Principal Proposed Uses
Native to the forests of India, Gymnema sylvestre (also called gumar) has a coincidental double relationship to sugar: When placed on the tongue, it blocks the sensation of sweetness, and when taken internally, it might help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. (There doesn’t seem to be any connection between these two uses.)
What Is Gymnema Used for Today?
Gymnema is usually taken at a dosage of 400 to 600 mg daily of an extract standardized to contain 24% gymnemic acid.
When used in appropriate dosages, gymnema appears to be fairly safe, although extensive studies have not been performed. One obvious risk is that if gymnema is successful, it may lower blood sugar levels too far, causing a dangerous hypoglycemic reaction. For this reason, medical supervision is essential.
Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe kidney or liver disease has not been established.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking insulin or oral medications to reduce blood sugar levels, gymnema might cause them to work even better, potentially causing hypoglycemia. Therefore, you may need to reduce your dose of medication.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -