Gymnema has been used for centuries throughout the world for medical purposes. Only recently has it gained popularity in the Western world. The herb grows naturally in Africa and India. It is traded all over the world. Generally, the leaves are the part used. However, the root seems to supply some medicinal properties as well. The plant is a vine-like woody plant that can be found growing on bushes and small tress. It is a member of the milkweed family.
Gymnema has been used by Ayurvedic physicians to treat ailments such as stomach problems, diabetes, and urinary disorders for more than two thousand years. Early physicians found that chewing some of the leaves helped an individual to lose a taste for sweets. Modern scientific research has confirmed that gymnemic acid, the active ingredient, blacks the taste of sugar and blocks sugar’s absorption by the body. It is also thought the gymnema suppresses the taste of saccharin and clycamate, which are two common artificial sweeteners. A study done in 1986 also suggests that this herb is able to significantly increase liver and pancreatic function. This ability is promising for diabetes, obesity, hypoglycemia, allergies, anemia, and osteoporosis.
This herb is used for blocking the passages that sugar is normally absorbed. This prevents calories from being absorbed and blood sugar levels are not so drastically affected. The herb is also thought to block the body’s desire for sweets. One study found a link between the taste buds and the absorption of sugar in the intestines. Because gymnemic acid, found in gymnema, has a molecular structure similar to sugar, these molecules can fill in the receptor locations on the taste buds temporarily, preventing the taste buds from being activated by the sugar eaten. The same basic thing happens in intestines, as the structure of tissue in the intestines is similar to the taste-bud structure that detects sugar. The gymenmic acid fills in the receptors in the intestines, which prevents absorption.
One of the most promising uses of gymnema may be in cases of diabetes. Research on animals has found that a reduction of blood sugar levels occurs after the consumption of gymnema extract. The herb may help to reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetic individuals on insulin therapy. The herb is found in combinations that are often associated with controlling blood glucose levels and metabolism. Gymnema seems to be successful in some cases of diabetes. Additionally, the herb has been found to actually improve both liver and pancreatic function.
Over time, this herb has proven to be a nontoxic remedy. Gymnema is used for many conditions. Among these are diabetes, digestion, urinary tract problems, obesity, hypoglycemia, allergies, anemia, cholesterol, and hyperactivity. Gymnema may be a useful remedy in the concern over sugar and sugar-related problems, along with many other medical ailments.
In short, the leaves and roots of the gymnema plant are used to provide antiperiodic, diuretic, and stomachic properties. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in dealing with diabetes, hyperactivity, and hypoglycemia. Additionally, gymnema is very helpful in treating allergies, anemia, high cholesterol, gastric disorders, indigestion, obesity, and weight conditions. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by gymnema, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
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