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What is Gymnema Sylvestre?

By R. Kayne
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Gymnema sylvestre is a plant used in India and parts of Asia as a natural treatment for diabetes or “sweet urine.” The herb’s active ingredient, gymnemic acid, is extracted from leaves and roots, and helps to lower and balance blood sugar levels. The unique shape of gymnemic acid molecules are similar to that of glucose, allowing it to fill cell receptors in the lining the intestines, thereby preventing uptake of sugar molecules.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) find “good scientific evidence” that gymnema sylvestre can be helpful in controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes when used in conjunction with insulin and other medications as prescribed by a doctor. It is important that people with existing blood sugar issues talk to their doctors before adding gymnema sylvestre to their diet, as insulin or other medications may need to be reduced.

In healthy adults gymnema sylvestre is believed to help curb cravings for sweets. Though not a magic bullet, when taken with a high-carbohydrate meal or a meal high in sugar, it can aid the body by passing through sugars and making carbs available for burning, rather than turning these into fat stores. In this way it helps to build lean muscle mass.

Supporters of gymnema sylvestre claim the herb also lowers triglycerides and “bad cholesterol.” The NLM and NIH acknowledge that preliminary human studies with patients having type 2 diabetes tend to back this claim, but believe stronger research is required before a determination can be positively made.

The Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbal supplements, and the quality of herbs varies between and within brands. A method called standardization indicates how much of the active ingredient is present in herbs.

Quality gymnema sylvestre should be standardized to a minimum of 25% gymnemic acid. A single 500-milligram (mg) capsule standardized to 25% yields 125mg of active gymnema acid per capsule. Note that a 150 mg capsule standardized to 75% gymnemic acid yields 112.5 mg gymnemic acid per capsule– nearly the same amount of the active ingredient. Always consider the standardization when taking dosage into account.

Along with a healthy diet and exercise, gymnema sylvestre can be a helpful addition to your weight-loss plan. Note that it builds up in the system over a few weeks time becoming more effective. Since it is recommended that gymnema sylvestre be taken with each meal, it is better to get a lower-milligram capsule that can be taken three times a day to reach the full daily suggested dose. Aside from purchasing it as a stand-alone, it is also commonly available in natural weight-loss products, often with chromium and cambogia gordonii together.

Gymnema sylvestre has been deemed very safe for adults at suggested doses. If pregnant or lactating, do not take this herb due to lack of research and potential impact on the baby. Those will allergies to the milkweed family might experience allergic reactions to gymnema sylvestre. As always, check with your doctor before beginning a new health routine, particularly if you are diabetic or prone to issues involving blood sugar.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon995514 — On May 06, 2016

@Post no. 41: You said you bought this for $20 for a year supply. I would love to have the address. I take this along with Ralph's lipoic acid, cinnamon and turmeric daily. I put the tablespoon of cinnamon and turmeric in my avocado green apple smoothie daily. I was a type 2 diabetic. I was taking 35 units of insulin, 2000 mg metformin and 80 mg glipizide. I now take none of that. All natural is my new life style. I now read the labels and google all ingredients. I changed to coconut flour, coconut sugar, coconut oil and gluten free. I eat only protein for breakfast and that makes my body burn stored fat for energy.

By anon938114 — On Mar 08, 2014

Does anyone know if you can buy it in plant form either in Australia or internationally (with shipping to Australia)? I need it in its complete form to press for a university project. Any help would be appreciated as search engines have been fruitless.

By anon351683 — On Oct 16, 2013

My name is Daniel and I am a Type 1 diabetic. I have had fantastic results with Gymnema and I continue to use it daily. I order extract (75 perent gymnemic acids) directly from India, and it is *very* cheap, around $20 for a full year's supply. I am also working on developing a time-release capsule of it. It works!

By anon322090 — On Feb 25, 2013

It really works. Eat right and your sugar will stay under 200 at all times.

By anon274880 — On Jun 14, 2012

I am type two diabetic, live in Kenya and have used gymnema sylvestre I bought from Nakumatt Supermarket. It was in form of capsules and looked greenish. I used it but did not feel any change, maybe I was under dosing because I was taking one capsule per day. Any advice from someone who has used the same and got good results?

By anon268020 — On May 12, 2012

Gymnema sylvestre is a traditional ayurvedic plant to reduce blood glucose level as well as triglycerides. The plant is available in Kerala (India). Villagers use it by powdering the dried leaves and stems, two tablespoons powder in one liter of boiling water 4 or 5 times daily will get a good result.

By anon139876 — On Jan 06, 2011

Are Gymnema sylvestre and ericostemma lottirale one and the same?

By anon128017 — On Nov 18, 2010

Please where can i get this in nigeria. Please let me know.

By anon126822 — On Nov 14, 2010

In Telugu it is Podapatra or Podapatri.

