Tag Archives: Gymnema Sylvestre

Gymnema silvestre

Botanical Name : Gymnema silvestre

Family: Asclepiadaceae
Genus: Gymnema
Species: G. sylvestre
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name :Gurmari, Gurmarbooti, Gurmar, periploca of the woods, meshasring.

Alternative names:
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.

Description:
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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Chemical composition:
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.

Medicinal Uses:
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.[8] According to the Sushruta of the Ayurveda it helps to treat Madhumeha ie glycosuria.[citation needed]

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.[9] 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)
Gymnema may:

*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*

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.

Resources:
http://www.herbalprovider.com/gymnema-sylvestre.html?src=ggl&w=gymnema-sylvestre&gclid=CLjflMqo8qoCFQHf4AodDghbPA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnema_sylvestre
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://www.nutrasanus.com/gymnema-sylvestre.html

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Gudmar / madhunasini

 

Botanical Name:Asclapias geminata Roxb/Periploca Sylvastris Retz
Family : Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe : Marsdenieae
Gender : Gymnema
Species : G. sylvestris
Division :  Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Subclass:  Asterids
Order :  Gentianales

Synonyms: Periploca sylvestris Willd., Gymnema melicida Edgew.

Common Name:
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

Habitat:
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 .

Description:
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.

…click to see the pictures.…..(01).…(1)..…….(2)……...(3)...…………………….

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.

Chemical Composition:
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

Dabur, India

Himalaya Herbals, India

Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd. India

Philly Pharmacy, USA

S&D Chemicals (Canada) Ltd. Canada

Concluding Remarks:

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.

Resources:

http://www.allianceingredients.com/pdfdocs/GYMNEMA.pdf
http://horticulture.kar.nic.in/APMAC_website_files/madhunasini.htm
http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/gymnema.shtml
http://www.sacredearth.com/ethnobotany/plantprofiles/Gymnea.php
http://www.orissafdc.com/products_medicinal_plants.php

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Gymnema Sylvestre

Botanical Name: Gymnema sylvestre
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Gymnema
Species: G. sylvestre
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common names:   gymnema, cowplant, Australian cowplant, gurmari, gurmarbooti, gurmar, periploca of the woods, meshasringa , Bedki cha pala  and miracle fruit (also a common name for two unrelated plants). periploca of the woods,gudmar
Alternative names: Gurmari, Gurmarbooti, Gurmar, periploca of the woods and Meshasringa. The Hindi word Gur-mar (Madhunaashini in Sanskrit, Chakkarakolli in Tamil), literally means sugar destroyer. Meshasringa (Sanskrit) translates as “ram’s horn”, a name given to the plant from the shape of its fruits. Gymnema probably derives from the Latin word meaning naked and sylvestre means from the forest.
Sanskrit Name : Meshasringi, Madhinasini, madhoolika Hindi: Gurmar, Tamil:amudhapushpam, Malayalam:Chakkarakkolli

Part Used : WHOLE PLANT, LEAVES

Habitat: Gymnema sylvestre R.Br. is a herb native to the tropical forests of southern and central India

Description:
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, fusiform 1.

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Chemical composition:
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

Extra Information –

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, a and ß- chlorophylls, phytin, resins, d-quercitol, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, lupeol, ß-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.

Medicinal Uses:

: The plant is acrid, antiinflammatory, anodyne, liver tonic, emetic, diuretic. It is useful in hepatosplenomegaly, dypepsia, constipation, jaundice, halminthiasis, cardiopathy, amenorrhoea. The fresh leaves when chewed have the remarkable property of paralysing the sense of taste for sweet and bitter substance for some time.

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, however, is short-lived, lasting a mere fifteen minutes. Some postulate that the herb actually reduces cravings for sugar by blocking sugar receptors in the tongue, but no scientific studies have supported this hypothesis. It is currently being used in an all natural medication for diabetes with other ingredients such as cinnamon, chromium, zinc, biotin, banaba, huckleberry and bitter melon.

The active ingredient is thought to be gurmenic acid which has structure similar to saccharose. 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. 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 ß-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 T2DM

Click to see:->Gymnema sylvestre is a plant used in India and parts of Asia as a natural treatment for diabetes

>Gymnema sylvestre – Boosts Your 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

Resources:
http://www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/indian-herbs/gymnema-sylvestre.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnema_sylvestre

 

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Gurmar, Merasingi(Gymnema sylvestre )

Botanical Name:Gymnema sylvestre R. Br. ex Schult (Asclepiadaceae)
Family: Asclepiadaceae

Genus: Gymnema

Species: G. sylvestre

Syn : Periploca sylvestris Willd., Gymnema melicida Edgew.

