Traditional Chinese medicine can help improve the effectiveness of conventional diabetes drugs, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS One.
Researchers from The University of Queensland and Peking University conducted a clinical trial of 800 adults with type 2 diabetes, comparing the anti-diabetic drug Glibenclamide as a stand-alone therapy with Glibenclamide as a combination treatment alongside traditional Chinese medicine.
They found that Glibenclamide, which is part of the sulfonylureas class of diabetes medication, was considerably more effective in controlling blood glucose when used together with the herbal medicine, with patients more than a third less likely to experience hypoglycemia compared to those treated with Glibenclamide only.
They were also less likely to experience other symptoms of type 2 diabetes, including fatigue and increased appetite .
Dr Sanjoy Paul, of The University of Queensland, said: “Traditional Chinese medicine has long been used to treat diabetes in China and around the world but until now there has been a lack of evidence regarding its safety and efficacy. This absence of scientific understanding has caused scepticism and criticism about traditional Chinese medicine.”
He added: “A vast majority of people in developing countries depend on herbal medicine for basic health care . The findings of this study may improve the safe delivery of effective health care to people who may otherwise be unable to access treatment.”
The international study is thought to be the largest to evaluate the safety and efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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