Gymnema Sylvestre Health Benefits For Diabetes
Gymnema sylvestre is an herb native to the tropical forests of southern and central India and Sri Lanka. Chewing the leaves suppresses the sensation of sweet flavor. This effect is attributed to the eponymous gymnemic acids. G. sylvestre has been used in herbal medicine as a treatment for diabetes for nearly 2000 years.
Gymnema sylvestre seems to decrease the amounts of sugar that is absorbed from foods therefore blood sugar levels may not increase as much as usual after meals.
Gymnema may promote the the bodies production of insulin and possibly prompt the pancreas to develop more beta cells, the source of insulin. It may also make body cells more responsive to the insulin that is available.
Four years later it was shown that Gymnema sylvestre had a blood glucose lowering effect when there was residual pancreatic function, but had no effect in animals lacking pancreatic function, suggesting a direct effect on the pancreas.
Surprisingly, despite the promise of these early studies, scientific investigations into the effects of Gymnema sylvestre on diabetes was not resumed until 1981 when it was again proved that oral intake of the dried leaves of gymnema brings down blood glucose and raises blood insulin levels. This was demonstrated with an oral glucose tolerance test in diabetic animals and human volunteers.
It appeared that Gymnema sylvestre was a major discovery in the battle against one of the most common diseases in the world as abnormalities in beta cell number and/or function are directly related to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.