Chinese Medicine for Diabetes SufferersProfessor Yumin Zhang April 1, 2011
The invention of insulin has had a profound and destiny-changing impact on people with IDDM (Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus, also known as Type 1 diabetes). Proper use of insulin can significantly prolong life expectancy for patients with IDDM. However, insulin use does not guarantee that the patient will avoid diabetes complications.
Today, even with modern developments in science that have improved the administration and absorption of insulin, as well as management of the disease, living with IDDM is very difficult for patients and their families. To date, Western Medicine does not fully understand IDDM, because its causes are multi-faceted and extremely complex.
Modern medicine believes that diabetes can’t be cured, because it does not fully understand its causes. Aside from administering insulin injections for life, the world has no cure for Type 1 diabetes.
Modern medicine thinks that Type 1 diabetes develops in stages, beginning with a genetic predisposition, causing an autoimmune stage, followed by a breakdown of the immune system, then a progressive deterioration of insulin cell function, and finally, the diabetes stage. In fact, no matter the type of diabetes, it is caused by an imbalanced metabolism and the loss or partial loss of function in various organs. It is a disease that has many causes and involves many organs and systems.
EASTERN MEDICINE APPROACH
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers an alternative explanation and treatment for most diabetic patients. Traditional Chinese remedies can be used, in tandem with insulin, to treat the pancreas and other damaged internal organ functions gradually, control blood sugar, and reduce insulin dosage over time. This treatment aims to slowly reduce insulin intake while recovering the pancreatic functions until eventually insulin usage can be stopped completely.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is of the view that hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) is only a symptom. Sugar in the body comes from the essence of ingested water and grain. Dysfunction of the five internal organs causes an imbalance in its distribution, spilling it into the blood, resulting in high blood sugar. TCM takes a holistic approach to health problems, emphasizing the treatment of the whole body and balancing the entire state of its being. Based on many years of clinical experience, I have developed an effective approach to treat diabetes, and have achieved satisfactory clinical results (including Type 1 diabetes).
In general, diabetes patients, especially children and teenagers, are genetically weak. Their five internal organs are delicate and their body’s Qi (life force) is insufficient. They are not strong enough to resist the invasion of external pathogens (disease-producing agents). When pathogenic factors infiltrate the lung, creating a heat rash, this eventually leads to a progressive impact on the spleen, the pancreas, the kidney, the liver, and other organs, causing a series of pathological changes.
This is in line with the view held by Western Medicine that “the main reason for virus-induced Type 1 diabetes is that it selectively acts on susceptible objects and induces an autoimmune disease.”
In my practice, I use various Chinese herbal formulas to treat diabetic patients.
One prescription herbal formula includes Chinese mai men dong / ophipogonon, Jie Geng / Platycodon, and Wu WeiZi/Schisandra. This works to bring the Qi up into the lung, making it stronger and using the pulmonary energy to feed the entire body. The resulting increased abundance of Qi in the lung can promote the oxidation and utilization of sugar.
Another prescription formula that includes, but is not limited to Diascoria/ Shan Yao, HuangQi/Astragalus, Fu Ling/ Poria, and Cang Zhu/Atractylodes, helps the body’s Qi nourish the spleen and pancreas. With adequate blood supply and vigorous circulation, beta cells can be repaired and pancreatic function restored. Research studies have shown that this prescription formula can lower blood sugar in various degrees, and Huang Qi can inhibit gluconeogenesis (abnormal glucose formation).
The function of Chinese Yam and Gou Qi Zi/Lycium in the prescription formula is to strengthen the kidney and nourish the liver. Since the kidney controls the fluid in the entire body, it is the master organ for fluid metabolism. Also, the kidney plays a leading role in the cause and development of diabetes. Modern medicine believes that the state of the spleen and kidney has a direct effect on metabolic and immune functions.
Recent studies have shown that Chinese Yam, formulated with various other Chinese herbs, can fight against rising blood sugar caused by the adrenal gland.
The prescription formula of Dan Shen / Salvia, San Leng/S.fluviatilis, E Zhu/ Curcuma, and Cang Zhu/Atracylodes relieves blood stasis (stagnation), promotes circulation, cleanses the pancreas and the surrounding congestion, and clears the channels of nutrient transport. This contributes tremendously to the nourishment of the pancreas and cell repair.
In diabetic pathology, metabolic disorders cause a deposit of pathogens that block the body’s flow of Qi. This results in poor Qi and blood flow, causing an obstruction in the back ribs. As a result, the pancreas and other organs lose nutrition and the disease worsens, leading to other related diseases and complications. (Western medicine has confirmed that in a Type 1 diabetic pancreas, there is a lot of blood stasis (stagnation).)
So, it is critical to clear the congestion. Therefore, the combined use of the above herbs can effectively regulate organ function, strengthen the metabolic system of the whole body, and enable the repair of the beta cell, pancreas, and other organs.
Diabetes is a problem of energy conversion. What Western Medicine calls “metabolic syndrome” is in fact the problem of food breakdown and conversion. Transportation of body fluid is also a factor. This conversion process is not only related to the pancreas, but also involves the upper, middle, and lower jiao (The Three Warmers) and all of the internal organs, especially major organs like the lung, kidney, spleen, and pancreas.
The Lingshu Jing (earliest extant writings of Chinese Medicine theory) states that when all three jiaos are compromised, disease will result.
Based on the above principles, my approach to treatment of diabetes includes comprehensive control and reconditioning of the lung, the spleen, and the kidney, promoting blood circulation and releasing blood stasis. So far, many patients have regained their health and have no further need for medication or insulin injections, including Type 1 patients. Glucose tolerance tests were performed in eight cases and it was found that their pancreatic function was completely restored.
As for the other Type 1 diabetes patients with a history of more than two years of insulin injections, their injection frequency was gradually reduced to various degrees, and their diabetes-related diseases were brought under control. This type of patient, making up 30% of diabetic patients treated in our centre, requires a longer period of treatment and further study.
The strength of Chinese medicine lies in the balancing of body systems and overall conditioning. Diabetes is caused by a deterioration of the functions of the entire body. My clinical results prove that diabetes patients can regain their health. One should not overlook the importance of a proper diet, nutritional supplemention, and at least 40 minutes or more of brisk walking or other exercise each day.
At GreenPath Diabetes Centre, more than 1,000 patients have experienced the healing benefits of a unique Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment that relieved them of dependency on insulin or other chemical-based diabetic medications, leaving them completely free of diabetes. Green Path Diabetes Centre, originally named Eastern Health Restoration Centre, was established in 1996 by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, Dr. Zhang. As a registered Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic in Ontario, high quality services are provided by professional TCM practitioners. For more information, call (905) 752-1980.