Used in many fields of medicine, Gymnema is native to parts of India as well as tropical Africa and Australia. Natural healing modalities often employ the plant as a tea, for its potent anti-diabetic properties. Now, initial modern research suggests that Gymnema may also be useful in preventing and treating obesity.
The plant's active compound - a group of "gymnemic acids" - work to help curb diabetes by blocking sugar from accumulating in the body. Similarly, they help fight obesity by delaying glucose absorption, and blocking the binding of carbohydrates in the intestine. Essentially, this means that gymnemic acids may be helpful in warding off so-called "empty calories." Additionally, gymnemic acids prevent the activation of sugar molecules by the tongue, curbing sugar cravings. Finally, they prevent the absorption of sugar molecules by the intestine, which can help to lower blood sugar levels.
Research has shown that Gymnema leaf extract can impact diabetes by stimulating the pancreas to increase the release of insulin. More study is needed, but current hypotheses suggest that Gymnema may prove useful in both adult onset and juvenile diabetes mellitus. Gymnema leaves have also been noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides. When considering Gymnema treatments for any ailment, it is important to consult Dr. Bossio.
Photo credit. "Gymnema sylvestre" by Vinayaraj - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Gymnema sylvestre: A Memoir. National Center for Biotechnology Information. J Clin Biochem Nutr. Sep 2007; 41(2): 77-81. Published online Aug 29, 2007. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.2007010.
Image Attribution: Vinayaraj/wikimedia.com