Edible plants from traditional Chinese medicine is a promising alternative for the management of diabetic nephropathy

Jing Yi Liu, Xiao Xin Chen, Sydney Chi Wai Tang*, Li Xing Lao, Stephen Cho Wing Sze, Kai Fai Lee, Kalin Yan Bo Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a serious microvascular complication in diabetes mellitus patients and 30–45% of DN patients progresses to end-stage renal disease, imposing a heavy burden on the society. Unfortunately, the pathogenesis of DN remains unclear, and effective and safe therapies are in great demand. Rather than conventional medicines that concentrate on delaying renal failure by controlling blood sugar and/or ameliorating microalbuminuria, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) emphasize on the patients' whole inner system and devote to repair the kidney with consideration of overall health. Since many TCM herbs are edible, edible plants from TCM as diet therapy would be a promising alternative for DN management. To date, remarkable progresses have been made on the therapeutic effects of TCM edible plants for DN. In this review, the pathogenesis and experimental models of DN are firstly discussed. Thereafter, the structures of active components from TCM edible plants are summarized followed by discussion of recent research on TCM edible plants as functional food for diet therapy. Additionally, the necessity for safety evaluation of TCM edible plants for DN treatment is addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-22
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

User-Defined Keywords

  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Edible plants
  • Active components
  • Diet therapy


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