Herbal acupuncture for type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis
- Seung‑Wook Lee
- Min‑Ho Nam
- Byung‑Cheol Lee
Published online on: April 25, 2017
Copyright: © Lee et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Herbal acupuncture (HA) is a modern adjunctive technique in which natural herbs or biologic substances are injected into acupuncture points. The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate evidence of the effectiveness of HA for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Three databases were searched. The included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluated HA in controls and patients with T2DM and reported at least one of the following: Fasting blood glucose (FBG), postprandial (PP2hr) glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). In a meta‑analysis of seven RCTs (n=598 patients), HA significantly reduced levels of FBG, PP2hr glucose and HbA1c (P<0.0001, P=0.0005 and P=0.004, respectively). There was no significant effect of HA on total cholesterol, high‑density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low‑density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or triglyceride level. High degrees of heterogeneity were present for all analyses except HDL‑cholesterol and LDL‑cholesterol. HA might have a beneficial effect on FBG, PP2hr glucose and HbA1c levels in patients with T2DM; however, because of several limitations, the results are inconclusive. Therefore, additional rigorous RCTs are warranted to overcome the limitations of previous studies.