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In Asian countries, herbal medicines have been used to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) as an adjunctive therapy. This review aims to assess the effectiveness and safety of herbal medicines for the treatment of DPN. A literature search was conducted on PubMed, Embase, CENTRAL, Scopus, CINAHL, CNKI, DBPIA, and OASIS for randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effects of herbal medicines on DPN. The oral methylcobalamin administered group was selected as the control. The primary outcome measure was nerve conduction velocity (NCV), and the secondary outcome measure was the total efficacy rate (TER). The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. A meta-analysis was conducted using Review Manager 5.4.1 software. Seventy-two RCTs with a total of 6260 patients were included. The meta-analysis showed that herbal medicine and co-administration of herbal medicine and methylcobalamin (CHM) treatment for DPN significantly increased the sensory nerve conduction velocity (SNCV) and motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) of the median and common peroneal nerves than methylcobalamin treatment alone. Herbal medicine and CHM treatment for DPN also significantly improved the TER compared to the control group. Herbal medicine and CHM treatment was found to be relatively safe. Our study suggests that herbal medicine and CHM might be more effective than methylcobalamin alone in the management of DPN. Further rigorous studies should be conducted to make more definite conclusions. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Chang-Woo Lee, Joon-Soo Jin, Seungwon Kwon, Chul Jin, Seung-Yeon Cho, Seong-Uk Park, Woo-Sang Jung, Sang-Kwan Moon, Jung-Mi Park, Chang-Nam Ko, Ki-Ho Cho. Are herbal medicines alone or in combination for diabetic peripheral neuropathy more effective than methylcobalamin alone? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary therapies in clinical practice. 2022 Nov;49:101657

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PMID: 36007447

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