(NaturalNews) Many traditional Chinese herbal medicines can be effective in the prevention of diabetes, a study conducted by researchers from the University of Western Sydney, Australia, and published in the journal Cochrane Library has confirmed.
"There are a lot of herbal medicine products on the shelves, but few have been subjected to a rigorous trial," lead researcher Suzanne J. Grant said.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 16 previously published studies conducted on a total of 1,391 adults who suffered from either impaired glucose tolerance or fasting glucose, both of which lead to the mildly elevated blood sugar levels known as pre-diabetes and raise the risk of full-blown diabetes. In most of the studies, participants were assigned to control their blood sugar with either a combination of traditional Chinese herbal remedies and lifestyle changes or with lifestyle changes alone. A total of 15 different herbal mixes were tested, including Jiangtang Bushen, Xiaoke huaya and Tang Kang yin.
Most of the studies examined did not specify which "lifestyle changes" were made.
The researchers found that participants who took Chinese herbs were twice as likely to achieve normal blood sugar levels as those who used lifestyle changes alone, and two-thirds less likely to develop diabetes over the course of a given study. The average length of the studies examined was nine months.
None of the studies found any serious side effects to traditional Chinese formulations, although Grant noted that negative effects are possible with any herb.
Grant advised that anyone seeking to use traditional Chinese herbs take them under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. Traditionally, Chinese health practitioners have prescribed herbs based on the health history of a given patient, she noted. Therefore, it is not possible to recommend a collection of herbs that can be expected work for all people with a given condition.