Mother Nature has been very courteous to us. Look around and you will find many powerful herbs like Gymnema Sylvestre, Gymnema sylvestre and Diabetes are inseperable because This super herb is used to treat diabetes in Ayurvedic Science since 6th century BC. Gymnema sylvestre helps in reducing insulin dosage in type-1 diabetics and reducing fasting blood sugar levels in type-2 diabetics. It is true that which help in our well being. Although we have come a long way as far our pharmaceutical products are concerned the basic ingredient of most of our drugs comes from plants.
The plant products are processed; their active ingredients are isolated and formulated into different medicines. These medicines are packed in attractive packs and sold to us as pharmacological wonders! More often these formulations come with a hefty price tag as well. Have we ever wondered about the source of these ingredients?
Won’t it be much better if we include these plants in our diet? Most of us would say an enthusiastic YES... Information is wealth, so let’s know about one such plant today. Let’s start with Gymnena sylvestre...
This plant is native to central and western India, tropical Africa and Australia. It’s known by different names. In Sanskrit it is known as Meshashringi or madhunashini. In Hindi this plant is called as Gur-Mar or Merasingi. For our readers from sourthern parts of India it is known as podapatri in Telugu, Adigam or Cherukurinja in Tamil and Sannagerasehambu in Kannada. This plant has been mentioned for its medicinal properties in various systems of native medicine.
Literature about Gymenema Sylvestre the wonder herb depicts its usefulness in a variety of health problems. Some of them worth mentioning here are asthma, inflammations, anti- microbial activity, protection of liver and Diabetes.
Gymnena sylvestre is basically a slow growing, perennial woody climber. Leaves are usually elliptical in shape. The flowers are small and yellow in colour. Follicles are terete, lanceolate, upto 3 inches in length. Phytochemically this plant is rich.
Gymnena sylvestre's Leaf extracts have an array of chemical compounds. These include saponins (Gymnemasaponins, Gymnemasides), flavones, anthraquinones, phytin, resins, d-quercitol and alkloides. All these high sounding words should deliver a clinical benefit right? Many scientists claim that chemical structure of Gymnemic acid closely resembles the structure of glucose molecules and these acids occupy the empty spaces in the receptors for glucose. This prevents the binding of glucose to our body cells.
An additional effect seems to be alleviation of craving for sugar. How? researchers say that the extracts of the leaves interfere with the ability of taste buds to taste sweet and bitter which may in turn help people to limit the sweet intake.
Gymnena sylvestre has also been seen to have a positive effect on the blood cholesterol levels. The active components have been seen to promote faecal excretion of cholesterol. This is a welcome addition as increase in blood cholesterol values is commonly seen in Diabetes patients. Cholesterols also increase in our body because of poor eating habits as well as lack of physical activity. So to have one molecule to tackle both diabetes and cholesterol would be a dream come true. Our ancestors have used Gymnena sylvestre in various systems of medicines in different forms.
Gymnema Sylvestre also called Gurmar in Indian context is useful in treating paralysis, pyuria, impotence, high cholesterol, obesity and is therapatic in treating Diabetes as follows
Like in the case of most medicinal plants the accurate dosage needs to be worked out along with the exact active ingredient for Diabetes, dyslipidemia and so on. In a study conducted by King’s College, London the water soluble extracts of Gymnema sylvestre caused reversible increase in intra cellular calcium and insulin secretion in mouse as well as human ß cells. In this study a concentration of 0.125mg/ml was used and the encouraging results were seen without any compromise on the cell viability.
Nature has been our source of inspiration in many aspects of life. In this case the available literature shows Gymnema sylvestre is the one & only herb which can become an answer for control of sweet tooth, Control blood sugars as well as keep a check on the blood cholesterol levels. Apart from this the same plant is also known to be a very good laxative, Diuretic and cough suppressant. There are very few drugs in our artillery which work on multiple systems of the human body.
Shanmugasundaram et al., (1990) investigated that patients received 200 mg Gymnema powder twice daily in addition to their usual doses of insulin, mean glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA 1c) decreased significantly from baseline (12.8 to 9.5%) in 6 months, in a controlled trial of patients with type 1 diabetes. Mozersky, (1999) reported that 22 patients were given G. sylvestre extract along with their oral hypoglycemic drugs. All patients demonstrated improved blood sugar control. Twenty-one out of the twenty-two were able to reduce their oral hypoglycemic drug dosage considerably, and five patients were able to discontinue their oral medication and maintain blood sugar control with the extract alone. you can refer the publication on Gymnema sylvestre here.
Take 5 gms (One-third to half tea-spoon) 2 times a day Gurmar Powder with water 1 hrs before meals. Take first dose before breakfast. If you are mixing with other herbs, use Gurmar proportionately or consult your health care provider. Pregnant/Lactating women, children or with any known pre-existing condition one should take under the advice of your health care provider.
Finally all that we can wonder is how advanced our native medicines were and how did our ancestors find out the beneficial effects of these plants without any advanced techniques. All we can say is observing and living in harmony with nature can be the remedy to our problems. The priority definitely goes to the modern day epidemic – DIABETES!!
Dr.Riyaz Sheriff. Diabetologist by profession. He passed out of medical school in 2005. Diabetes always interested him. With an idea to help people take an informed health decision at times of need he connects via www.riyazsheena.blogspot.in His idea is to spread the message of Diabetes by use of the most powerful tool of recent time – The internet!
Dr. Riyaz Sheriff Author
Buy Gurmar only from Authentic Ayurvedic products sellers who are in the business from long time, because if it is not original it will not work. I recommend Gurmar powder prodcused by herbal hills.
2 x 100gms packets cost INR 176.