Botanical Name:Asclapias geminata Roxb/Periploca Sylvastris Retz
Family : Apocynaceae
Tribe : Marsdenieae
Gender : Gymnema
Species : G. sylvestris
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Order : Gentianales
Synonyms: Periploca sylvestris Willd., Gymnema melicida Edgew.
English :Suger destroyer,Periploca of the wood
Sanskrit:Mesasrngi,Ajaballi, Ajagandini, Ajashringi, Bahalchakshu, Chakshurabahala, Grihadruma, Karnika, Kshinavartta, Madhunasini, Medhasingi, Meshashringi, Meshavishanika, Netaushadhi, Putrashringi, Sarpadanshtrika, Tiktadughdha, Vishani.
Local Indian Names :
Hindi– Gur-mar, merasingi; Bengali- Mera-singi; Marathi– Kavali, kalikardori, vakundi; Gujarati– Dhuleti, mardashingi; Telugu- Podapatri; Tamil- Adigam, cherukurinja; Kannada– Sannager-asehambu; Malyalam– Cakkarakkolli, Madhunashini.
Parts Used: Leaves
Preferentially grows in forests and secondary open scrub and is in heights up to 1000-1200 meters . It is especially distributed in the monsoon forests and, less frequently, has reached parts of Oceania and America . It is located in Asia especially in India , in the tropical forests of central and southern Iraq, in Western Ghats is a mountain range that lies west of India and in the territory of Goa . It also grows in Japan , Sri Lanka , Vietnam , Taiwan and some provinces of China in Fujian , Guangxi , Hainan , Yunnan and Zhejiang . Less commonly can be found in South Africa .
Large climbers,rooting at nodes,leaves elliptic,acuminate,base acute to acuminate, glabrous above sparsely or densely tomentose beneath. Flowers small, in axillary and lateral umbel like cymes, pedicels long. Calyz-lobes long, ovate,obtuse,pubescent. Corolla pale yellow campalute,valvate, corona single with 5 fleshy scales. Scales adnate to throat of corolla tube between lobes. Anther connective produced into a membranous tip, pollima2,erect,carpels 2, unilocular; loculus many ovulated. Follicle long,fusiform.
Extensive, much-branched, twining shrubs. Leaves 3-6 x 2-3 cm, ovate or elliptic-oblong, apiculate, rounded at base, sub-coriaceous. Flowers minute, greenish-yellow, spirally arranged in lateral pedunculate or nearly sessile cymes. Corolla lobes imbricate. Follicles solitary, upto 8 x 0.7 cm, terete, lanceolate, straight or slightly curved, glabrous. Seeds ovate-oblong, glabrous, winged, brown. Flowering: August-March; Fruiting: Winter.
Madhunashini is an evergreen climber and the best season for planting is June-July. After the ploughing and leveling of the land, 45 cm3 sized pits are made at a distance of 2.5 m between the rows and 1.75 m between plants (within the row). The pits are dug open 15 days earlier to planting, they are filled with green leaves and top soil and 2 kgs of well rotten manure per pit is added. The pits are to be irrigated and left for one week, then the rooted cuttings are planted in the pits.
HARVESTING AND YIELD
The crop is ready for harvest two years after planting. Leaves are the economic part and the harvesting of the leaves begins when plants start flowering i.e., during end of June or first week of July. Leaves can be harvested along with flowers either by hand or can be cut with sickle/knife. The harvest leaves are dried under shade by allowing sufficient air to circulate by spreading thinly on clear ground for about7-8 days. Direct sunlight should be avoided to maintain the quality of the leaves.
The crop is harvested only once in a year during flowering and on an average 5-6 kg dried leaves per plant can be obtained from a 4 years old plant yielding about 10,000 – 15,000 kgs of dried leaves per hectare. The crop can be cultivated for 10-15 years under good management.
The leaves contain hentriacontane, pentatriacontane, a-and ß-chlorophylls, phytin, resins, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, anthraqui-none derivatives, inositol, d -quercitol and “gymnemic acid”. The leaves give positive tests for alkaloids. Flavonol glycosides, kaempferol and quercetin have been isolated from the aerial parts of the plant (Liu et al., 2004). Three new oleanane-type triterpene glycosides were isolated from the leaves of the plant. Six oleanane-type saponins (Ye et al., 2000, 2001). Few new tritepenoid saponins, gymnemasins A, B, C and D were also isolated from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre (Suttisri et al., 1995, Sahu et al., 1996).
Medicinal Property & Uses: The plant is stomachic, stimulant, laxative and diuretic. It is good in cough, biliousness and sore eyes. If the leaves of the plant are chewed, the sense of taste for sweet and bitter substances is suppressed (Gent, 1999, Persaud et al., 1999, Intelegen, 2004). The leaves are said to be used as a remedy for diabetes (Prakash et al., 1986; Shanmugasundaram et al., 1990; Grover et al., 2002; Gholap & Kar, 2003}. It has been included among the most important herbs for all doshas (Mhasker & Caius, 1930; Holistic, 2004). It has shown effective activity against Bacillus pumilis, B. subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus (Satdive et al., 2003). Tribals in Chhindi rub the leaves on infected body parts to cure infections.
The leaf powder is tasteless with a faint pleasant aromatic odour. It stimulates the heart and the circulatory system, increases the secretion of urine, and activates the uterus. Tribals of Central India prepare decoctions of Methi/ fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Gudmar (Gymnema sylvestre), Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Ajwan (Trachyspermum ammi), gokshura (Tribulus terrestris), vayu-vidanga (Embelia ribes), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Harra (Terminalia chebula), and chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica) to cure diabetes and stress related disorders.
Traditional healers from various states of India use this plant in various ailments. Leaf is given in gastric troubles in Rajasthan. Traditional healers of Maharastra prescribe it in urinary problems and stomachache whereas in Madhya Pradesh, tribals and local healers apply the leaf extract in cornea opacity and other eye diseases. In Andhra Pradesh it is used in glycosuria.
In Indian Ayurveda it is mainly used in the treatment of Diabetes, hydrocil & Asthama.
Few important companies in Product Manufacturing:
Active Ingredients Group., Inc., China
Amitco International Botanical & Nutritional Division, USA
Camden-Grey Essential Oils, Miami, USA.
Christina’s Body & Fitness, USA
Himalaya Herbals, India
Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd. India
Philly Pharmacy, USA
S&D Chemicals (Canada) Ltd. Canada
It is the need of the hour to save this highly important medicinal plant of Patalkot valley. If proper initiatives would not be taken in time, there would not be single Gymnema plant in the valley. It is urged to the scientists, conservationists, researchers, NGO’s and other bodies to come forward and take moves to protect this important herb. Local farmers should be encouraged to cultivate this herb. Government and policy makers are having lots of plans/ ideas but they find problems in proper implementations. It is the youth and people from literate world who should come forward to take this task in their hands.
Other uses: Alcoholic extract has a dry leaves showing antibacterial activity against Bacillus pumilus , Bacillus subtilis , Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus .
Caution: If the indicated amounts are used, ie no more than 400mg per day is generally safe, well tolerated and no side effects. During pregnancy and lactation has not been determined whether or not there may be side effects. Still, it is recommended to consult a medical practitioner before taking Gymnema extract diabetic children and elderly. Contraindicated if used in combination with oral hypoglycemic drugs. Be careful when taking gymnema with glipizide, glyburide and insulin.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.