INGREDIENTS & RESEARCH

Gymnema

BACKGROUND

Ingredient Type: Herb, Extract

Also Known As: Gymnema sylvestre, Miracle fruit, Small indian ipecae

Gymnema is an herb native to the tropical forests of India and Sri Lanka, and has long been used as an herbal medicine in Asia.  Chewing gymnema leaves diminishes the ability of the tongue to discriminate sweet tastes, which along with its believed hypoglycemic properties may have prompted the Hindi name gurmar, or "sugar destroyer."

Gymnema leaves are most commonly used medicinally, although the stem is also believed to possess some pharmacological action.  It has been used for over 2,000 years in India to treat madhu meha, or "honey urine."  It also has a long history of use in individuals with diabetes and is used as a health supplement today to support normal blood sugar balance and weight management (1).

 

TRADITIONAL USES 

Orally, gymnema is used for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, weight loss, and cough.  It has also been used as a snake bite antidote, antimalarial, digestive stimulant, laxative, appetite suppressant, and diuretic.

In combination with other products, gymnema is typically used for metabolic control (4).

 

WHAT DOES SCIENCE TELL US?

  Gymnema Possibly Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels:

Preliminary clinical research suggests that taking a specific gymnema extract (GS4) orally in combination with insulin or oral hypoglycemics can further reduce blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes (45,46). 

  Gymnema Possibly Helps Support a Healthy Body Weight

Some clinical evidence suggests that taking a combination of gymnema extract 400 mg, hydroxycitric acid 2800 mg, and niacin-bound chromium 4 mg per day orally for 8 weeks decreases body mass index (BMI) and body weight compared to baseline in overweight and obese patients (4). 

 

SAFETY

Gymnema is likely safe when used orally and appropriately.  It appears to be safe when used for up to 20 months (2,3,4). 

REFERENCES

  1. Porchezhian, E. and Dobriyal, R. M. An overview on the advances of Gymnema sylvestre: chemistry, pharmacology and patents. Pharmazie 2003;58(1):5-12
  2. Shanmugasundaram ER, Rajeswari G, Baskaran K, et al. Use of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract in the control of blood glucose in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Ethnopharmacol 1990;30:281-94
  3. Baskaran K, Kizar Ahamath B, Radha Shanmugasundaram K, Shanmugasundaram ER. Antidiabetic effect of leaf extract from Gymnema sylvestre in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients. J Ethnopharmacol 1990;30:295-300
  4. Preuss, H. G., Garis, R. I., Bramble, J. D., Bagchi, D., Bagchi, M., Rao, C. V., and Satyanarayana, S. Efficacy of a novel calcium/potassium salt of (-)-hydroxycitric acid in weight control. Int.J Clin.Pharmacol.Res. 2005;25(3):133-144

See the MedlinePlus entry for gymnema, the WebMD entry for gymnema, the RXList entry for gymnema, or the Michigan Medicine Health Library entry for gymnema for more information.