Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

My 13 year old son was diagnosed a month ago with Type 1 diabetes. My question is regarding research into alternative therapies. I have seen many questions on this and the general response is that no data is available on the effects of herbs, etc. in treating diabetes. What, if any, studies are being conducted into the use of alternative therapies? Thank you for any information you might have.


In Type 1 Diabetes there is, in nearly every case, a complete loss of the ability to produce insulin within a few months of the onset of clinical symptoms. The remedy is to provide exogenous insulin and these days the semisynthetic human insulins are essentially identical with the natural product, the difficulty is to balance the insulin dose, the carbohydrate intake and exercise so as to approximate normal blood sugar levels.

For much of the world, however, the cost of insulin puts it beyond the reach of diabetics, and herbal medicines and diet restriction are the only treatments. In Asia there are Indian (ayurvedic), Japanese (gosha-jinki-gan) and Chinese herbal remedies. Some of the Japanese remedies have been studied for diabetic neuropathy in animals and found to be of some benefit. In the U.S. curanderos in the Hispanic community will offer herbal supplements, but are careful to suggest conventional care as well. The same is true of acupuncture. Because there is no "alternative" treatment approved by the F.D.A., there have been essentially no funds available for research and in parts of the world where there is no money for insulin there is understandably none for research either.

It would be a grave mistake to withhold insulin; but if you are a believer in "holistic" remedies, trying both approaches at the same time may give you support; but you should discuss any plans with your diabetic care team.


Original posting 22 Sep 96


  Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Return to the Top of This Page

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.

This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Legal Notice, and Privacy Policy.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2018. Comments and Feedback.