English names: Vine, Periploca of the the woods.

Sanskrit names:
Ajaballi, Ajagandini, Ajashringi, Bahalchakshu, Chakshurabahala, Grihadruma, Karnika, Kshinavartta, Madhunasini, Medhasingi, Meshashringi, Meshavishanika, Netaushadhi, Putrashringi, Sarpadanshtrika, Tiktadughdha, Vishani.

Vernacular names: Ben: Meshashringi; Guj : Dhuleti, Mardashing; Hin : Gurmar, Gumar, Merashinghi; Kan : Karhasige, Sannagera-shehumbr; Mal: Cakkarakkolli, Madhunashini; Mar: Kavali, Kalikardor, Vakundi; Tam: Adigam, Cheorukurinja, Kannuminayamkodi, Pasaani, Sakkaraikkolli, Shirukurinja, Sirukurumkay; Tel: Podapatra.

Trade names: Gurmar, Merasingi.

Habitat: Gymnema sylvestre R.Br. is a herb native to the tropical forests of southern and central India where it has been used as a naturopathic treatment for diabetes for nearly two millennia. (Mainly in Deccan peninsula, also found in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan; Sri Lanka.)

Description:
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.

.CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Stout, woody, large climber; young branches slender and pubescent; leaves opposite, simple, petioles 0.6-1.2 cm, stout or slender, lamina 2.5-6.25 cm in length, elliptic or ovate, thinly coriaceous, upper surface rarely pubescent; cymes subglobose, ± 1.25 cm in diameter; flowers yellow, ±0.2 cm in diameter; follicles slender, ±5-7.5 by 0.8 cm; seeds pale brown, flat, ±1.25 cm long.

Flowering: August-March; Fruiting: Winter.

Ecology and Cultivation: Grows in the plains from the coast, in scrub jungles and in thickets; wild.

Chemical composition:
Leaf: conduritol A, gymnestrogenin, gymnamine, hentriacontane, nonacosane, penta-OH-triterpene.
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

Extra Information
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, α and β- chlorophylls, phytin, resins, d-quercitol, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, lupeol, β-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.

Medicinal Uses:
Use as herbal medicine
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, however, is short-lived, lasting a mere fifteen minutes. Some postulate that the herb actually reduces cravings for sugar by blocking sugar receptors in the tongue, but no scientific studies have supported this hypothesis. It is currently being used in an all natural medication for diabetes with other ingredients such as cinnamon, chromium, zinc, biotin, banaba, huckleberry and bitter melon.

The active ingredient is thought to be gurmenic acid which has structure similar to saccharose. 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. 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 β-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 T2DM.
Mechanism of Action
Gymnemic acid formulations have also been found useful against obesity, according to recent reports. This is attributed to the ability of gymnemic acids to delay the glucose absorption in the blood. The atomic arrangement of gymnemic acid molecules is similar to that of glucose molecules. These molecules fill the receptor locations on the taste buds thereby preventing its activation by sugar molecules present in the food, thereby curbing the sugar craving. Similarly, gymnemic acid molecules fill the receptor location in the absorptive external layers of the intestine thereby preventing the sugar molecules absorption by the intestine, which results in low blood sugar level.

Gymnema sylvestre leaves have been found to cause hypoglycemia in laboratory animals and have found a use in herbal medicine to help treat adult onset diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). When Gymnema leaf extract is administered to a diabetic patient, there is stimulation of the pancreas by virtue of which there is an increase in insulin release. These compounds have also been found to increase fecal excretion of cholesterol, but further studies to prove clinical significance in treating hypercholesterolemia (high serum cholesterol) are required. Other uses for Gymnema leaf extract are its ability to act as a laxative, diuretic, and cough suppressant. These other actions would be considered adverse reactions when Gymnema is used for its glucose lowering effect in diabetes.

Gymnema leaf extract, notably the peptide ‘Gurmarin’, has been found to interfere with the ability of the taste buds on the tongue to taste sweet and bitter. Gymnemic acid has a similar effect. It is believed that by inhibiting the sweet taste sensation, people taking it will limit their intake of sweet foods, and this activity may be partially responsible for its hypoglycemic effect.

