Gymnema sylvestre is a plant of the Apocynaceae family, well known in Ayurvedic medicine for its medicinal purposes. The plant is a perennial woody vine native to the tropical regions of India, Africa, and Australia.
Gymnema is a climbing plant with elongated oval leaves with soft hairs on the upper surface. The plant has small yellow flowers that grow throughout the year.
In Hindi, G. sylvestre is called gurmar , which translates to destroyer of sugar. This is due to the fact that Gymnema sylvestre leaves contain gymnemic acids, which are the main biologically active ingredients that suppress the taste of sugar by interacting with the taste buds of the tongue .
This suppression of the taste of sugar is temporary and has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes , especially in Ayurvedic practice.
Another reason G. sylvestre is considered a sugar breaker is because it is believed to interfere with the absorption of sugar in the body, which is why the plant has appeared in many studies evaluating its effectiveness in treating sugar loss. Weight Loss and Diabetes in Western Medicine. as well as in India.
Other names for gymnema include the Australian bovine plant and the forest lock.
Gymnema sylvestre is said to reduce sugar cravings while reducing the rate at which the body absorbs sugar, potentially providing a dual action against weight gain and diabetes.
Diabetes is a common condition caused by the body's inability to use (or produce) insulin properly. Lack of insulin, or insufficient effectiveness of insulin, leads to high blood sugar levels; This is because insulin is a hormone responsible for moving glucose (blood sugar) from the blood into the cell for energy use.
Many people take insulin or other blood sugar medications that help the body regulate glucose more effectively, but natural herbal supplements like G. sylvestre can help. What does the study say?
Several important studies have been conducted on the health benefits of Gymnema sylvestre for:
- Increased blood sugar
- Maintain a healthy weight: A 2004 study of 60 moderately obese participants who received Jimnem reported 5% to 6% weight loss with less food intake .
- Improving the effectiveness of insulin.
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A 2017 study found that taking 200 to 400 milligrams (mg) of gymnemic acid (the active ingredient in G. sylvestre) reduced the absorption of glucose (sugar) in the intestines .
In a 2010 study, participants with type 2 diabetes received 500 mg of Gymnema sylvestre per day for 3 months. The results of the study included:
- Reduce symptoms of diabetes (including fatigue and thirst)
- Decrease in blood glucose (sugar) levels (including fasting blood sugar and after meals, after meals).
- Decreased glycated hemoglobin (a form of hemoglobin associated with glucose)
- Increased levels of lipids (fats)
"These data show a positive effect of GS [Gymnema sylvestre] in the treatment of diabetes," the study authors said.
A 2004 study of moderately obese people found that gymnema extract lowered bad cholesterol (LDL) levels by more than 20% and raised good cholesterol (HDL) levels by 22% .
A 2017 study found that people who were given pills containing gymnemic acid ate 44% less candy than those given a placebo. Study author Eric Stice, Ph.D., explained: 'We found that the participants who took a placebo, not a candy. The affected lollipops were 430% more likely to eat candy immediately afterward. "
Health promoting properties
General health benefits of G. sylvestre are said to include:
- Promote digestive health
- Decrease in fats and triglycerides.
- Reduce inflammation
- Increased urine output (diuretic)
- Reduction of sugar cravings.
These properties have not been conclusively confirmed by medical research, although some preliminary studies look promising. More research is needed before G. sylvestre can be used as a safe and effective treatment for high cholesterol, digestive health, inflammation, fluid retention, and more.
More clinical studies are needed to show the effectiveness of Gymnema sylvestre to treat:
- Obesity (weight loss)
- Upset stomach (and other digestive disorders)
- Constipation (as a stool softener)
- Snake bites
- Metabolic syndrome
- Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
People with diabetes should never stop taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic (blood sugar) medications without permission from their doctor or other healthcare provider.
Anyone, including people with diabetes, should consult their doctor before taking Gymnema sylvestre for any condition, including weight loss and appetite suppression.
How does it work
Gymnema sylvestre is believed to increase the amount of insulin in the body, possibly by enhancing the growth of pancreatic cells (this is where insulin is produced). Gymnema sylvestre is believed to reduce the amount of sugar absorbed from the intestines (where food is digested and nutrients are absorbed) .
The tannins and saponins in Gymnema sylvestre are phytochemicals (active compounds in plants) that are said to have anti-inflammatory properties that help fight inflammation in the body.
The active substance in the gymnema plant is a group of acids called gymnemic acid. Research has shown a possible link between dimemic acid, obesity, and diabetes .
Possible side effects.
