Type 2 Diabetes as an inflammatory disease. A TCM perspective…



Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a metabolic disease caused by cell surface not sensitive to insulin. Therefore after we eat , our body can’t convert sugar in the blood into energy for our cells to use.

Type 2 diabetes was studied widely in medical society. More and more researches support the pathology of  T2DM to systemic inflammation. Obesity is the #1 cause leading T2DM.  When a person starts gaining weight , the composition of cells also changed.  Obesity leads to an increase of B lymphocytes, mast cell, M1 macrophage , CD8+ and pro-inflammatory chemokines and TNF-.α which shift from anti-inflammatory state to pro-inflammatory state.[1.]

Through out the history of TCM, diabetes was documented as “Xiao-Ke”, meaning thirst and wasting disease.The name describes a more advanced state of diabetes with extreme wasting and extreme thirsts which includes polydipsia, polyphagia, polyuria.

So how does TCM define diabetes? TCM views the body energy with 2 relative force, Yin and Yang. “Xiao-ke” or diabetes is seen as deficiency of yin leading to the rising of yang. Imagine the sun kept blazing and the water was vaporized faster than normal.

As far as TCM treatment for T2DM goes, single herbs or a combination of Chinese herbs (Fang Ji) were being studied. One of the study shows berberine , a component found in a Chinese herbs, Huang Lian  (Rhozoma Coptidis) , can be a potent hypoglycemic agent.[2]

There are also study showing that some TCM formulas can be a potential supplemental treatment for T2DM. [3.] The benefits of Chinese herbs in the use of T2DM treatment can be a safe supplemental therapy with few side effects.

In the epidemic of diabetes , finding an supportive treatment option can be beneficial for our health care system.

1.Esser, Nathalie, et al. “Inflammation as a link between obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes research and clinical practice 105.2 (2014): 141-150.

2. Yin, Jun, Huili Xing, and Jianping Ye. “Efficacy of berberine in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Metabolism 57.5 (2008): 712-717.

3. Yeh, Gloria Y., et al. “Systematic review of herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes.” Diabetes care 26.4 (2003): 1277-1294.



Posted in TCM

2 thoughts on “Type 2 Diabetes as an inflammatory disease. A TCM perspective…

    1. Cissy, thank you for your comment.
      Why don’t you call our office at 720-651-8088 for a complimentary 10 minutes consultation and see if we can be a good fit for you.

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