Botanical Name : Gymnema silvestre
Species: G. sylvestre
Common Name :Gurmari, Gurmarbooti, Gurmar, periploca of the woods, meshasring.
Despite the part used being the leaf, one common name of this species is miracle fruit, a name shared by two other species: Synsepalum dulcificum and Thaumatococcus daniellii. Both species are used to alter the perceived sweetness of foods.
In English the species is also known as gymnema, Cowplant and Australian cowplant.
This species also goes under many other names such as; Gurmari, Gurmarbooti, Gurmar, periploca of the woods and Meshasringa. The Hindi word Gur-mar (Madhunaashini in Sanskrit, Chakkarakolli in Malayalam,Podapatri in Telugu), literally means sugar destroyer. Meshasringa (Sanskrit) translates as “ram’s horn”, a name given to the plant from the shape of its fruits. Gymnema derives from the Greek words “gymnos” and “n?ma” (????) meaning “naked” and “thread” respectively, the species epitheton sylvestre means “of the forest” in Latin.
Habitat : Gymnema silvestre is native to the tropical forests of southern and central India where it has been used as a natural treatment for diabetes for nearly two millennia.
Gudmar or Gymnema Sylvestre is 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; Calyx-lobes long, ovate, obtuse, pubescent; Corolla pale yellow campanulate, valvate, corona single, with 5 fleshy scales. Scales adnate to throat of corolla tube between lobes; Anther connective produced into a membranous tip, pollinia 2, erect, carpels 2,unilocular; locules many ovuled; Follicle long, fusiform1.
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The major bioactive constituents of Gymnema sylvestris are a group of oleanane type triterpenoid saponins known as gymnemic acids. The latter contain several acylated (tigloyl, methylbutyroyl etc.,) derivatives of deacylgymnemic acid (DAGA) which is 3-O-glucuronide of gymnemagenin (3, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28-hexahydroxy-olean-12-ene)2. The individual gymnemic acids (saponins) include gymnemic acids I-VII, gymnemosides A-F, gymnemasaponins.
G. sylvestre leaves contain triterpene saponins belonging to oleanane and dammarene classes. Oleanane saponins are gymnemic acids and gymnemasaponins, while dammarene saponins are gymnemasides. Besides this, other plant constituents are flavones, anthraquinones, hentri-acontane, pentatriacontane, ? and ?- chlorophylls, phytin, resins, d-quercitol, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, lupeol, ?-amyrin related glycosides and stigmasterol. The plant extract also tests positive for alkaloids. Leaves of this species yield acidic glycosides and anthroquinones and their derivatives.
Gymnemic acids have antidiabetic, antisweetener and anti-inflammatory activities. The antidiabetic array of molecules has been identified as a group of closely related gymnemic acids after it was successfully isolated and purified from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre. Later, the phytoconstituents of Gymnema sylvestre were isolated, and their chemistry and structures were studied and elucidated.
While it is still being studied, and the effects of the herb are not entirely known, the herb has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels when used for an extended period of time. Additionally, Gymnema reduces the taste of sugar when it is placed in the mouth, thus some use it to fight sugar cravings. From extract of the leaves were isolated glycosides known as Gymnemic acids, which exhibit anti-sweet activity.
This effect lasts up to about 2 hours. Some postulate that the herb actually reduces cravings for sugar by blocking sugar receptors in the tongue. This effect was observed in rats in a 2003 study conducted by CH Lemon, et al. It is currently being used in an all natural medication for diabetes with other ingredients such as cinnamon, chromium, zinc, biotin, banaba plant, huckleberry and bitter melon.
The active ingredients are thought to be the family of compounds related to gymnemic acid: purified gymnemic acids are widely used as experimental reagents in taste physiology and have also been shown to affect experimental diabetes, reduce intestinal transport of sugars. and fatty acids. Extracts of Gymnema is not only claimed to curb sweet tooths but also for treatment of as varied problems as hyperglycemia, obesity, high cholesterol levels, anemia and digestion. The leaves were also used for stomach ailments, constipation, water retention, and liver disease; historically these claims are not supported by scientific studies. According to the Sushruta of the Ayurveda it helps to treat Madhumeha ie glycosuria.
