Gymnema Background and Benefits
Gymnema is a genus of flowering plants in the Apocynaceae family that contains about 120 species. Gymnema sylvestre is one of the most well-known species in this genus, and is typically known by just the genus name “gymnema.” Common names for Gymnema include cowplant, gurmari, gurmarbooti and meshasringa. It is also known as miracle fruit, although Thaumatococcus daniellii and Synsepalum dulcificum are also known by this common name. Gymnema originates from southern India and Sri Lanka.
Gymnemic acids are the most biologically active components in Gymnema leaves. These acids are classified chemically as triterpenoid saponins, and individual acids in this group include gymnemic acids I-VII, gymnemasaponins and gymnemosides A-F. Additional classes of active components in Gymnema leaves include various anthraquinones, flavones and alkaloids. These leaves also contain specific components such as d-quercitol, butyric acid, formic acid and tartaric acid.
Chewing the leaves of G. sylvestre can suppress the taste of sugar for up to two hours. This effect is caused by the gymnemic acids, which block the tongue’s sugar receptors according to studies of rat neurons. Gymnema has been used in herbal medicine to help support the body’s natural ability to manage and regulate blood sugar levels for almost two thousand years. Additional historical uses of Gymnema leaves include support for digestive health and liver function.
Uses of Gymnema
The most common use of gymnema today is to help support the body’s natural ability to manage and regulate blood sugar levels. Many people also take it for weight management, digestive health and other purposes.
Metabolic syndrome support
Oral supplements of gymnema may help support the body’s natural ability to manage and regulate blood sugar levels. Many studies on this use of gymnema focus on a particular extract of gymnema known as GS4.
Gymnema may support digestive health by stimulating digestion and softening the stool. It may also increase urination.
Early research indicates that taking gymnema orally may help you maintain a healthy weight. These studies involved a combination of gymnema, hydroxycitric acid and chromium.
Signs You May Need Gymnema
The strongest indication that you may benefit from gymnema supplements is metabolic syndrome issues. People who have trouble controlling their appetite may also benefit from gymnema. Digestive signs that can indicate a need for gymnema include constipation and difficulty in digesting food. You may also need gymnema if you are retaining water.
Other Ingredients That May Be Of Interest
Bitter melon - The scientific name for bitter melon is Momordica charantia, which is also known as balsam-pear, bitter gourd and bitter squash. Small-scale studies show that bitter melon has a hypoglycemic effect in humans.
Indian Kino tree extract - The scientific name for the Indian Kino tree is Pterocarpus marsupium, which is also called Vijayasar. The high level of pterostilbene in Indian Kino tree extract may make it useful for helping support the body’s natural ability to manage and regulate blood sugar levels.
Synonyms and Similar Forms of Gymnema
Thaumatococcus daniellii, Synsepalum dulcificum