Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gymnema Diabetes Blood Sugar Control

Gymnema or Gymnema Sylvestre is also known as "Meshashringi" or "Ram's Horn" in Sanskrit. Its Hindi name "Gurmar" however reflects the true reason why Gymnema is such an important ayurvedic herb in controlling blood sugar levels and diabetes. While gymnema was originally used in Southern India as a potent snake bite remedy, it was discovered that chewing the leaves of this plant instantly causes taste buds to repulse sugar.
Gymnema Diabetes Blood Sugar Control

Extensive research on this plant has shown its anti-diabetic property. It inhibits plasma glucose and serum insulin thus controlling blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that this hypoglycaemic activity of Gymnema may be caused through stimulation of insulin release, stimulation of enzymes responsible for glucose uptake and utilisation and/or inhibition of intestinal absorption of glucose. Also by its remarkable ability to cause taste buds to become insensitive to sweet taste for a few hours it aids in diet control and weight loss.

A controlled study on insulin-dependent diabetics found that a water-soluble Gymnema extract (400 mg/day corresponding to about 8 g of starting dried herb) reduced insulin requirements (by about 50%). Over the duration of treatment Gymnema lowered fasting mean blood glucose (by about 35%), glycosylated haemoglobin and glycosylated plasma protein levels from baseline values. Cholesterol was significantly reduced and brought to near normal levels. Triglycerides, free fatty acids and serum amylase were also lowered. The treatment period ranged from 6-30 months. The significant decrease in glycosylated haemoglobin occurred after 6-8 months of Gymnema treatment but remained significantly higher than normal values. None of these reductions were observed in control patients on insulin therapy alone who were studied over a period of 10-12 months. The authors suggested that Gymnema enhanced endogenous insulin production, possibly by pancreatic regeneration, as levels of C-peptide, a by-product of the conversion of proinsulin to insulin, were apparently raised (in comparison to both the insulin alone group and normal subjects).


Himalaya Herbals company

Brala PM et al. Physiol Behav 1983; 30: 1

Shanmugasundaram ER et al. J Ethnopharmacol 1990; 30: 281

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