Gymnema sylvestre (GS) is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries to help control blood sugar levels. It is native to central and southern Indian tropical forests.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) find “good scientific evidence” that GS is useful in controlling blood sugar levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetics when used in conjunction with other medications as prescribed by a doctor.
There are 3 primary mechanisms for GS effectiveness:
IMPROVES BETA CELL FUNCTION
This herb has been shown to improve blood glucose levels but also regenerate the beta cells of the pancreas! It is the beta cells that are responsible for the production and secretion of insulin from the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body begins attacking and eventually eliminating these cells resulting in an absence of insulin.
It is the improvement in Beta Cell function that can REVERSE Type 2 diabetes.
IMPROVED INSULIN RECEPTOR ACTIVITY
GS may also improve the activity of the insulin receptors so that insulin has a better effect. This is a major effect for many people with insulin resistance, especially those with Type 2 Diabetes.
GS typically lowers the amount of insulin or other diabetic medications required in order to maintain blood sugar control.
DECREASED SWEET TASTE
GS decreases the sweet taste associated with sweet foods. This is particularly true when a tincture of GS is placed on the tongue. This effect appears to be due to the presence of gymnemic acids in the herb.
Most physician recommend 300-500mg tablets take about 5 minutes before eating something sweet. You could also place the tablet on your tongue anytime a sweet craving occurs and suck on it as long as you can (then swallow the rest). The effects last up to 2 hours.
Many recommend taking GS with each meal and the effects appear to ‘build-up’ over a few weeks to become more effective. It is very safe in adults but can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if you take too much or take it in conjunction with other glucose lowering medications.
GS also has been shown to improve weight loss and reduce Triglycerides & LDL (cholesterol).