A new review examined the supporting evidence of gymnema for the treatment of diabetes.
Preliminary human evidence suggests that gymnema may be efficacious for the management of blood sugar levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as an adjunct to conventional drug therapy, for up to 20 months. Some of the available research has been conducted by authors affiliated with manufacturers of gymnema products.
Gymnema leaves have been used for over 2,000 years in India to treat madhu meha, or "honey urine." Traditional healers observed that chewing the leaves of gymnema resulted in a reversible loss of sweet-taste perception.
The plant has also been used in African healing traditions, for example by Tanzanian healers as an aphrodisiac. Other traditional applications include use as an anti-malarial agent, digestive stimulant, laxative, diuretic and snake venom antidote.
Researchers from the University of South Australia explained that across the globe, there are an estimated 150 million people suffering from diabetes. Each of these people is at increased risk of developing a number of complications, each of which are associated with a reduction in quality of life and an increase in individual morbidity and mortality.
However, despite these psychosocial implications, as well as the financial burden associated with the management of the disease, existing treatment options are costly, and have limited, palliative effects.
The study authors concluded that emerging as a potential panacea for the management of diabetes is Gymnema sylvestre.
1.Leach MJ. Gymnema sylvestre for Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review. J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Nov;13(9):977-84. View Abstract.
2.Natural Standard Research Collaboration: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. http://www.naturalstandard.com/ Copyright © 2007.