This Chinese Herb and Common Spice Lowers Blood Sugar for Type 2 Diabetes

Chinese herbs for diabetesThe rise in diabetes in the Western world is out of control.   Too many folks seem to ignore the role of diet in prevention and treatment of diabetes and yet something as simply as cinnamon consumption may be an way to improve blood glucose levels.

Cinnamon is a common spice and Chinese herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries.  Cinnamon bark and twigs are often used in Chinese herbal medicine to enhance digestive function, promote the movement of qi, disperse the cold and fortify the kidney energy and pancreas.

A recent study from Germany published in the European Journal of Clincal Investigation shows a water soluble cinnamon extract can reduce fasting blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The cinnamon  (known as the Chinese herbs Gui Zhi and Rou Gui)  results further add to a growing body of clinical evidence demonstrating supplementation with cinnamon bark and twig extract may play an important role in managing blood sugar levels and improving insulin function.

The  study  done at the University of Hannover was both placebo controlled  and double-blind, designed to determine the effect of a water-soluble cinnamon extract on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes. A total of 79 patients with type 2 diabetes not on insulin therapy but treated with oral medication or diet therapy were randomly assigned to take either a cinnamon extract or placebo capsule three times daily for four months. The cinnamon capsule contained 112 mg of water-soluble extract, an equivalent of one gram of cinnamon powder. The cinnamon extract group experienced a significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose levels (10.3%) versus the placebo group (3.4%). Changes in HbA1c and lipid profiles were not statistically significant.

“This study, together with a recent clinical trial utilizing Cinnulin PF, provides compelling evidence for the beneficial effects of a water-soluble cinnamon extract on blood sugar levels,” stated Tim Romero, executive vice president, Integrity Nutraceuticals International, marketer of Cinnulin PF. “We are excited to see in the coming months results of studies underway that further substantiate the efficacy and safety of Cinnulin PF.”


Reference: American Botanical Council


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Diabetes Research Uses Chinese Herbs Effectively

Chinese herbs for diabetesIn a recent study published in the Feb. 2011 World Journal of Gastroenterology, a combination of Chinese herbs known Yi Qi Zeng Ming Tang, (YQZMT) has been found effective for insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic rats. The Chinese herbs in the formula were found to ameliorate insulin resistance and did not cause an increase in body weight. This may make a suitable adjunct therapy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in humans.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long history in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In comparison to Western medicine, the use of traditional Chinese medicine and botanicals has less side-effects and proven efficacy. According to the Cochrane Library, an international organization that evaluates medical research, when they examined 16 clinical trials of 15 different Chinese herbal medicines, they found that the herbs generally helped lower blood sugar levels in people with “pre-diabetes” that can progress to type 2 diabetes.

Yi Qi Zeng Min Tang (YQZMT) is a traditional Chinese herbal formula whose chief herb is  Radix Astragali or Astragalus (Huang qi) and has been shown to alleviate glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.[1]

When Astragalus has been used in conjunction with other herbs, it proves more valuable for glucose homeostasis for diabetics and pre-diabeties.

The 10 Chinese herbs in the formula are: Radix Astragali, (Huang Qi)  mung bean seed,  Perillae (zi su ye) , Phellodendri (Huang Bai), Pollen Typhae (Pu Huang), Serissa foetida, Cinnamomi (gui zhi), Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata (fu pian, fu zi), Coptis (huang lian) , and Rhizoma Alismatis (ze xie).

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is dramatically increasing throughout the world. The pathogenesis of the disease involves abnormalities in glucose and lipid metabolism, including inadequate insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells and insulin resistance. The results from this study  showed the diabetic rats had reduced serum glucose levels, lower body weight and lipid levels than the control group of  rats who were not given the YQZMT formula. The results suggests this TCM herbal formula can produce marked improvement and  is a viable treatment for diabetes mellitus and its complications.

Related posts:

1.        Astragalus – The Ultimate Immune Booster

2.     Herbal Sugar Options You Should Know

3.   New Diabetes Drug From A Chinese Herb

See World Journal of Gastroenterology study here:

1. Hoo RL, Wong JY, Qiao C, Xu A, Xu H, Lam KS. The effective fraction isolated from Radix Astragali alleviates glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and hypertriglyceridemia in db/db diabetic mice through its anti-inflammatory activity. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010;7:67.[PubMed]

Cinnamon Reduces Blood Sugar for the Overweight and Diabetic

More proof on the healing power of Chinese herbs. This herb is in nearly every American household spice rack and yet most Americans have no idea of its many medical uses.  I’m talking about cinnamon. You sprinkle it on your latte and your apple pie. Now you may want to consider drinking a cup of cinnamon tea. 

This study conducted at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland concluded that cinnamon can help those who are overweight and obese improve their fasting glucose.  This is great news for the millions of Americans who are tipping the scales and have either pre-diabetes or are currently diabetic. 

The herb/spice/botanical comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for generations. It is considered GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by most Western doctors. The study used a cinnamon extract tea (cinnamon boiled in water) for12 weeks and found substantial benefits to the participants in the study who reduced  their risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (The also found benefits after just 6 weeks.)

But don’t start drinking loads of plain old cinnamon tea if you are looking for the same benefit. There are many different grades of cinnamon and preparation of the bark is central to preserving its natural antioxidant qualities.  Herbalists and Acupuncturists usually use either capsules or granule form.  This is a highly concentrated extract, cooked under a precise temperature for a precise amount of time. Often special equipment is used to capture the volatile oils of the cinnamon bark and reintroduce those oils back into the finished extract. This is essential because cinnamon is extremely aromatic and cooking the bark for too long without proper equipment will leave you with an ineffective tea.

Cinnamon has been recorded as part of Chinese herb formula combinations as far back as 200 AD.  It is in over 45 common formulations and its main purpose is usually to warm the body.  Cinnamon bark and twig may both be used, usually in very small amounts, between 3-9 grams daily. It is not uncommon to use cinnamon for the common cold, to help unblock cold mucus. Cinnamon is not recommended for those with a hot constitution in Traditional Chinese Medicine because of the herbs warming properties. 

Personally, I'm happy to see any Chinese herb get into the Western spotlight because every time a Western medical establishment focuses on a Chinese herb the knowledge gained proves what Asian cultures have been practicing for over two thousand years.  Botanicals are huge sources of natural healing compounds. 

Connect to the study here