Gymnema Sylvestre - Overview, Benefits, Precaution, Dosage
What Is Gymnema Sylvestre?
Gymnema sylvestre is a perennial vine-like plant, scientifically known as Gymnema sylvestre, which belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family. It is known as "gurmur" in India. While native to central and southern parts of India, gymnema can also be found growing naturally in hilly regions at altitudes of up to 1000 m in subtropical areas such as Thailand, Indonesia, southern China, and subtropical regions of Africa. It thrives in well-drained soil within mountainous areas.
Gymnema has a history of use in the Ayurvedic medicine system. It provides several health benefits to the body. Gymnema has oval or elliptical leaves, measuring 3 to 8 cm in length and 1.5 to 4 cm in width. When you chew the leaves of this plant, you won't experience the sweetness of sugar for 1-2 minutes. This lack of sweetness is due to the presence of gymnemic acid in the leaves. Gymnemic acid brings benefits to the human body. When consumed alongside food, gymnema suppresses the absorption of sugar from the small intestine, thereby reducing the sugar levels in the blood (lowering blood sugar level). It is also believed to have the ability to suppress the secretion of insulin, which is responsible for lowering blood sugar levels. This, in turn, reduces the strain on the pancreas and aids in diabetes recovery. It is also beneficial for obesity and many other conditions.
- Latin Name: The Latin name of Gymnema is Gymnema sylvestre.
- Family Member: Gymnema belongs to the Dogbanes of the Apocynaceae family, which is a flowering plant.
- Common Names: Gurmar, Australian cow plant, chigeng teng, buti, kober, mesasrngi, podapatri, Meshashrungi.
- Habitat: Gymnema requires subtropical and tropical climates.
History of Gymnema
Since ancient times, it has been known that chewing gymnema leaves makes it hard to feel the sweetness of sugar. Gymnema was also known as "Gurmar" in Hindi, which means "sugar destroyer." In Ayurveda, India's traditional medicine, gymnema has been used to treat diabetes and as a stomachic, diuretic, and tonic herb for more than two thousand years. Hence, its existence is as old as Ayurveda, which dates back about 5000 years.
In the middle of the 19th century, gymnema began to attract the attention of researchers when a British officer stationed in India reported to his homeland about the mysterious effect of removing the sweetness of gymnema. British chemist Hooper was successful in extracting a substance from gymnema leaves that reduces sweetness and gave it the name "gymnemic acid."
Component Of Gymnema
The extract of gymnema is prepared from its leaves. The leaves are rich in medical components and used in medical benefits. Well, gymne ais traditional herb. The most important component of gymnema leaves is saponins. It is an antioxidant which works for cholesterol, immunity, skin and many more. This Saponin of gymnema leaves is called gymnemic acid, which makes it anti-sweet, that is why chewing gymnema leaves gives lost sugar taste.
The leaves contain a peptide called gurmarin, which blocks rats' sweet taste but has very little effect on humans.
Other components with biological properties are Alkaloids, terpenoids, Anthraquinones, steroids, cardiac glycosides and flavonoids—molecules that give food its appealing colours.
Benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre
Gymnema is an amazing tree. Its leaves provide several benefits to the body. Here is some of popular benefit that will convince you to use it-
Lower blood sugar levels: Gymnema is popular for this benefit as it reduces blood glucose/sugar levels in the body. A blood sugar level is a number that tells you how much glucose is in your blood. Diabetes is caused when blood sugar levels cannot be maintained at a normal level due to lifestyle factors such as obesity and lack of exercise. When diabetes worsens, it negatively affects veins and nerves throughout the body, causing complications and arteriosclerosis. To counter the sudden rise in blood sugar levels, the body secretes the required amount of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, as the meal's carbohydrates are absorbed. However, diabetes causes insulin secretion to be delayed, preventing glucose from being processed in the blood and causing sharp spikes in blood sugar levels after meals. Gymnema has the effect of preventing the rise in blood sugar and the absorption of sugar in the small intestine. It maintains a healthy sugar level and protects your health.
Prevent Obesity: Obesity is caused by irregular eating patterns like skipping breakfast and snacking late at night, as well as a rise in energy intake from high-calorie meals. Obesity is divided into two categories: visceral fat obesity, in which fat accumulates around the internal organs, and subcutaneous fat obesity, in which subcutaneous fat thickens. The term "visceral fat obesity" refers to a form of "hidden obesity" in which fat builds up in internal organs even though the body doesn't look fat at first glance. It is said that people with visceral fat obesity are more likely to get diseases caused by their lifestyle. Arteriosclerosis is caused when lipids like cholesterol enter the bloodstream as a result of obesity. Additionally, as arteriosclerosis progresses, blood flow worsens, resulting in hypertension. Blood clot formation in blood vessels is made easier by arteriosclerosis, which raises the risk of life-threatening conditions like myocardial infarction and cerebral infarction. Gymnema works by keeping excess sugar from being stored in the body as neutral fat. Gymnemic acid blocks the receptors in the small intestine that absorb sugar. By blocking the receptors, excess sugar can be flushed out of the body, which helps prevent obesity.
