Chinese Herb May Provide Benefits In Type II Diabetes

A traditional Chinese pill could be a key weapon in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, a Chinese and Australian study has found.

AsianScientist (Apr. 1, 2013) – A traditional Chinese pill could be a key weapon in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, a new Chinese and Australian study has found.

Researchers, led by The University of Queensland’s Dr. Sanjoy Paul in Australia and Peking University’s Professor Lilong Ji in China, have found that conventional drugs were significantly more effective when used alongside traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

The study, the largest scientifically designed clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of TCM on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, involved 800 type 2 diabetic adults, comparing anti-diabetic drug glibenclamide as a stand-alone treatment and treatment with glibenclamide in conjunction with Xiaoke Pill, a compound of Chinese herbs.

The Xiaoke Pill – which translates to ‘wasting-thirst,’ a common description of diabetes in TCM – contains 0.25 microgram of glibenclamide per pill. It also includes Radix puerariae, Radix rehmanniae, Radix astragali, Radix trichosanthis, Stylus zeae maydis, Fructus schisandrae sphenantherae, and Rhizoma dioscoreae.

Prior studies published in Chinese medical journals showed significant improvement in diabetes symptoms with the Xiaoke Pill. However, until now, the efficacy and safety of Xiaoke Pill had not been evaluated with randomized, double blind, and placebo controlled study.

Results from the study showed that patients treated with the Xiaoke Pill had a significant reduction in risk of hypoglycemia – dangerously low levels of blood sugar – after 48 weeks compared with glibenclamide-only treatment. They were also less likely to experience other symptoms of diabetes, including fatigue, hunger, and palpitation,

“TCM has long been used to treat diabetes in China and around the world but until now there has been a lack of evidence regarding its safety and efficacy. This absence of scientific understanding has caused skepticism and criticism about TCM,” said Paul, who is Director of the Queensland Clinical Trials and Biostatistics Center at the UQ School of Population Health.

Paul said more studies were needed to interpret just how traditional Chinese medicine worked to reduce hypoglycemia, but the study results highlighted its potential to reduce the treatment gap in developing countries where diabetes was at epidemic proportions, and where herbal medicine is regularly used for basic health care.

The article can be found at: Ji L et al. (2013) Efficacy and Safety of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Diabetes: A Double-Blind, Randomised, Controlled Trial.


Source: UQ.
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