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GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE

Common Name           :           Gudmar
Botanical Name          :           Gymnema Sylvestre
Family Name             :            Asclepiadaceae
Other Names             :            Merasingi, Madhunashini
Parts Used                :            Leaves and Roots
Habitat                     :           It is found in the Deccan Peninsula, extending to parts of Northern and Western India. It is occasionally cultivated as a medicinal plant

Plant Description

Gymnema Sylvestre is a large, more or less pubescent, woody climber. The leaves are opposite, elliptic or ovate; the flowers are small, yellow and in umbellate cymes; the follicles are terete, lanceolate and up to 3 inches in length.

Introduction

This plant was called Meshashringi in Sanskrit. It’s use in snake bite as a remedy was well known to the natives of the Konkan in India and the natives of Southern India. A curious circumstance connected with this plant was first noticed by Mr. Edgeworth, namely, that if chewed it destroys the power of the tongue to appreciate the taste of sugar and all saccharine substances. This property of the leaves has been tested in 1887, carefully by Mr. D. Hooper.

Active constituents:

Plant constituents include two resins (one soluble in alcohol), gymnemic acids, tartaric acid, gurmarin, calcium oxalate, glucose, saponins, stigmasterol, quercitol, and the amino acid derivatives betaine, choline and trimethylamine. Gymnema Sylvestre is a stomachic, diuretic, refrigerant, astringent, and tonic. It has been found to increase urine output and reduce hyperglycemia in both animal and human studies.

Uses:

The main focus of Gymnema research is blood sugar regulation and glucose metabolism. Several studies suggest that Gymnema can lower blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes mellitus (insulin-dependent diabetes) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (non-insulin-dependent diabetes). The herb has shown to reduce blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin and glycosylated plasma proteins when used for 18-20 months. The effect is gradual rather than immediate with conventional drugs. The active components responsible for lowering glucose are the gymnemic acids.

Traditional Ayurvedic medicine uses Gymnema to treat a variety of other disorders as well, including digestion problems, Aphrodisiac, Cardiovascular disease, Cholesterol reduction, Constipation, Cough, Diuretic, Gout, High blood pressure Laxative, Liver disease, Liver protection, Malaria, Obesity, Rheumatic arthritis, Snakebite antidote, Stomach disorders, Uterine stimulant. Animal studies indicate a possible role for Gymnema in lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

Gymnema has safely been used for decades in various countries. Careful long-term studies on its safety have not been done so far, however. Consult your doctor about your desire to supplement your diabetes regimen with Gymnema.

Side Effects: Gymnema may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised if you are also taking prescription drugs that may lower blood sugar levels. Patients taking oral drugs for diabetes or using insulin should be monitored closely by their health care provider while using Gymnema. Dosing adjustments may be necessary. Gymnema may alter the ability to taste sweet foods.
Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding: Gymnema cannot be recommended during pregnancy or breast-feeding because of a lack of information on safety and effectiveness.
   
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