Gymnema sylvestre is a herb native to the tropical forests of southern and central India where it's been used as a natural treatment for diabetes. The Hindi name, Gurmar, means "destroyer of sugar," and has been used in Ayurveda since the 6th century BC as a safe and natural approach to help regulate sugar metabolism.
Gymnema helps raise the level of insulin in the blood, helping the body control blood sugar. Gymnema contains substances that decrease the absorption of sugar from the intestine. Gymnema also increases the amount of insulin in the body and increase the growth of cells in the pancreas, which is the place in the body where insulin is made, increasing the efficiency with which insulin is released in the body and by making body cells more sensitive to insulin. Developing research suggests that taking gymnema in combination with insulin or diabetes medications can enhance blood sugar reduction in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Gymnema may have moderate interaction with medications. Gymnema might decrease blood sugar. Taking gymnema along with insulin might cause your blood sugar to be too low (hypoglycemia). Monitor your blood sugar closely.
For weight loss and those in low-carb or ketogenic (keto) diets, Gymnema reduces the taste of sugar and some use it to fight sugar cravings; this effect lasts up to about two hours. Today, gymnema is used for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, weight loss, and cough. It is also used for malaria and as a snake bite antidote, digestive stimulant, laxative, appetite suppressant, and a diuretic.
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