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(Beijing) Traditional Chinese herbal medicines may help prevent the development of diabetes in the early stages, new research suggests.
The research, conducted by a research team of Center for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, was carried out in April 2008 and March this year in conjunction with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.
In the study, the researchers examined 16 clinical trials including 1,391 people of 15 different herbal formulations. The results were positive, but more evidence is still needed, researchers say.
The research concluded that the herbs generally helped lower blood sugar levels in people with “pre-diabetes.”
It also suggested that adding an herbal remedy to lifestyle changes doubled the chance of participants’ blood sugar levels returning to normal.
The Chinese herbal mixes, which have been used for a long time to treat diabetes in China, Korea and Japan, are thought to work in many ways to help normalize blood sugar levels, including by improving pancreatic function and increasing the availability of insulin.
But Suzanne Grant, the lead researcher of the study, pointed out that the Chinese herbs are only to recommended on a patients’ individual situation.
By far, the study did not find serious side effects caused by the herbs. However, Grant noted, like all medicines, herbs may have potential side effects or interactions with other drugs.