Aim of study: Nowadays diabetic nephropathy (DN) has become a serious problem. Astragalus membranaceus is a traditional herb used for thousands of years in China and East Asia for kidney disease. In modern medicine, Astragalus shows significant renal protective effect in DN. We aimed to systematically review the randomized and semi-randomized control trials to ascertain its role in the treatment of DN.
Materials and methods: PUBMED, MEDLINE, Chinese journal full-test database (CJFD), Chinese biological and medical database were searched by computer and manual searching. Two assessors independently reviewed each trial. 25 studies comprising 21 RCTs and 4 CCTs were involved including 1804 patients (945 in treatment group and 859 in control group).
Results and conclusions: Astragalus injection had more therapeutic effect in DN patients including renal protective effect (BUN, SCr, CCr and urine protein) and systemic state improvement (serum albumin level) compared with the control group.
Ethnopharmacological relevance: This study investigates the effect of Astragalus in DN patients. It suggests that although of unknown bioactive ingredients and mechanism of renal protection, the role of Astragalus in the treatment of DN can be disclosed and of profound significance.
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