Gymnema

Gymnema Sylvestre, a bitter tasting shrub with it’s cooling effect and dry and light quality is famous for its remarkable blood sugar controlling capacity in diabetes. It’s a wood climbing shrub found in India and Africa. It’s been used as a medicine in Ayurveda (Ancient Indian practice of medicine) for over 2000 years. It has always been primarily used  in diabetes to control the blood sugar levels. The Hindi name “Gurmar” means ‘destroyer of sugar’. The leaves of Gymnema are used for making medicines but the stem also appears to have some drug action.

How does it help in Diabetes?

The principal bio active components of this herbal remedy are a group of saponins called gymnemic acids, parabin, glucose and carbohydrates. Gymnemic acid contains anti-diabetic and anti- inflammatory properties. It helps in increasing the amount of insulin in the body and also increases the growth of cells in the pancreas. If you keep it’s powder on your tongue and then try to eat anything sweet, you’ll not be able to taste the sweetness  because it blocks the ability to taste sweet in the mouth and assimilate sweet in the small intestine by doing this.  It even has the ability to lessen the cravings for sweet foods and also helps in regulating the excessive appetite in general. Due to it’s hypoglycemic action (the ability to lower the high amount of blood sugar level), it is very effective in diabetes. Research suggests that gymnema can enhance the body’s production of the hormone insulin. It is consumed mostly in the form of pills or tablets, or it can be consumed in the form of  powder or extract.

However, if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and already taking pill or insulin injections, you should first consult your physician because it interacts with certain medications especially medications prescribed for diabetes. You should also be cautious about the dosage because if taken in large quantity, your blood sugar levels can drop to alarming levels. You must also from time to time check the blood sugar level to make sure it’s under control. The appropriate dose of gymnema depends on various factors such as age, health and several other conditions. Pregnant women should be extra cautious while taking this herb.

Other qualities of Gymnema

It helps in metabolic syndrome, weight loss, cough, malaria and diuretic. It also acts as a digestive stimulant and can treat stomach problems, constipation, liver disease and water retention. Gymnema reduces the amount of lipids in your bloodstream. It possess anti-atherosclerotic action which helps in keeping the plaque from forming on the walls of your arteries.

The research on gymnema always keep on going as it has many qualities and is a cure for many problems. Many research states that this play a major role in treating diabetes (both type 1 and 2), but this is yet to be proven with more and bigger evidence. Gymnema is not new in our world, as its been in use for over 2000 years, but worldwide it has been slowly gaining popularity, people are doing extensive research, experimenting with it and what not. The future is always full of numerous possibilities so may be it’s other useful qualities can be found soon.

 

*Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or other health program.

References:

  1. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-841-gymnema.aspx?activeingredientid=841&activeingredientname=gymnema
  2. http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/gymnema-future-treatment
  3. https://www.drugs.com/npc/gymnema.html
  4. http://www.livestrong.com/article/357938-gymnema-herb-benefits/