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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 747982, 14 pages
Review Article

Ancient Records and Modern Research on the Mechanisms of Chinese Herbal Medicines in the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus

1Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, No. 1277 Jiefang Street, Wuhan, Hubei 430022, China
2Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Hubei University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 1 Tanhualin Street, Wuhan, Hubei 430060, China

Received 15 March 2014; Accepted 25 June 2014

Academic Editor: Srinivas Nammi

Copyright © 2015 Hai-ming Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Over the past decades, Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) have been extensively and intensively studied through from both clinical and experimental perspectives and CHM have been proved to be effective in the treatment of diabetes mellitus (DM). This study, by searching ancient records and modern research papers, reviewed CHM in terms of their clinical application and principal mechanism in the treatment of DM. We summarized the use of CHM mentioned in 54 famous ancient materia medica monographs and searched papers on the hypoglycemic effect of several representative CHM. Main mechanisms and limitations of CHM and further research direction for DM were discussed. On the basis of the study, we were led to conclude that TCM, as a main form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), was well recorded in ancient literatures and has less adverse effects as shown by modern studies. The mechanisms of CHM treatment of DM are complex, multilink, and multitarget, so we should find main hypoglycemic mechanism through doing research on CHM monomer active constituents. Many CHM monomer constituents possess noteworthy hypoglycemic effects. Therefore, developing a novel natural product for DM and its complications is of much significance. It is strongly significant to pay close attention to CHM for treatment of DM and its complications.