Herbal Medicines for Treating Metabolic Syndrome: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Jang et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016:5936402

Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

One of the concerns of many overweight or PCOS patients is elevated insulin levels and abdominal obesity, such as is seen in metabolic syndrome.  A reduction in these is correlated with better ovary function in these patients.

This systematic review examines the effect of Chinese herbs on such parameters and concluded that they could contribute to clinical management.


Objective. The aim of this systematic review is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines in the management of metabolic syndrome. Materials and Methods. On December 9, 2015, we searched PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, SCOPUS, AMED, CNKI, KoreaMed, KMBASE, OASIS, and J-STAGE with no restriction on language or published year. We selected randomized controlled trials that involved patients with metabolic syndrome being treated with herbal medicines as intervention. The main keywords were “Chinese herbal medicines”, “metabolic syndrome”, and “randomized controlled trials”. Herbal substances which were not based on East Asian medical theory, combination therapy with western medicines, and concurrent diseases other than metabolic syndrome were excluded. The risk of bias was assessed by Cochrane’s “Risk of Bias” tool. The protocol or review was registered in PROSPERO (an international prospective register of systematic reviews) (CRD42014006842).

Results. From 1,098 articles, 12 RCTs were included in this review: five trials studied herbal medicines versus a placebo or no treatment, and seven trials studied herbal medicines versus western medicines. Herbal medicines were effective on decreasing waist circumference, blood glucose, blood lipids, and blood pressure.

Conclusion. This study suggests the possibility that herbal medicines can be complementary and alternative medicines for metabolic syndrome.

Full Text

Metabolic Syndrome AND TCM