Gets rid of constipation: Gymnema is also good for eliminating constipation and supporting the digestive system. It is said that one bowel movement per day is ideal. Constipation, on the other hand, is more likely to occur as a result of a lack of defecation habits and a decrease in dietary fibre intake due to fast food eating. Additionally, constipation can occur when the amount of food consumed is insufficient to produce enough stool, so diet is another major cause. Skin issues and bloating are also symptoms of constipation. When gymnema suppresses the absorption of sugar, the undigested substances that are not absorbed act like dietary fiber, so it has the effect of increasing the amount of stool and improving constipation.
Prevent Tooth Decay: One of the most common lifestyle-related diseases is tooth decay caused by eating too much sugar. Not only do you experience pain and lose teeth as tooth decay progresses, but it can also lead to diseases like sepsis if left untreated for an extended period. Tooth decay occurs when an enzyme called glucansucrase derived from Streptococcus mutans bacteria in the mouth synthesizes glucan, the source of dental plaque, from sugar. Glucan is made up of food debris, etc., and forms dental plaque, where bacteria multiply in the mouth. Acid is produced by bacteria in dental plaque that dissolves calcium, phosphoric acid, and other substances from within the enamel on the tooth's surface, resulting in tooth decay. In another way, glucan's action must be stifled in order to prevent decay. Gymnema prevents tooth decay by inhibiting caries bacteria's ability to produce glucan.
Reduce Sugar Craving: Craving for sweets, chocolates, cakes, etc., is the main reason for high blood glucose levels and weight gain. They are high in calories and accumulate fat in the body. It is very important to limit or reduce your sugar craving if you are diabetic or on a weight loss journey. Sugar is the main component doctors suggest eliminating from your diet in obesity and diabetes. Gymnema is the one that helps lower blood sugar levels and reduce obesity, but it is also good for reducing your sugar craving. After all, sugar craving is the main cause of both diseases. This herb may help reduce the craving for sugars, due to a component present in it, which is gymnemic acid. This acid blocks sugar receptors in the taste buds, reducing the ability to enjoy sweet things and helping you stay away from sugar.
Lower Cholesterol Level: High cholesterol and triglyceride levels bring many serious problems to the body, with heart disease being at the top of the list. It is very important to reduce high cholesterol and harmful cholesterol to protect the heart. Gymnema is an herb that helps reduce harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. Additionally, it also helps reduce lipid levels and the chances of heart diseases. A heart patient who has high cholesterol should try gymnema supplements.
Reduce Inflammation: Inflammation is also serious sometimes. It is said that gymnema contains compounds named tannins and saponins that act as anti-inflammatory agents. Its anti-inflammatory compounds work to reduce inflammation in the body, fight infections, stimulate immunity, and protect the body from various pathogens and diseases.
Gymnema is an ayurvedic herb. It brings heavy changes to the body. Therefore, before start using gymnema in many form, it is important to know about the precaution points-
- Gymnema may lower blood sugar levels, so caution is advised when taking it alongside diabetes medications or if you have low blood sugar levels. If you are on diabetic medication either type 1 or type 2 or other, then talk to your healthcare professional first.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using gymnema due to a lack of safety information. There is no solid evidence on it.
- Gymnema may interact with certain medications, so it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before using it, especially if you're taking medications for diabetes or other conditions.
- Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, including nausea and diarrhoea, when taking gymnema. It's important to start with a low dose and look out for your body's response. And later gradually increase your dose.
- Gymnema can suppress the absorption of carbohydrates contained in meals, so it is suggested to consume before meals always. Give enough time in intake and meal.
- As gymnema lowers the blood sugar level, it is advised to stop using it before and after 2 weeks of any surgery. Its consumption can make your surgery serious.