In 2005, a study made by King’s College, London, United Kingdom, showed that a water-soluble extract of Gymnema Sylvestre, caused reversible increases in intracellular calcium and insulin secretion in mouse and human ?-cells when used at a concentration (0.125 mg/ml) without compromising cell viability. Hence forth these data suggest that extracts derived from Gymnema Sylvestre may be useful as therapeutic agents for the stimulation of insulin secretion in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes. According to research done by Persaud and colleagues in 1999 the raise in insulin levels may be due to regeneration of the cells in the pancreas. Gymnema can also help prevent adrenal hormones from stimulating the liver to produce glucose, thereby reducing blood sugar levels Clinical trials with diabetics in India have used 400 mg per day of water-soluble acidic fraction of the gymnema leaves. However, Gymnema cannot be used in place of insulin to control blood sugar by people with either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes.
In 2010, King’s College, London, United Kingdom performed another study on Gymnema Sylvestre. OmSantal Adivasi extract, a high molecular weight extract from the plant Gymnema Sylvestre was found to improve the symptoms of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Glycemic control after OmSantal Adivasi administration was related to increased circulating levels of insulin and/or C-peptide. Experimenting with human islets in vitro, there was a rapid onset response to OmSantal Adivasi exposure, continued for extent of exposure to OmSantal Adivasi, and also a rapid reverse if there was a withdrawal of OmSantal Adivasi. OmSantal Adivasi created a biphasic pattern of glucose-induced insulin secretion. This resulted in enhanced rates of insulin secretion being maintained for length of exposure to OmSantal Adivasi. Other Gymnema Sylvestre extracts induce cell damage to the membrane causing pathological and unregulated release of insulin to BETA-cells. OmSantal Adivasi has a low concentration of saponin, what causes damage to cell membranes, which would be degraded during digestion. OmSantal Adivasi directly stimulates BETA-cells of the islets of Langerhans, reducing fasting and post-prandial blood glucose. OmSantal Adivasi experiments, in vitro, initiated insulin secretion at a sub-stimulatory concentration of glucose. OmSantal Adivasi has been shown to effectively reduce blood glucose and increase plasma insulin and C-peptide levels in humans
Indian physicians first used Gymnema to treat diabetes over 2,000 years ago. . In the 1920s, preliminary scientific studies found some evidence that Gymnema leaves can reduce blood sugar levels, but nothing much came of this observation for decades. It is a taste suppressant. By topical application gymnema has been shown to block the sweet and some of the bitter taste, but not salt and acid taste. By keeping off the sweet taste it helps to control a craving for sugar. Responsible for this are considered saponins. Gymnema has also shown mild hypoglycemic effect. Topically (applied to the tongue, mainly to the tip or by chewing) it is used to control a craving for sugar, recommended as an aid to a weightloss diet and diabetes. Internally it is used as an adjuvant (tea, h.p.) for diabetes. Gymnema leaves raise insulin levels, according to research in healthy volunteers. Based on animal studies, this may be due to regeneration of the cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin. Other animal research shows that Gymnema can also improve uptake of glucose into cells and prevent adrenaline from stimulating the liver to produce glucose, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides. In the past, powdered Gymnema root was used to treat snake bites, constipation, stomach complaints, water retention, and liver disease.
Gurmar, also known as Gymnema or Gymnema Sylvestre, is often referred to as “sugar destroyer” and has been used in Ayurveda since the 6th century BC. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for several centuries as a safe and natural approach to help regulate sugar metabolism. The key component of Gymnema – Gymnemic Acids – mimics glucose molecules, numbing receptor sites on the tongue. Gymnema contains Gymnemic acid, Quercitol, Lupeol, Beta-Amyrin and Stigmasterol, all of which are thought to help the body maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
Benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre (Gurmar)
*Help abolish the taste of sugar*
*Help manage sugar cravings and sugar addictions*
*Help support healthy glucose metabolism*
*Help maintain healthy blood sugar levels*
*Support healthy weight*
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.