Electro-acupuncture restores learning and memory impairment induced by both diabetes mellitus and cerebral ischemia in rats, conclude researchers from Beijing.

Previous studies have shown electro-acupuncture can improve peripheral neuropathy and diabetic encephalopathy. If you are suffering from diabetes, acupuncture is a word to remember!

Recent studies have shown maternal diabetes to be linked to infant memory problems. Currently there are no studies to show that acupuncture will reduce the risk for the infant, but considering the possible benefit and minimal side effects, obstetricians and midwifes should consider discussing acupuncture with their diabetic patients.

The study was conducted by scientists from China Academy of Chinese Medical Science in Beijing.

Image courtesy of LoreleiRanveig

Bitter melon, a delicacy, which I enjoyed so much, when I lived in China has many healing properties. It is known to lower blood sugar it is also known for its’ anti-cancer properties.

Now a team of Chinese scientists discovered that prepared in traditional way extract can increase the insulin production by 160% and has repairing effects on pancreatic ?-cells, responsible for insulin production. Good news for diabetes sufferers. But don’t necessarily expect these effects from fresh bitter melon. To have these properties the melon has to be dried and decocted (cooked) traditional way.

Traditional Chinese medicine for diabetes has scientific backing Reports of a traditional Chinese medicine having beneficial effects for people suffering from type 2 diabetes now has some scientific evidence to back up the claims.

A collaboration between Chinese, Korean, and Australian scientists at Sydney’s Garvan Institute, has revealed that the natural plant product berberine could be a valuable new treatment. Berberine is found in the roots and bark of a number of plants used for medicinal purposes including wound healing and treatment of diarrhoea.

It has also been documented in Chinese literature as having a glucose lowering effect when administered to people with diabetes; yet, until now, its mode of action was unknown.

Garvan scientist Dr Jiming Ye says: “Our studies in animal models of diabetes show that berberine acts in part by activating an enzyme in the muscle and liver that is involved in improving sensitivity of the tissue to insulin – this in turn helps lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it seems berberine can help reduce body weight”. Current medicines for treating type 2 diabetes include metformin and the TZD group of drugs.

However, a large number of patients cannot tolerate metformin and the TZDs can cause undesirable weight gain. Therefore, it is critical to develop new therapies to treat type 2 diabetes, which is a growing health problem.

“Berberine has been used for decades, if not centuries, with few reported side effects. Given the limitations of existing medicines we are excited to have evidence that berberine may be a helpful new treatment for type 2 diabetes; however, despite its widespread use in traditional medicine practices, it will still have to be evaluated properly following the defined clinical trials process”, said Professor James, head of the Garvan’s Diabetes & Obesity Research Program and co-author of the Diabetes paper.

The next step is to investigate how berberine activates the enzyme that mediates these ‘insulin-sensitising’ effects.

NOTES: This study will be published in the August issue of ‘Diabetes’. The title is: Berberine, a natural plant product, activates AMP-activated protein kinase with beneficial metabolic effects in diabetic and insulin resistant states. Yun S. Lee, Woo S. Kim,Kang H. Kim, Myung J. Yoon, Hye J. Cho, Yun Shen, Ji-Ming Ye, Chul H. Lee, Won K. Oh, Chul T. Kim, Cordula Hohnen-Behrens, Alison Gosby, Edward W. Kraegen, David E. James, and Jae B. Kim

More on Chinese Medicine (Gardenia fruit) and diabetes.

A gardenia fruit extract used in Chinese medicine for
centuries to treat diabetes is effective, scientists confirmed.

Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School found a chemical from the fruit blocks the action of an enzyme which stops the production of insulin.

Insulin is made in the pancreas, and stimulates cells to
take up as much glucose as they need for energy, thereby regulating
blood sugar levels.

But in people with diabetes, there is too little insulin, which causes blood sugar concentrations to rise.

The research was published in Cell Metabolism.

My comment:

We’ve been using gardenia for ages and never needed any confirmation it to be effective. The pharmaceuticals will obviously try to find a way to excrete and isolate the compound which inhibits UCP2 and make a huge profit selling the medicine. Nothing wrong with that.

However, any Chinese medicine herbalist will tell you that gardenia alone does not treat diabetes. We need a formula of a few herbs to achieve the best effect. When the chemicals form Chinese medicines are excreted and purified, the amount of that particular chemical has to be increased for it to be effective. This can lead to undesirable side-effects and adverse events.