There are some possible mechanisms by which the leaves and especially Gymnemic acids from Gymnema sylvestre exert its hypoglycemic effects are:

1. It increases secretion of insulin.
2. It promotes regeneration of islet cells.
3. It increases utilization of glucose: it is shown to increase the activities of enzymes responsible for utilization of glucose by insulin-dependant pathways, an increase in phosphorylase activity, decrease in gluconeogenic enzymes and sorbitol dehydrogenase.
4. It causes inhibition of glucose absorption from intestine.

The gymnemic acid components are believed to block the absorption of glucose in the small intestine, the exact action being unknown. It could involve one or more mechanisms.

One of the mechanisms responsible for adult onset diabetes mellitus is a form of insulin resistance, which is attributed to the inability of insulin to enter cells via the insulin receptor. Gymnema may overcome this resistance, but require further studies to confirm its validity and also whether the effect is clinically relevant. Should this effect be proven, Gymnema may prove useful in both adult onset (NIDDM) and juvenile onset diabetes mellitus (IDDM) to help insulin enter cells. In the case of IDDM, the insulin is injected by syringe and is not secreted from the pancreas.

The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides. The primary chemical constituents of Gymnema include gymnemic acid, tartaric acid, gurmarin, calcium oxalate, glucose, stigmasterol, betaine, and choline. While the water-soluble acidic fractions reportedly provide the hypoglycemic action, it is not yet clear what specific constituent in the leaves is responsible for the same. Some researchers have suggested gymnemic acid as one possible candidate, although further research is needed. Both gurmarin (another constituent of the leaves) and gymnemic acid have been shown to block sweet taste in humans. The major constituents of the plant material 3B glucuronides of different acetylated gymnemagenins, gymnemic acid a complex mixture of at least 9 closely related acidic glucosides.

The following figure could provide a diagrammatic representation for explaining the action of gymnemic acids on the intestinal receptors. The basic function of the acids is to bind to the receptor on the intestine, and stop the glucose molecule from binding to the receptor. Thus, gymnemic acids prevent the absorption of excess glucose.

Traditional use: KOL : Leaf: in gastric troubles; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF RAJASTHAN and DHASAN VALLEY: Leaf: in diabetes; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF KANDALA (Maharashtra) : Leaf: in urinary complaints; GOND: Leaf: in diabetes, stomachache; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF MADHYA PRADESH: Leaf: in cornea opacity and other eye diseases; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF GODAVARI DISTRICT (Andhra Pradesh) : Leaf: in diabetes, glycosuria; IRULAR : Leaf: in diabetes; CHARAKA SAMHITA: removes bad odour from breast milk, aperitive; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : plant useful as purgative, in eye troubles; leaf extract and also the same of flower beneficial for eyes; bark useful in the diseases caused by vitiated kapha (phlegm); BAGBHAT : rootbark useful in piles; BHAVAPRAKASHA: it is bitter, appetiser, gastric stimulant, removes cough, alleviates breathing troubles, useful in curing phlegm, eyetroubles, wounds; RAJA NIGHANTU : appetiser, removes phlegm, piles, colic pain, cures dropsy, useful in eye troubles, cardiotonic, beneficial in respiratory diseases, wounds, detoxicant; fruits are bitter, sialagogue, thermogenic, cures the diseases caused by vitiated kapha (phlegm) or vata (wind); NIGHANTU RATNAKARAM : removes cough, vitiated wind, detoxicant, appetiser, useful in eye troubles. AYURVEDA : acrid, alexipharmic, anodyne, anthelmintic, antipyretic, astringent, bitter, cardiotonic, digestive, diuretic, emetic,expectorant, laxative, stimulant, stomachic, uterine tonic; useful in amennorrhoea, asthma, bronchitis, cardiopathy, conjunctivitis, constipation, cough, dyspepsia, haemorroids, hepatosplenomegaly, inflammations, intermittant fever, jaundice and leucoderma; root emetic and removes phlegm; external application is useful in insectbite;

SIDDHA : an ingredient of ‘Cirukuricinver’; UNANI : an ingredient of ‘Gurmarbuti’.

The fresh leaves, when chewed, paralyse the sense of sweet for sometime; for this reason it is called gur-mar, thereby meaning sugar-killer and impression has become prevalent in some parts of the country that it is useful in diabetes mellitus. Chewing fresh leaves also paralyse the taste of bitter for a while.

Modern use: Aerial parts (50% EtOH extract) : spasmolytic, hypyoglycaemic, in vitro antiviral against influenza A2 virus.

Remark: In Sri Lanka, plant used in bone fractures.

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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.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnema_sylvestre
http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Euphorbia%20tirucalli