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Gymnema Sylvestre: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More

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Struggling with sugar cravings? You may have heard before of Gymnema sylvestre, a unique herb nicknamed the “sugar destroyer.”

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The leaves of this plant possess compounds that can temporarily neutralize sweet tastes, making it an ideal companion for people who struggle to keep their sweet tooth under control.

However, it may also help with weight management and blood sugar control.

In this guide to Gymnema sylvestre, we’ll review its benefits, potential side effects, and how to use it safely.

What is Gymnema Sylvestre?

Gymnema sylvestre is a plant native to Asia, Africa, and Australia. It’s a woody, climbing vine, and the leaves have historically been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

In the Hindi language, the plant is called “gurmar” – which means “sugar destroyer.”

It’s now used as a dietary supplement, and it’s available as a liquid extract, in capsule form, and as an herbal tea.

What is Gymnema Sylvestre Used for?

G. sylvestre contains phytochemicals called gymnemic acids. These compounds can actually neutralize the sweet taste of sugars and zero-calorie sweeteners (*).

For this reason, it’s often used to block the taste of sugar in people who are trying to limit how much sugar they consume.

In addition, it may offer many other benefits related to blood sugar control, weight management, and heart health.

Potential Health Benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre

G. sylvestre provide a host of potential health benefits, including:

  • Reducing sugar cravings: One of the key reasons people may use G. sylvestre is for its effects on appetite and sweet tastes. The gymnemic acids in this supplement can help to neutralize the sweetness of sugars and zero-calorie sweeteners, making it potentially helpful for reducing sugar cravings and calorie intake in people who are trying to lose weight. However, one study found that, while G. sylvestre made sweets taste less pleasant, it didn’t significantly reduce consumption of sweets over a 14-day period (*).
  • Promoting weight loss: Due to its effects on the taste of sugar and on blood sugar management, G. sylvestre may help to promote weight loss. In one 12-week study, study participants who received 600 mg of G. sylvestre per day lost a significant amount of weight compared to the placebo group (*, *).
  • Blood sugar regulation: In a meta-analysis of 10 studies with a combined 419 participants, researchers found that G. sylvestre supplementation significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels, post-meal blood sugar levels, and hemoglobin A1c – which is a measure of glycemic control over three months. G. sylvestre could be a helpful tool for people with type 2 diabetes to help them better manage their blood sugar levels (*).
  • Improving heart health: Finally, G. sylvestre may help improve triglyceride and blood pressure levels – which could reduce heart disease risk (*).

Overall, G. sylvestre is a promising herbal supplement for blood sugar support, but there is a lack of high-quality human studies to support it. More well-designed studies in humans are needed to understand more about the benefits of this dietary supplement.

Possible Side Effects of Gymnema Sylvestre

In studies on G. sylvestre, researchers have noted that most side effects only occur with very high doses. Still, it’s important to be aware of these potential side effects. They include (*):

  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Weakness
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Muscle problems

In one case, researchers have also noted that G. sylvestre caused drug-induced liver injury in a patient with type 2 diabetes (*).

Gymnema Sylvestre Precautions

In addition to potential side effects, G. sylvestre may also interfere with certain medications, including antidiabetic drugs, phenacetin, and tolbutamide. Additionally, it could affect a large number of medications that are broken down by the liver. Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider before starting G. sylvestre if you’re taking any prescription medications (*).

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Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using G. sylvestre, and you should stop using it two weeks prior to any scheduled surgeries (*).

Gymnema Sylvestre Dosage

G. sylvestre is available in multiple forms. The proper dosage depends on which type you purchase.

To prepare G. sylvestre tea, one teaspoon should be steeped in six to eight ounces of hot water for five to 15 minutes. This tea can be consumed a few minutes prior to eating sugary foods to help block the sweet taste.

Studies on G. sylvestre capsules most often have used dosages of 600 mg per day.

When in doubt, it’s best to stick to the recommended daily dosage on your supplement label.

Gymnema Sylvestre

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to take Gymnema Sylvestre?

Most people take G. sylvestre in a capsule form. However, it is also available as a tea or in a liquid extract format. For reducing sweet tastes, it should be taken 10-15 minutes prior to eating a meal.

How long does it take for Gymnema Sylvestre to start working?

To dampen sweet tastes, G. sylvestre should be taken directly prior to eating something sweet. Otherwise, studies have shown significant benefits for blood sugar control in 12 weeks.

Is Gymnema Sylvestre safe for kidneys?

Yes, G. sylvestre appears to be safe and not harmful for kidney health. Some early animal research suggests it may actually protect the kidneys from damage caused by excessive blood sugar levels (*).

Is Gymnema Sylvestre safe for diabetics?

G. sylvestre appears to be mostly safe for people with diabetes. However, one case report has detailed an incidence of drug-induced liver injury in a person with diabetes caused by G. sylvestre. If you have diabetes, speak with your healthcare provider before you start using G. sylvestre (*).

Does Gymnema Sylvestre affect the liver?

In a single case report, G. sylvestre was shown to cause a liver injury in someone with type 2 diabetes. If you have liver disease, it’s best to avoid G. sylvestre supplementation (*).

The Bottom Line

As a dietary supplement, Gymnema sylvestre may help reduce sugar cravings, promote weight loss, improve blood sugar levels, and reduce heart disease risk.

However, it’s important to remember that there’s not a large body of high-quality research to support these uses. Existing research is very promising, but larger well-designed trials in humans are needed.

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Join 90k+ people who are losing weight with Keto Kickstart, our doctor-developed program designed to give you real weight loss results.

Finally, because there is some potential for side effects or complications from using G. sylvestre, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider before you start using it.

13 References

Sophie T et al. The Effect of a 14-Day gymnema sylvestre Intervention to Reduce Sugar Cravings in Adults. 2022 December 12

Sophie T et al. The Effect of a 14-Day gymnema sylvestre Intervention to Reduce Sugar Cravings in Adults. 2022 December 12

Mohammad Z et al. The effects of Gymnema Sylvestre supplementation on lipid profile, glycemic control, blood pressure, and anthropometric indices in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. 2023 March

Laura Y et al. Effect of Gymnema sylvestre Administration on Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Sensitivity, and Insulin Secretion. 2017 August

Suneel D et al. The effect of Gymnema sylvestre supplementation on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. 2021 December

Mohammad Z et al. The effects of Gymnema Sylvestre supplementation on lipid profile, glycemic control, blood pressure, and anthropometric indices in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. 2023 March

Pragya T et al. Phytochemical and Pharmacological Properties of Gymnema sylvestre: An Important Medicinal Plant. 2014 January 6

Arthur S et al. Toxic hepatitis induced by Gymnema sylvestre, a natural remedy for type 2 diabetes mellitus. 2010 December

MedlinePlus. Gymnema

MedlinePlus. Gymnema

Kunga M et al. Protective effect of Gymnema montanum against renal damage in experimental diabetic rats. 2009 October

Arthur S et al. Toxic hepatitis induced by Gymnema sylvestre, a natural remedy for type 2 diabetes mellitus. 2010 December

Arthur S et al. Toxic hepatitis induced by Gymnema sylvestre, a natural remedy for type 2 diabetes mellitus. 2010 December

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