The Efficacy and Safety of Astragalus as an Adjuvant Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Integr Complement Med. 2024 Jan;30(1):11-24. doi: 10.1089/jicm.2022.0767. Epub 2023 Jul 11.


Objective: This meta-analysis evaluated the beneficial and potential adverse effects of Astragalus in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Methods: The authors searched for randomized controlled trials of Astragalus treatment for patients with T2DM in the following databases: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database (CNKI), Wanfang Data, China Science and Technology Journal Database (CQVIP), and SinoMed. Two reviewers conducted independent selection of studies, data extraction, and coding, as well as the assessment of risk of bias in the studies included. Standard meta-analysis and, if appropriate, meta-regression were performed using the STATA, v.15.1, software. Results: This meta-analysis encompasses 20 studies and a total of 953 participants. Compared to the control group (CG), the observation group (OG) decreased fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (WMD = -0.67, 95% CI: -1.13∼-0.20, P = 0.005), 2 hours postprandial plasma glucose (2hPG) (WMD = -0.67 (95% CI: -1.13∼-0.20, P=0.005), glycated hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) (WMD = -0.93, 95% CI: -1.22∼-0.64, P = 0.000), homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (WMD = -0.45, 95% CI: -0.99∼0.99, P = 0.104), insulin sensitive index (WMD = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.13-0.72, P = 0.004). The total effective ratio of the OG is more effective than CG (RR = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.26-1.40, P = 0.000), the significant effective ratio (RR = 1.69, 95% CI: 1.48-1.93, P = 0.000). Conclusions: Astragalus may provide specific benefits for T2DM patients as an adjuvant treatment. Nonetheless, the certainty of the evidence and risk of bias fell short of optimal performance, indicating the need for additional clinical research to ascertain potential effects. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER CRD42022338491.

Keywords: astragalus; meta-analysis; traditional Chinese medicine; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Humans
  • Insulin
  • Insulin Resistance


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Insulin