Common side effects
Some of the side effects can occur as a direct result of low blood sugar levels in Jimnema, these include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Although Gymnema sylvestre is generally considered safe for most people, There are some situations (called contraindications) in which herbal supplements should not be taken, including:
- During pregnancy
- In children and babies
- For people with diabetes (unless approved by a healthcare professional)
- When breastfeeding
- By taking other medicines that lower blood sugar levels (unless under the supervision of a doctor).
- Before surgery (Gymnema sylvestre can lower blood sugar levels, which can interfere with blood sugar control during surgery; stop using Gymnema sylvestre at least two weeks before a scheduled surgical procedure)
Special precautions and warnings
There are not enough clinical studies to support the safe use of Gymnema sylvestre during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or in children or infants. Another precaution is related to allergy to euphorbia. Those who are allergic to euphorbia may also have a reaction to Jimnem.
Gymnema sylvestre should not be taken with certain medications or other supplements, including insulin and antidiabetic medications.
Insulin may enhance the effect of Gymnema sylvestre in lowering blood sugar (those who take insulin should consult their healthcare professional before taking Gymnema, the insulin dose may need to be changed).
Medications for which this can occur include Amaryl (Glimepiride), Insulin, Diabines (Chlorpropamide), Glucotrol (Glipizide), Urinase (Tolbutamide), Diabetes, PresTab Glinase, Micronase (Glyburide), and others.
Always monitor your blood sugar levels closely. People taking antidiabetic medications should only take Gymnema sylvestre under the direction and supervision of a healthcare professional or healthcare provider.
Dosage and preparation
As with other herbal supplements, the correct dosage of Gymnema sylvestre depends on many different factors. These include age, general health, the condition being treated, and more.
Although many studies have been conducted, the exact, safe, and effective dosage of Gymnema sylvestre has not yet been established. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions and the package insert for all herbal supplements, including Gymnema sylvestre.
Traditionally, Gymnema sylvestre has been used to make tea or chew the leaves of the plant. It is also available as a leaf extract or as a powder. The tea is commonly used to control appetite and specifically to treat obesity.
Additional tablets and capsules have been manufactured (especially for use in Western medicine). This allows for more precise dose control, which is very important, especially in clinical trials.
Gymnema sylvestre is considered Possibly Safe when taken in recommended doses, such as 200 to 400 milligrams (mg) per day. However, high doses can be toxic and there is a report of toxic hepatitis in a patient with diabetes .
Commonly used dosages include:
- For tea : Boil the leaves of the Gymnema sylvestre plant for 5 minutes, then soak them in boiling water for 15 minutes before drinking the tea.
- Powder : Start with 2 grams and gradually increase to 4 grams of powder as tolerated.
- Capsules : take 100 mg three to four times a day.
- For sugar blocking : Take Gymnema sylvestre supplement 5-10 minutes before a high sugar meal.
What to look for
While Gymnema sylvestre is considered safe when taken in the proper doses, it is important to remember that herbal supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that a person must be very careful when choosing a herbal product to ensure that it is pure and that the dosage is safe.
Some nutritionists recommend using the extract form of Gymnema sylvestre instead of the raw powder form because they say that the raw powder cannot have any glucose-lowering effect.
Look for an extract that is standardized and contains at least 25% gymnemic acid.
How long does it take for Gymnema sylvestre to get rid of sugar cravings?
One of the most impressive benefits of G. sylvestre is that it works very quickly. In fact, studies have shown that from the moment you initially take an herbal supplement, it only takes 30 seconds for it to take effect .
How long does the sugar blocking effect of Gymnema sylvestre last?
Gymnea's sugar blocking effect is inconsistent, estimated to last up to an hour after taking the herbal supplement.
Does Gymnema sylvestre tea taste good?
Gymnema is said to have a slightly bitter taste (similar to moringa tea). This is common in many herbal teas.
However, it has also been described to have an intense earthy flavor, and some tea drinkers say it tastes good, so it depends on the individual's taste. Adding honey or other natural sweeteners will help improve the taste of those who find it bitter.
Get the word of drug information
While early research shows promising efficacy for Gymnema sylvestre in lowering blood sugar and promoting weight loss, more research is needed to conclusively demonstrate its safety and effectiveness, especially for diabetes.
This can include double-blind placebo studies with large numbers of participants over a long period of time (sometimes called longitudinal studies). Medical research must show that the drug is safe and effective on an ongoing basis, and not just for a small sample of people in a short time.
Insufficient medical research data does not mean that Gymnema sylvestre is unsafe or that it will not help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings. But caution should be exercised and a professional physician should be consulted before taking Gymnema sylvestre or any other herbal medications.