There is no safe and effective dose for herbs like Gymnema. It is a herb, not a medicine. An appropriate dose of any herb depends on many factors like age, health, allergic reaction, diseases and many more. According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), here is a recommended dose. It is not a ideal dose, but we should not consume more than that-
Plant 5-10 g (for decoction), 3-5 g (as powder)
Extract 0.5-1 g
It is the maximum dose of gymnema consumption per day. It's recommended to follow the instructions on the product label or consult with a healthcare professional for the correct dosage suitable for your specific needs. Now how can you use gymnema? There are many extract version available in the market that you can use easily on regularly basis-
- Gymnema Powder
- Gymnema Capsules
- Gymnema Tablets
- Gymnema Juice
- Gymnema Syrup and many more
Whatever supplement form you are using. Just make sure about the right dose. The overdose of gymnema is not good for the body. The overdose can cause side effects. The possible side effects can be-
- Loss of muscle and many more.
Frequently Asked Questions On Gymnema
Is gymnema sylvestre only beneficial for diabetes?
No, gymnema sylvestre has various health benefits apart from its effects on blood sugar levels. It may help with weight management, constipation, tooth decay prevention, reducing sugar cravings, lowering cholesterol, and reducing inflammation.
Can gymnema sylvestre be used as a standalone treatment for diabetes?
Gymnema sylvestre should not be used as a standalone treatment for diabetes. It may be used as a supportive therapy alongside lifestyle changes and other prescribed medications. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper management of diabetes.
Are there any side effects of using gymnema sylvestre?
Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, including nausea and diarrhea, when taking gymnema sylvestre. It's important to start with a low dose and monitor your body's response. Additionally, it may interact with certain medications, and precautions should be taken if you have low blood sugar levels.
Can gymnema sylvestre help with weight loss?
Gymnema sylvestre may aid in weight management by reducing sugar cravings and preventing the absorption of sugar in the small intestine, which can contribute to weight gain. However, it should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular exercise for effective weight management.
Can gymnema sylvestre be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women?
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using gymnema sylvestre due to a lack of safety information regarding its use during these periods. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on suitable supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Does gymnema sylvestre work?
Yes, gymnema sylvestre works as the destroyer of sugar. It lowers the blood sugar level, reduces obesity, manages cholesterol and many more. It is one of the famous herbs from the traditional ayurvedic system.
What is gymnema sylvestre called in tamil?
Gymenma Sylvestre is called as Ciṟukuṟiñcā allatu kōkilam in tamil
How does gymnema tea work?
Gymnema tea gains all the medical properties of gymnema. Gymnema tea is ideal to use by diabetic patients over regular tea. It prevents sucrose and other sugars from activating sweet tongue receptors. In addition, it also lowers the blood sugar level and maintains a healthy lifestyle.
How much gymnema sylvestre per day?
As per FSSAI data, the extract of gymnema sylvestre can be used upto 1g in a day. You can use any form of extract like juice, decoration, capsule, powder or etc.
What is gymnema sylvestre good for?
Gymnema sylvestre is good for patients with diabetes, obesity, constipation, and many more. It is famous as the destroyer of sugar. It helps reduce high blood sugar levels and lowers sugar cravings. It also aids in controlling calorie intake and works for obesity as well.
What is gymnema sylvestre used for?
Traditionally, gymnema sylvestre is used for high blood sugar levels, weight loss, relieving constipation, improving immunity, supporting the digestive system, reducing tooth decay, and many more. It has been used since ancient times in Ayurveda.
Can gymnema sylvestre cure diabetes?
There is no data that suggests gymnema sylvestre can cure diabetes. It is used to help in the treatment of diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels naturally and reducing sugar cravings. It is ideal to use it on a daily basis for diabetic patients, but do not expect a cure from it.
Does gymnema sylvestre help with weight loss?
Yes, gymnema sylvestre helps with weight loss. Many experts recommend using gymnema or gurmar in their weight loss journey. Essentially, the use of gymnema leaves blocks the sweet receptors, which helps reduce calorie intake and manage weight. Additionally, it also works to improve the digestive system.
Is gymnema toxic for the liver?
There is no data reporting any toxicity associated with the use of gymnema. In fact, the leaves of gymnema help suppress the accumulation of liver fat and support liver health.
Is gurmar good for diabetes?
Yes, gurmar is good for diabetes. It is effective in managing type 2 diabetes cases. Gurmar is a destroyer of sugar. It lowers blood sugar levels and increases insulin secretion to manage sugar levels.
Is gurmar safe to use daily?
Gurmar is an herb. It is safe to use regularly. It helps lower blood sugar levels and prevents obesity in the body. Many diabetic and obese individuals use gurmar as a natural treatment.
Which Ayurvedic herb is good for diabetes?
Gurmar or gudmar or Gymnema is good for diabetes. It naturally lowers blood sugar levels and helps increase insulin secretion. It is a traditional herb known as the destroyer of sugar."