Herb Library: Natural Herbs and Herbal Supplements Directory: Gymnema Sylvestre


Gymnema Sylvestre

Gymnema Sylvestre


This fact sheet provides basic information about Gymnema Sylvestre. A vigorous climbing vine, Gymnema (also known as Gymnema Sylvestre) is native to the jungles and meadows of southern India. Its leaves are used medicinally and when chewed directly appear to interfere with ability to taste sweet foods. For this reason the herb is known in Hindi as gurmar, or sugar destroyer.

Gymnema has played an important role in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Its use has been confined primarily to the management of diabetes mellitus and similar hypo/hyperglycemic conditions. As early as 1930, the pharmacologic effect of the plant was investigated. The leaves also have been used for stomach ailments, constipation, water retention, and liver disease. The flowers, leaves, and fruits have been used in the treatment of either high or low blood pressure, tachycardia, and arrhythmias.

Common Names

Meshashringi, Gurmar, Merasingi, Periploca of the Woods

Latin Names

Gymnema sylvestre

What It Is Used For

  • The plant has been used in traditional medicine, most notably to control blood glucose. Use as a lipid-lowering agent, for weight loss, and inhibition of caries also has been investigated. However, little to no clinical information is available to support the use of gymnema for any indication.

How It Is Used

Typically, clinical studies investigating antidiabetic effects have used 200 or 400 mg of an extract standardized to contain 25% gymnemic acids administered twice daily.

What the Science Says

  • Gymnema sylvestre needs more studying before it can be recommended as a medical supplement.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Because gymnema sylvestre may lower blood sugar levels, individuals who have diabetes should use this herb with caution.


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