Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been around for thousands of years. Just recently, a study highlighted in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism demonstrated that using the TCM approach can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 32%.
Dr. Chun-Su Yuan, director of the Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research at the University of Chicago, conducted a study that showed the use of traditional Chinese herbs had a significant effect on the progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.
TCM differs from Western medicine in that it focuses on the whole body (holistic), treating the entire system instead of treating symptoms as is often the case in Western medicine. In this study, conducted in China, 389 patients who had impaired glucose tolerance (showing risk for developing T2) were checked every three months to determine if they had developed T2. Half of the participants were given Tianqi, a combination of Chinese herbs. The other half received a placebo. By the end of the study, 63% of the TCM group had achieved normal glucose tolerance compared to 46% in the placebo group. There weren’t any side effects reported. Everyone in the study received dietary education and were encouraged to continue their exercise routine.
Two articles, this one from Fox News and another from Medscape.com, do a good job of discussing this study and its results. Another article talks about how TCM can be used to reduce complication symptoms, another serious concern for people with diabetes.
It’s important to remember that the FDA does not oversee supplements and some may contain harmful ingredients or interact with your current medications. Therefore, if you should decide to try herbal remedies be certain that your herbalist is certified. You can find more information about that in this article.
Remember, you should always discuss any changes to your diabetes plan with your healthcare provider. Feel confident enough to discuss this option with your doctor but never go it alone.