Gymnema plant for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

The gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre) is a plant of the Asclepiadaceae family. Known as the anti-sugar plant par excellence, it is useful for those who suffer from diabetes or want to lose weight. Let’s find out better.

Properties of the gymnema

Gymnema leaves contain a mixture of at least nine glycosidic acids with a very similar structure, the most active component of which is gymnemic acid A1, which performs a hypoglycemic action through two main mechanisms: it inhibits the absorption of sugars in the intestine; and stimulates the metabolic transformation of glucose at the cellular level.

Studies have shown that this active ingredient has a molecule similar to that of sugar, but larger, so it binds to intestinal receptors, used for the absorption of sucrose, reversibly blocking them. This block occurs quickly and lasts for many hours, especially if the doses are repeated throughout the day, preventing the absorption of sugar by 50%. The intake of Gymnema is therefore indicated in case of diabetes or dietary hyperglycemia.  

The plant also has an “anti-sweet” action, in fact, by putting a small amount of gymnema on the tongue, within a few moments the perception of sweet and bitter is canceled (instead, leaving the perception of salty, acid and metallic taste unaltered), and you have less desire for “sweet”.

The ability of Gymnema to synthesize and facilitate the disposal of sugars also gives it a slimming action, promoting weight loss, due to a diet rich in sugars and carbohydrates (complex sugars) such as sweets, bread and pasta: Gymnema is therefore a valid specific remedy for the “gluttonous”.

How to use

INTERNAL USE: 500-1000 mg per day of dry extract in the form of tablets or capsules 
Two doses in the middle of the morning and mid-afternoon.

Contraindications of gymnema

It should be borne in mind that gymnema enhances the action of oral hypoglycemic agents and insulin, therefore the simultaneous intake of these drugs with gymnema is not recommended, to avoid hypoglycemic crises or requires a reduction of the dosage, under close medical supervision.

Description of the plant

Large climbing plant, very branched, climbs up to the top of large trees. The leaves are opposite, oval or elliptical, petiolate, more or less pubescent on both sides and have a bitter and acrid taste. The yellow bell-shaped flowers are grouped in pedunculated or almost sessile racemes.

The habitat of the gymnema

Native to India, Pakistan and Ceylon; it is also widespread in the tropical forests of Africa, Asia and Australia


Gymnema has been used for centuries in India, by Ayurvedic medicine, to reduce blood sugar in diabetic patients and to prevent and treat eye diseases, related to opacification of the lens, cornea, vitreous body (cataract etc.).

Among the inhabitants of Bombay and Gujarat there was the custom of chewing fresh leaves to reduce glycosuria (Madhumeha): the belief in the effectiveness of this remedy was so deeply rooted that even today many diabetics cultivate the plant in their garden. In Hindi it is called Gur mar which means “destroyer of sugars”.

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