By anon123986 — On Nov 04, 2010

To the person who is asking about getting this herb in Australia, I just bought a bottle in a health shop in Melbourne, and it is by a very reputable Australian company called Thompson's. I have used this company's herbs and vitamins before and they are always excellent and well priced.

I think if you try a good health food and vitamin store you will find it, esp in the large cities. I bought mine in Elizabeth street, in the Melbourne CBD.

By anon117962 — On Oct 12, 2010

I started this about a month ago and whatever is in it definitely works. I have dropped 10 pounds and now noticing the big effects of what things taste like (change) with sugar. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, thus keeping me from having those cravings.

I was eating sweets all the time and now I simply don't want them. Also known that it helps digest and pass through sugars through the intestinal tract which means they're not being turned into fat. I have been weighing once a week and the results are just wonderful.

I also was borderline diabetic so I will keep checking my levels there as well. I would recommend this to anyone. by the way I got my online from a reputable company and my label is Natrol Gymnema Sylvestre 300 mg.

By anon85252 — On May 19, 2010

where can I find gymnema sylvestre in iraq?

By anon78284 — On Apr 17, 2010

The name is Sugar Blocker. Made by PharmaPure at Walmart for like $8.99!

By anon77033 — On Apr 13, 2010

Where can I find Gymnema sylvestre in India, Mumbai?

Please suggest? I have been just told that my sugar level is 262. Please advise?

By chirag26 — On Mar 14, 2010

I am 30 years old with type 2 diabetes. i read about gymnema sylvestre and would like to get this herb. I don't know what it called in India (Gujarat).

I am living in Australia. can you please tell me if it is available in Australia and also how can I use it?

By anon69981 — On Mar 11, 2010

@ anon8884: I would advise asking your doctor who deals with your diabetes rather than posting on a website.

@ anon12704: yes you will definitely get results with this from sweeteners such as aspartame.

@ nickz: yes it does although I would advise that you acquire it through other means.

By anon64556 — On Feb 08, 2010

Chackarakolli and kudampuli (malaylam) both are entirely different plants.

Kudampuli,(tamarind) we keralites use to prepare fish curry. Chackarakolli is a herb. Both in malayalam and tamil it is known as chakkarakolli.

By anon50913 — On Nov 02, 2009

In Hindi Gymnema is called "gurmar" which means "destroyer of sugar."

By anon46317 — On Sep 24, 2009

what is the name in india(telugu)?

By anon44350 — On Sep 07, 2009

I think if the author had mentioned that this herb has been used in India for thousands of years to treat diabetes it would have answered some of the questions here. With that said there is ample evidence that it works. Otherwise people would have simply given up and gone on to something else after this much time. This is not a magic bullet but it will lower the amount of insulin or oral medications that you use to treat diabetes.

Since there are no standards for potency in the herbal supplement industry I would suggest people stick with the same name brand for at least six weeks.

By anon41785 — On Aug 17, 2009

what is Gymnema sylvestre in Punjabi?

By anon40149 — On Aug 06, 2009

why do you have to stop taking gymnema sylvestre 2 weeks before having surgery?

By anon35304 — On Jul 03, 2009

what is the indian name of this plant? i am from brunei. i need to have it now

By anon33974 — On Jun 15, 2009

Being a diabetic patient, I've been advised to take Gymnema tablets made by Tianjin Tianshi India PVT. LTD.

* Will it help to reduce my sugar level?

* Do I need to test the medicine before I have it?

By anon31647 — On May 08, 2009

What is the name in Indonesia?

By anon12704 — On May 12, 2008

If you use artificial sweetners, do you still get results with Gymnema sylvestre?

By anon8884 — On Feb 23, 2008

I am on 4 times a day insulin dependent diabetic. Please advise if Gymnema Sylvestra is suitable for me.



By anon4449 — On Oct 18, 2007

Gymnema sylvestre from China or India may differ in their gymnemic acid contents, that which is responsible for the anti-sweetness activity.

that said, you do need to be sure your source of this material, especially as an extract, comes from a safe source and is extracted in an approved manner.

as far as it causing weight loss, this more makes sweet foods taste less good. if you find these are a big part of your diet, you may lose weight. however, if you simply replace these foods with proteins or salty snacks high in fat, one would predict the effect would be less profound. 30lbs just on this product? maybe if all you ever eat is sweets. otherwise, considering adding exercise to your regime.

By anon3689 — On Sep 11, 2007

I personally feel, with all the contamination and neglect in China, I would definitely not use herbs from China, until they are certified by GMP.

By nickz — On Jun 29, 2007

Dear sir,

I know there is a kind of plant also called Gymnema sylvestre in south of china.Does it have the same effects of gymnema which lives in india?Thank you!

By petch — On May 23, 2007

I am just now starting Gymnema sylvestre combined with Super Citrimax with Chromium. (5/23/07) I hope to lose 30 pounds.

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