Herb-Gurmar

Gurmar
(Gymnema sylvestre)

Part Used: Root & leaves

Habitat:
G. sylvestre is a woody, climbing herb indigenous to the tropical forests of central and southern India. The plant belongs to Kingdom Plantae with Division Angiospermae and Class Dicotyledoneae. Gymnema is native to south-Indian forests.

Introduction:
G. sylvestre (Asclepiadaceae) a vulnerable species is a slow growing, perennial, medicinal woody climber found in central and peninsular India. Its leaves, called “Gurmar” in India,
are well known for their sweet taste suppressing activity and are used for the treatment of diabetes mellitus for over 2000 year, hence the name “Gurmar” meaning 'sugar destroying'. It is used in food additives against obesity.

Gymnema sylvestre is a woody, climbing plant, native to India. The leaves of this plant have been used in India for over 2000 years to treat madhu meha, or “honey urine.” Chewing the leaves destroys the ability to discriminate the “sweet” taste, giving it its common name, gurmar, or “sugar destroyer.”
Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science Vol. 2 (12), pp. 001-006, December, 2012

Mechanism of Action:
Gymnema increases the number of insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas and reduces blood sugar to normal level. This also increases the activity of enzymes responsible for glucose uptake and utilization, and inhibits peripheral utilization of glucose.
Alternative Medicine Review; Volume 4, Number 1, 1999

Pharmacological Actions:

Antidiabetic or hypoglycemic Effect – G. sylvestre reduces blood glucose levels may be due to increase the activity of enzymes responsible for utilization of glucose by insulin-dependent pathway or regenerate beta cells in pancreatic islets of langerhans.
Global Journal of Biotechnology & Biochemistry 4 (1): 37-42, 2009

Hypolipidemic Effect – G. sylvestre helps to reduce the elevated serum triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol.

Obesity or Weight Loss – Obesity is associated with Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and characterized by the increased storage of triglycerides (fat molecules) in adipose tissue thereby causing insulin resistance. It could also be defined as the condition of a human being in which the body contains more fat than required and which can lead to a disease state. This plant helps to reduce body weight, and percentage of body fat and absolute fat mass.
Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science Vol. 2 (12), pp. 001-006, December, 2012

Clinical Studies:

According to an open label study published in the journal of Diet Supplementation, 2010; G. sylvestre helps to reduce polyphagia, fatigue, blood glucose (fasting and post-prandial), and glycated hemoglobin. This also has a positive effect on lipid profiles.
J Diet Suppl. 2010 Sep;7(3):273-82. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2010.505901.

Conclusion:
G. sylvestre or gurmar is known for its antidiabetic potential since ancient time. Its name ‘gurmar’ itself depicts that it is the destroyer of sugar, therefore it is clear that it is named so because of its use in diabetes.