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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 5936402, 17 pages
Review Article

Herbal Medicines for Treating Metabolic Syndrome: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

1Department of Korean Preventive Medicine, Graduate School, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
2Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
3Department of Healthcare Safety Research, National Evidence-Based Healthcare Collaborating Agency, Seoul 04554, Republic of Korea
4Third Division of Clinical Medicine, School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan 50612, Republic of Korea
5Department of Korean Medicine Rehabilitation, College of Korean Medicine, Gachon University, Incheon 21565, Republic of Korea

Received 19 January 2016; Accepted 11 May 2016

Academic Editor: Chris Zaslawski

Copyright © 2016 Soobin Jang 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.


Objective. The aim of this systematic review is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines in the management of metabolic syndrome. Materials and Methods. On December 9, 2015, we searched PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, SCOPUS, AMED, CNKI, KoreaMed, KMBASE, OASIS, and J-STAGE with no restriction on language or published year. We selected randomized controlled trials that involved patients with metabolic syndrome being treated with herbal medicines as intervention. The main keywords were “Chinese herbal medicines”, “metabolic syndrome”, and “randomized controlled trials”. Herbal substances which were not based on East Asian medical theory, combination therapy with western medicines, and concurrent diseases other than metabolic syndrome were excluded. The risk of bias was assessed by Cochrane’s “Risk of Bias” tool. The protocol or review was registered in PROSPERO (an international prospective register of systematic reviews) (CRD42014006842). Results. From 1,098 articles, 12 RCTs were included in this review: five trials studied herbal medicines versus a placebo or no treatment, and seven trials studied herbal medicines versus western medicines. Herbal medicines were effective on decreasing waist circumference, blood glucose, blood lipids, and blood pressure. Conclusion. This study suggests the possibility that herbal medicines can be complementary and alternative medicines for metabolic syndrome.