What is Gymnema?
Gymnema Sylvestre is a plant that grows in the tropical forests of central and southern India and in parts of Africa. Herbalists in India have used the leaves of this long, slender plant as a treatment for diabetes for more than 2,000 years. The Hindu word "gumar," which means "sugar destroyer," describes the primary use of the herb in traditional Indian medicine. So strong is this herb that powered gymnema root has also been used to treat snake bites, constipation, stomach complaints, water retention, and liver disease. Doctors in India note that Gymnema Sylvestre is used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus and in food additives against obesity and caries. Gymnema is also reported to have anti-allergic, antiviral, lipid lowering, and other beneficial effects. Today, gymnema sylvestre is also known as gymnema, gurmar, gurmabooti, periploca of the woods, and meshasringi (ram's horn).
Gymnema sylvestre has only recently been introduced in Europe and the United States. However, extracts of this plant are widely used in Australian, Japananese, Vietnamese and Indian folk medicine.1