Ayurvedic Interventions for Diabetes Mellitus

A Systematic Review

Published in: Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 41 (Prepared by Southern California/RAND Evidence-Based Practice Center, under Contract No. 290-97-0001). AHRQ Publication No. 01-E039. (Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, June 2001), 2 p

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2000

by Mary L. Hardy, Ian D. Coulter, Swamy R. Venuturupalli, Elizabeth Roth, Joya T. Favreau, Sally C. Morton, Paul G. Shekelle

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Ayurveda is a naturopathic system of health care that has been practiced in India for over 5000 years. According to Ayurvedic theory, disease is the result of an imbalance in the individual's consciousness. The practice of Ayurveda provides an integrated approach to prevention and healing through a system of lifestyle interventions and natural therapies. Ayurvedic medicine is now in use at 10 clinics in the United States. Thus, NCCAM requested a comprehensive review of the efficacy of Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of health problems and, based on the results of this review, an in-depth analysis of the use of Ayurveda to treat a condition for which the treatment modality appeared to demonstrate some efficacy. Methodology: A panel of technical experts representing diverse disciplines advised the researchers throughout the course of the study. Based on the results of an innovative waterfront review, the researchers narrowed their analysis to the use of herbal therapy for the treatment of Type II diabetes mellitus. The literature search, screening, review, and data gathering process were performed using techniques developed by the SCEPC for evidence reports. Outcomes: Heterogeneity in the study designs and in the herbal preparations used for the studies precluded drawing any firm conclusions. Evidence from the studies supported a role for single-herb preparations of Coccinia indica, Gymnema sylvestre, fenugreek, and holy basil as well as two herbal formulas (Ayush-82 and D-400) in treating diabetes. Recommendations were provided for future studies on the effects of Ayurvedic practices on glycemic control.

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