Known as Gurmar and Merasingi, gymnema sylvestre is a member of the milkweed family. It is a woody plant that grows in the tropical regions of central and south India. The leaves are used as an herbal extract to slow the absorption of glucose.
Gurmar means sugar destroyer.
It is considered an ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic is the ancient Hindu art of medicine and of prolonging life.
Because the shape of gymnemic acid molecules are similar to glucose they are able to prevent the uptake of glucose molecules in the small intestine. It is also thought to increase insulin secretion and improve the regeneration of islet cells.
Chewing the leaves is also supposed to decrease the desire for sweets.
While no side effects have been reported with gymnema sylvestre, there is the potential for hypoglycemia if used with other diabetic agents.
The Future of Gymnema Sylvestre in Battling Diabetes?
Keep your eye on this clinical trial involving gymnema sylvestre that will be accepting participants in the future.
- The study plans to compare the glucose-lowering effect of gurmar, a herbal preparation, with metformin in patients with type 2 diabetes
- Condition: Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- Intervention:Drug: Gurmar–Drug: Metformin
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institute of Health is a U.S. government agency whose mission is to “explore complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, train complementary and alternative medicine researchers and disseminate authoritative information to the public and professionals.”
NCCAM lists safety considerations when choosing herbal supplements. These include discussing supplements with your health provider as they interact and act just like drugs. Additionally NCCAM states:
“In the United States, herbal and other dietary supplements are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as foods. This means that they do not have to meet the same standards as drugs and over-the-counter medications for proof of safety, effectiveness, and what the FDA calls Good Manufacturing Practices.”
Diabeteic Spectrum: Biological Complementary Therapies: A Focus on Botanical Products in Diabetes