Chinese Herbal Decoction Ge-Gen-Qin-Lian: An Effective Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes


A Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbal formula that has been used for the treatment of type-2 diabetes, and which has been documented based on clinical trials, is the Ge-Gen-Qin-Lian decoction (GGQLD).

A number of recent studies from 2011 and 2015 have showed that GGQLD had good clinical effects on type-2 diabetes and the anti-diabetic activities of GGQLD in vivo and in vitro were investigated.  1  2 

GGQLD consists of four herbs:

  • Puerariae Lobatae radix (Ge-Gen) as the principle herb
  • Scutellariae radix (Huang-Qin)
  • Coptidis rhizoma (Huang-Lian)
  • Glycyrrhizae Radix et Rhizoma Praeparata cum Melle (Gan-Cao)

Each of these 4 herbs have primary bioactive compounds that are effective in treating and reducing blood glucose level.  The primary bioactive compounds from these 4 herbs and their effect include:


Puerarin from Ge-Gen reduced blood sugar in diabetic mice, and improved insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia in rats  3 


Baicalin from Huang-Qin had antihyperglycemic effects on diabetic rats  4 


Berberine from Huang-Lian lowered blood glucose significantly by increasing insulin receptor expression  5


Amorfrutins from Gan-Cao have potent antidiabetic activity  6 

Another key component of GGQLD that has been identified called 4-Hydroxymephenytoin is involved in the antidiabetic ingredients of GGQLD stimulating endogenous insulin secretion and ameliorating insulin resistance in 3T3-L1-based insulin resistance models.  7

The Table below lists the antidibetic ingredients in Ge-Gen-Qin-Lian:  (Source) 

Potential antidiabetic ingredients in Ge-Gen-Qin-Lian formula by network target analysis.
Ingredients Herbs CID Literature evidence
4-Hydroxymephenytoin Ge-Gen 119507 /
1-OCTEN-3-OL Ge-Gen 18827 [50]
Berbericinine Huang-Lian 19009 /
Berberine bisulfate Huang-Lian 12457 [51]
Columbamine Huang-Lian 72310 [52]
Coptisine Huang-Lian 72322 [53]
Epiberberine Huang-Lian 160876 [54, 55]
Jatrorrhizine Huang-Lian 72323 [55, 56]
Oxyberberine Huang-Lian 11066 [57]
Dehydrocheilanthifoline Huang-Lian 3084708 [58]
Berberine Huang-Lian 2353 [59]
Indole Huang-Qin 798 [60]
1,3-Diphenylbenzene Huang-Qin 7076 /
2-Formylpyrrole Huang-Qin 13854 /
Guaifenesin Huang-Qin 3516 [61]
1-(1H-Pyrrol-2-yl)ethanone Gan-Cao 14079 [62]
2-Acetyl-1-methylpyrrole Gan-Cao 61240 [63]
m-Ethylphenyl acetate Gan-Cao 76462 /
5,6,7,8-Tetrahydro-4-methylquinoline Gan-Cao 185667 /
/: no evidence.