Latin name: Gymnema sylvestre R.Br. (Asclepiadaceae)
Sanskrit/Indian name: Meshashringi, Vishani, Madhunashini, Gurmar, Merasingi
Gymnema is native to the tropical forests of Central and South India. The herb supports the normal function of the specialized beta cells of the pancreas which secrete insulin and normalize blood sugar levels. Its Sanskrit name Meshashringi means ‘sugar destroyer’ in Hindi. It has been used in India since the sixth century BC to support normal blood sugar levels in the body.
Therapeutic constituents:The key component of Gymnema leaves is gymnemic acid, which decreases the effect of sucrose when chewed, thus reducing the craving for sweet foods.
Key therapeutic benefits:
- Gymnemic acid prevents the binding of carbohydrates to the intestine receptors so that the glucose absorption by the intestines is inhibited and ‘empty calories’ are not stored. This action promotes weight loss.
- Gymnemic acid has antidiabetic properties, which reduce blood sugar considerably.