Complementary and alternative medicines, natural and herbal supplements, and homeopathic remedies are playing an increasing role in the treatment of all kinds of chronic disease, and diabetes is no exception. Now, according to researchers in Australia, a tiny molecule within a plant root used by practitioners of Chinese Medicine could lower blood sugar levels amongst type 2 diabetics.
The molecule, called berberine, has traditionally been used to heal wounds and treat diarrhoea. The discovery is particularly useful for Australia, where 1.2 million people now suffer from diabetes. The diabetes epidemic is particularly acute in Australia, and is largely driven by lifestyle factors such as obesity, bad diet and a lack of physical activity .
The discovery was made at the Garvan Institute in Sydney by a combination of Chinese, Korean and Australian scientists. One professor, the head of Garvan’s diabetes and obesity research program, said: “This is very exciting because clearly it’s a growing problem and now we’re looking at a new weapon in our armoury in the fight against it. There’s a tremendous need for new therapies and here we are with a new one on the table .”

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