Health Benefits of Gurmar (Gymnema sylvestre)

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Gurmar Quick Facts
Name: Gurmar
Scientific Name: Gymnema sylvestre
Origin Tropical forests of southern and central India and SriLanka.
Taste Astringent, Bitter
Gurmar also known as Gymnema Sylvestre is a perennial woody vine grown in tropical areas of Africa, India and Australia. It is also known as Australian cowplant, gymnema, Periploca of the woods. It is a staple herb of Ayurvedic apothecary used traditionally to balance the level of blood sugars. It supports pancreas functions. Leaves and extracts possess gymnemic acids which is the major bioactive constituents that interact with taste receptors on the tongue to suppress the taste of sweetness.

Plant

Gurmar is a climber plant having leaves with soft hairs on the upper surface. Leaves are elongate and oval shaped. Flowers are small, umbelliferous inflorescence which blooms throughout the year.

Health Benefits of Gurmar

  1. Halt sugar cravings

Gurmar is known for its ability to lower perception of sweet flavors and lower cravings for sweets and sugars. People with ketosis if experienced occasional sweet tooth may find beneficial to add Gymnema sylvestre by avoiding sugar and sweet treats by making it less appealing.

  1. Weight loss

Gymnema and its extracts is beneficial to lose weight. In humans and rats, Gymnema shows anti-obesity effect and prevent weight gain and improve health markers related with being overweight. Gymnema sylvestre when taken before meals by overweight people tends to eat less. It lowers body weight by stimulating the central nervous system by managing stress, disrupt sleep and alter cortisol levels. Also it lowered the body weight to normal levels in obese rats. It makes transition to low carb intake easier and lowers the adverse effects of consuming too much carbs and sugar.

  1. Manage blood sugar

Gymnema is helpful for diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It controls blood sugar and also reduces the levels of high blood glucose. It improves insulin response to food and lowers the dependence on insulin therapy and oral diabetes drugs. It restores insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells and regenerates the damaged beta cells.        

  1. Antioxidant activity

Gymnema is loaded with antioxidants. Reactive oxygen species are also known as free radicals that causes oxidative stress in the human body. People who are overweight have low antioxidants and high levels of oxidative stress that is associated to high chances of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and fatty liver disease. Study shows that in obese rats, it boost antioxidant system and reduces strain on the body from being overweight.

  1. Prevent microbes

Research shows that Gymnema sylvestre possess antimicrobial activity. It is effective against Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria.

Traditional uses

  • Leaves are useful for constipation, stomach ailments, liver disease and water retention.
  • Leaves, flowers and fruits are used to treat high/low blood pressure, arrhythmias and tachycardia.
  • It eliminates bad odor from breast milk.
  • Flower and leaf extract is beneficial to maintain eye health.
  • Root bark is used to treat piles.
  • In Ayurvedic system of medicine, it is used for treating health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, malaria and snakebites.
  • It is also used to treat jaundice.
  • Leaf juice is use to avoid constipation.
  • It prevents formation of dental plaque.
  • It is helpful in treating phlegm and other respiratory infections.
  • It relieves colic pain and cures dropsy.

Dosage

Tea: Boil the leaves for about 5 minutes and then steep for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking.

Side effects

  • It may lower the blood pressure.
  • It could lead to side effects such as nausea, headache, shakiness, lightheadedness and dizziness.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=506007#null

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320151421_GYMNEMA_SYLVESTRE-AN_OVERVIEW

https://www.japsonline.com/admin/php/uploads/715_pdf.pdf

http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Gurmar.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnema_sylvestre

https://www.ekgaon.com/index.php?id_product=12&controller=product

https://www.medicinenet.com/gymnema/supplements-vitamins.htm

https://www.homeremediess.com/gurmar-medicinal-plant-uses-and-images/

https://www.herbsforever.com/Gurmar-Powder-Organic

https://www.bimbima.com/herbs/gymnema-sylvestre/4104/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gymnema-sylvestre-benefits#section1

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