It is a woody climber found in Central and Peninsular India. It is also found in Northern and Western part of India. The woody Gymnema plant also grows in parts of Africa.
Before 2,000 years ago Indian physicians first used Gymnema to treat diabetes. The leaves were also used for stomach ailments, constipation, water retention and liver disease. In the 1920s, preliminary scientific studies found some evidence that Gymnema leaves can reduce blood sugar levels.
Plant Facts: G. sylvestre is a large woody climber. It is occasionally cultivated as medicinal plant. Leaves are Leaf simple, opposite, elliptical or ovate, petiolate, petiole 6 to 12 mm long. Flowers are small, yellow, in umbellate cymes.
PARTS USED: Dried leaf DOSE - 3-6 g. Dry leaf powder
Plant constituents include two resins (one soluble in alcohol), gymnemic acids, tartaric acid, gurmarin, calcium oxalate, glucose, saponins, quercitol, and the amino acid derivatives betaine, choline and trimethylamine. The leaves also contain Phytin, a & ß Chlorophyll, Pentriacontane, hentriacontane. Lupeol, ß-amyrin, stigmasterol also present in the leaves. Triterpenoid saponins of gymnemic acid A, B, C and D with sugar residues such as glucuronic acid, galacturonic acid, ferulic and angelic acids attached as carboxylic acids. Several isopropylene derivatives of Gymnemagenin, a hexahydroterpene, gymnemic acid are also present. Hydrocarbons such as nonacosane, tritriacontane, resin, formic acid, butyric acid, amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, valine, alanine, ?-butyric acid are also present.
MARKER COMPOUND- Gymnemic Acid
HOW DOES GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE WORK?
Recent pharmacological and clinical studies have shown that Gymnema Sylvestre acts on two sites such as the taste buds in the oral cavity and the absorptive surface to the intestines. As gymnemic acid molecules are similar to glucose in shape, meaning they are able to fill cell receptors in the lining of the intestines, preventing uptake of sugar molecules and resulting in lower blood sugar levels, because Gymnemic acid and Gymnema leaf extract interfere with the ability of the taste buds to taste sweet or bitter. By inhibiting this ability, people taking it will limit their intake of sweets, which further helps blood sugar levels.
According to the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, Gymnemic acids
also appear to work, because they:
- Increase secretion of insulin
- Promote regeneration of islet-ß- cells (islet-ß- cells are insulin-producing cells in your pancreas)
- Increases peripheral utilization of blood glucose
- Reduce metabolic effect of sugar by preventing the intestines from absorbing sugar molecules during digestion
Gymnema suppresses glucose absorption and reduces the sensation of sweetness in foods – effects which are important for individuals who want to reduce blood sugar levels or lose weight – especially in terms of appetite control and food cravings.