Alternative therapies for type 2 diabetes

Altern Med Rev. 2002 Feb;7(1):45-58.


Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that has a significant impact on the health, quality of life, and life expectancy of patients, as well as on the health care system. Exercise, diet, and weight control continue to be essential and effective means of improving glucose homeostasis. However, lifestyle management measures may be insufficient or patient compliance difficult, rendering conventional drug therapies (i.e., oral glucose-lowering agents and insulin injection) necessary in many patients. In addition to adverse effects, drug treatments are not always satisfactory in maintaining euglycemia and avoiding late stage diabetic complications. As an alternative approach, medicinal herbs with antihyperglycemic activities are increasingly sought by diabetic patients and health care professionals. Commonly used herbs and other alternative therapies, less likely to have the side effects of conventional approaches for type 2 diabetes, are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Phytotherapy / methods*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents