less likely to experience other symptoms of diabetes, including fatigue, hunger, and palpitation,” says Sanjoy Paul, Director of the Queensland Clinical Trials and Biostatistics Center in UQ's School of Population Health.

Are Chinese herbs the answer?

Paul notes that traditional Chinese medicine has been used to treat diabetes around the world for decades, but only recently has it become accepted in mainstream healthcare systems, mostly due to research confirming the safety of the practice.

The study is the largest clinical trial to date on the efficacy of Chinese medicine as a method of blood sugar control in diabetes patients. Paul argues that while more studies are needed on the subject, the current findings suggest that Chinese medicine may be a viable option for countries where diabetes is at "epidemic proportions."

“A vast majority of people in developing countries depend on herbal medicine for basic health care," Paul said. "The findings of this study may improve the safe delivery of effective health care to people who may otherwise be unable to access treatment.”

The study is published in the journal PLOS One.

Source: Futurity.org, University of Queensland

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