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Natural Awakenings

Consider Herbs from Traditional Asian Medicine for Diabetes

Various Asian herbs in bowls and spoons on cutting board next to cup and kettle of herbal tea

Anna Pou/Pexels.com

Diabetes is rampant in the world today, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, but it was also a health condition many centuries ago among Tibetan, Mongolian, Miao, Dai, Uygur and Yi people in East Asia. To identify which diabetes medicines were effective in those indigenous medical systems, Chinese researchers examined medical databases and ethnic medical books. They found evidence of 112 such medications—105 plant-based, six coming from animals and one with fungal origins. The most commonly used were Astragalus membranaceus, now available in many contemporary immune-system formulations; Pueraria lobata, known as arrowroot or kudzu, and considered an invasive plant in North America; and Coptis chinensis, Chinese goldthread, whose main compound, berberine, is used in the West to treat bacterial and viral infections. “Ethnic medicine has abundant resources in diabetes treatment and has excellent development prospects, which is worthy of further exploration and modern research,” conclude the authors.

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