TCM formula combined with metformin has greater hyperglycaemic impact: Study

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

GQD could become an alternative option for patients who do not respond to metformin. ©iStock
GQD could become an alternative option for patients who do not respond to metformin. ©iStock

Related tags Diabetes mellitus

The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Gegen Qinlian, when combined with metformin, synergistically enhances glycaemic control in type 2 diabetic patients, according to a new review.

Gegen Qinlian​ (GQD) is a TCM well-known for treating symptoms of infectious diseases, such as chills, diarrhoea and infection.

It is a water extract of the herbs lobed kudzuvine root, ​baical skullcap root, radix and liquorice root.

Researchers undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess GQD’s potential for normalising hyperglycaemia in diabetes patients by pooling all available RCTs.

Five relevant RCTs involving 499 patients were included in the review.

These results suggested that a combination of GQD and metformin is better for improving hyperglycaemia than metformin alone.

The researchers wrote: “This meta-analysis revealed that the Chinese medicinal formula, GQD, is a highly effective adjunct to metformin as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. In each study, the combination of metformin and GQD provided substantial benefit beyond that of metformin alone. However, only a few studies have examined the mechanism by which GQD and metformin synergistically lower serum glucose levels.”

More effective

They added that GQD could become an alternative option for patients who do not respond to metformin, pointing to some recent studies that had reported that herbal prescriptions can be more effective than medication.

“Metformin and herbal extract combinations have also been reported to exert synergistic hypoglycaemic effects by increasing AMPK and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gene expression in vitro,”​ they added.

However, the researchers cautioned that all the trials had been conducted on Chinese patients, and that more thorough studies were needed.

“The present study pooled five RCTs using meta-analysis and found convincing evidence that GQD is a safe and effective intervention for type 2 diabetes, at least when used in combination with metformin. However, better controlled and larger studies are needed to confirm the therapeutic efficacy of GQD for hyperglycaemia since each RCT had some risk of bias,”​ they concluded.

Source: Complimentary Therapies in Medicine

Volume 33​, August 2017, Pages 6-13

“Efficacy and safety of Gegen Qinlian decoction for normalizing hyperglycemia in diabetic patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials”

Author: Jin Ah Ryuk, et al.

Related news

Follow us


View more


Nutra Champions Podcast

Nutra Champions Podcast