How can TCM help with Type 1 Diabetes?

Doctor's Answer

Type 1 diabetes patients produce little or no insulin, therefore causing their blood glucose level to be poorly regulated [1].

Clinically, patients may experience symptoms like [2]:

  • excessive thirstiness,
  • frequent urination,
  • extreme hunger,
  • fatigue,
  • unintended weight loss
  • etc.

In TCM, these symptoms are often related to a condition called “xiao ke” (消渴) which means wasting and thirstiness [3]. “Xiao ke” is often related to the imbalance of the lungs, stomach and kidney [4]. Herbal medicines may be prescribed to restore the balance of these organs and relieve the symptoms of patients’ experience.

However, the primary treatment for type 1 diabetes would still be insulin injection to regulate blood glucose level [5]. Diabetic patients can combine treatment from both TCM and western medicine to manage their blood glucose level [6].


1. Type 1 Diabetes. Published 2019. Accessed December 19, 2019.

2. Diabetes symptoms. Published October 12, 2019. Accessed December 19, 2019.

3. Zhang L, Li Y, Guo X, et al. Text Mining of the Classical Medical Literature for Medicines That Show Potential in Diabetic Nephropathy. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;2014:1-12. doi:10.1155/2014/189125

4. Rozario E. MD PATHOLOGY. Published 2019. Accessed December 19, 2019.

5. Savitha Subramanian, Baidal D, Skyler JS, Hirsch IB. The Management of Type 1 Diabetes. Published November 16, 2016. Accessed December 19, 2019.

6. Lee A-L, Chen B-C, Mou C-H, Sun M-F, Yen H-R. Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapy and the Risk of Vascular Complications in Patients With Type II Diabetes Mellitus. Medicine. 2016;95(3):e2536. doi:10.1097/md.0000000000002536

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