Chinese Medicine Treatment for Diabetes

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, diabetes is known as Xiao Ke, which is caused by yin deficiency, dryness and heat in internal organs. In most cases, affected organs are lungs, stomach and kidneys. In TCM theory, common symptoms of Xiao Ke include frequent urination, thirst, hunger, weight loss and urine with sugar in it.

These symptoms are similar to the typical symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Hence, Xiao Ke is known as the Chinese medicine terminology for diabetes. Diabetes is difficult to treat and there are many possible causes for diabetes. The following are three common causes of diabetes that can be treated effectively by Chinese medicine.

Chinese Herbs for Diabetes

1) Diabetes due to lung heat

The lungs play an important role in transporting and distributing fluids throughout the body. Heat in lungs can cause body fluids to flow straight down without being distributed to the rest of the body. This can result in frequency in urination, thirst and excessive drinking, which are all symptoms of diabetes. TCM practitioners often prescribe Yu Quan Wan, an herbal formula to clear lung heat. It is used to treat excessive thirst and frequency in urination due to diabetes. It contains herbs include Tian Hua Fen, Ge Gen, Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Fu Ling, Shu Di Huang and more.

2) Diabetes due to stomach fire

The stomach is responsible to process food and drink. Intense eat in stomach can cause stomach fire which can damage stomach function. As a result, the metabolic rate rises and triggers hunger. Hunger is also a common symptom of diabetes. TCM practitioners often prescribe Qing Wei San, an herbal formula to clear stomach heat. It contains herbs include Huang Lian, Dang Gui, Mu Dan Pi, Shu Di Huang and Sheng Ma.

3) Diabetes due to kidney yin deficiency

Kidney yin deficiency can create dryness and heat in the kidneys. Excessive dryness and heat can lead to kidney dysfunction which include unable to separate turbid water which will be turned into urine, and clean water which will be reused by the body. The result is an excessive amount of urine, urinary frequency and the production of urine with traces of sugar, which are all symptoms of diabetes. TCM practitioners often prescribe Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, an herbal formula to nourish the energy of the kidneys. It is a commonly used Chinese herbal formula to treat diabetes. It contains herbs include Shu Di Huang, Shan Zhu Yu, Shan Yao, Ze Xie, Mu Dan Pi and Fu Ling.

TCM practitioners often offer acupuncture treatment combined with herbal formula and diet suggestion to treat diabetes. Bitter Melon is often recommended. It can be used to reduce blood glucose in Chinese medicine. Many people with diabetes in China have bitter melon in their meal plans. Stir-fry bitter melon is a common dish you can order from Chinese restaurant. Or, you can have bitter melon tea.

Acupuncture Treatment for Diabetes

Acupuncture is commonly used to treat diabetes in China. Acupuncture points used to treat diabetes are all over the body and on several meridians. Studies indicate that acupuncture could help regulate pancreas function and insulin levels. According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture has shown therapeutic effect on type 2 diabetes, but for which further proof is needed (1).

TCM practitioners also believe that the hormone reaction triggered by acupuncture can help balance the parts of the body that cannot regulate sugar levels on their own. Although Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help to treat diabetes, they must be used carefully and after consultation. They should be used to complement conventional medical treatment, and not on their own.

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