What is Gymnema Sylvestre?
Gymnema sylvestre, also commonly named gurmar, is a tropical forest herb, deemed by many as a “sugar destroyer”, a “miracle fruit” with strong medicinal proprieties.
Gymnema sylvestre is one of 40 species of the genus “Gymnema” herbs.
This miracle plant grows in several regions of tropical forests of Malaysia, Africa, China, Sri Lanka, and is cultivated worldwide.
Commercial products based on gurmar
– gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts: vegetarian capsules (powder filled), tablets, food supplements;
– gymnema sylvestre tea: whole or powdered leaf, or a mixture of gurmar herb leaves with ketones;
– gymnema sylvestre fluids: liquid extracts, tinctures
– other gymnema sylvestre herbal drugs
Why is Gymnema sylvestre called the “sugar destroyer”?
G. sylvestre’s sweet suppression power is given by interaction of these compounds:
a) gurmarin: amino-acid polypeptide
Gurmarin is responsible of fooling the tongue taste buds into correctly assessing sweet tastes, making the buds unable to recognise sugar & sweets; a similar interaction happens at the intestinal tract levels, blocking any sugar absorbtion, forcing the body to burn fat instead of sugar to gain his energy levels.
The body becomes a better fat-burner, with a healthy blood sugar level to boot.
b) saponins: especially the gymnemic acids
The saponins have powerful pharmacological proprieties, exhibiting anticancer, hemolytic activity, even lowering the cholesterol levels.
The gymnemic acids have a similar molecular structure to glucose, but they don’t behave the same way, once ingested. Gymnemic acids can delay the glucose absorbtion in the blood; as a result, blood sugar levels reduction.
Gymnema Sylvestre Health benefits
The two main compund groups (gurmarin & saponids) work together to:
1) Lower sugar cravings & force fat-burning
Sugar craving has a cascading effect over all body functions. The gurmarin fakes the glucose imput, curbs appetite for sweets, forcing the body to focus on other energy fuel sources, thus burning the fats, (aiding in weightloss efforts).
2) Force a natural detox
The fat-burning gives organs the necessary energy to function, thus improving the immune response versus nocive agents, a natural detox method you can’t discount.
3) Lower the blood sugar
A lowered craving for sugars has an important effect over the blood sugar levels, triggering a more efficient production of digestive enzymes, pancreatic insulin, and a better intestinal absorbtion.
4) Balance insulin levels
Sugar craving forces a higher production of insulin and other hormones, thus forcing the body to store more fat. A normalized insulin level assures a good metabolism, a proper detoxification process, a precise immunity response to all toxic agents.
5) Lower (blood) cholesterol
Lowering cholesterol levels means a healthier heart and a smaller chance of stroke or heart diseases (hypertension), arterial diseases, diabetes.
6) Control Diabetes blood glucose
A study from 1990¹ mentions that gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts can control the blood glucose levels, can reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels in diabetes mellitus patients. The same study also claims that small doses of g. sylvestre extract may boost insulin body secretion levels, could lower insulin intake for diabetic patients on insulin therapy.
7) Prevent (pre) diabetes symptoms
The gymnemic acids may prevent the risk of becoming a diabetic, since it stomps the abnormal sugar intake, propagating a benefic reaction chain: good insulin levels, better blood sugar control.
8) Counteract other health issues
In a memoir² about the g. sylvestre, pharmacist Parijat Kanethar and several other researchers established a link between obesity and diabetes, in direct relation to the effects of gymnemic acids, named “empty calories” that stop the body from reaching the obesity stage, preventing any symptom that could lead to diabetes.
And since obesity is tied to several health issues, the sugar destroyer is a potential treatment to counteract those.
G. sylvestre was used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat³ snakebites, malaria, constipation, anti-aging, candida albicans⁴ yeast infection, liver disease, water retention, stomach problems.
Gymnema Sylvestre side effects and dosage
G.S. is considered safe for usage for most people, and there are no conclusive studies that support abnormal interactions and contraindications.
It’s important to mention that if you’ve consulted a local doctor for diabetes help, you might entirely avoid using g. sylvestre, or receive a strict dosage & counsel for moderation (if you’re a diabetic who undergoes drug or insulin treatment).
Gymnema sylvestre may increase the blood sugar lowering effects (possibly hypoglycemia) of oral drugs and insulin for diabetes, or increase the effects of cholesterol-lowering herbs and drugs.
A local doctor should be contacted by people who undergo blood sugar, antidepressant treatments, as these type of medication can interact poorly with gymnema based products.
Some doctors recommend G. sylvestre for gestation diabetes⁵ treatment, but unless given precise doctor prescriptions, it’s not recommended for pregnant women or breast-feeding moms.
There’s also little-to-no information on whether it should be recommended to young children or not.
Please consult a doctor, always, as the sugar destroyer isn’t a guaranteed solution to your goal: “can diabetes be reversed if I take it?”