Traditional Chinese Medicine 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.
Chinese Herbs for Diabetes
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 use Yu Quan Wan, an herbal formula to clear lung heat. It is used for 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.
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 use 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.
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 use Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, an herbal formula to nourish the energy of the kidneys. It is a commonly used Chinese herbal formula for 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 combined with herbal formula and diet suggestion for 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 for Diabetes
Acupuncture is commonly used for diabetes in China. Acupuncture points for 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 with diabetes, they must be used carefully and after consultation.