Research: JIA and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 99


JIA and colleagues, The School of Pharmacy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China,, have reviewed (22 references) the antidiabetic herbal medicines officially approved in China. Abstract: Chinese herbal preparations have been a major source of medicines for the prevention and treatment of diseases including diabetes mellitus. More than 200 plant species exhibit blood glucose-lowering properties. These include pumpkin, wheat, celery, wax guard, lotus root and bitter melon. Hundreds of herbs and traditional Chinese medicine formulae have been reported to have been used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Some of these have been approved by the Chinese health regulatory agency for commercial use in China. Pharmacological studies have led to the conclusion that some of these plant ingredients restore the function of pancreatic tissues and cause an increase in insulin secretion, while other ingredients enhance microcirculation, increase the availability of insulin and facilitate the metabolism in insulin-dependent processes. Pharmacological and clinical evaluation have indicated that these medicines have a mild but significant blood glucose lowering effect, and that the long-term use of these medicines may have advantages over the use of chemical drugs in alleviating some of the chronic diseases and complications caused by diabetes. In addition, the combined use of herbal medicines and conventional drug treatments such as chemical agents or insulin permits the use of lower doses and/or decreased frequency of administration, and thereby decreases their side effects.






Jia W, Gao W, Tang L. Antidiabetic herbal drugs officially approved in China. Phytotherapy Research 17 (10): 1127-1134, Dec 2003.

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