Umbelliferone (UMB) is a natural product that has several pharmacological effects including antihyperglycemic activity in diabetic rats. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of UMB on insulin resistance and on the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism in type 2 diabetic rats. Type 2 diabetes was induced in rats by feeding a high-fat diet (45 kcal% fat) and a single dose of streptozotocin injection. After 8 weeks of treatment, UMB significantly reduced the elevated blood glucose levels and insulin resistance and increased the liver glycogen and serum adiponectin. Moreover, the serum lipid and the storages of triglyceride and non-esterified fatty acid in liver tissue were reduced. From histological examination, the lipid droplets in liver tissue were clearly decreased, and the fat cell size in the fat tissue was smaller in diabetic rats treated with UMB. Interestingly, UMB increased fat cell adiponectin, plasma membrane glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), and liver PPARαprotein expressions. Our findings demonstrate that UMB improves glucose and lipid metabolism in type 2 diabetes by stimulating the insulin secretion and the related mechanisms via stimulating expression of adiponectin, GLUT4, PPARγ, and PPARα-protein expressions. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.