GYMNEMA Overview Information
Gymnema is a woody climbing shrub native to India and Africa. The leaves are used to make medicine. Gymnema has a long history of use in India’s Ayurvedic medicine. The Hindi name, gurmar, means "destroyer of sugar."
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 diuretic.
How does it work?
Gymnema contains substances that decrease the absorption of sugar from the intestine. Gymnema may also increase 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.
- Diabetes. Developing research suggests that taking a specific gymnema extract (GS4) by mouth, in combination with insulin or diabetes medications, can enhance blood sugar reduction in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Weight loss.
- Stimulating digestion.
- Snake bites.
- Softening the stool (laxative).
- Increasing urine excretion (diuretic).
GYMNEMA Side Effects & Safety
Gymnema appears to be safe when used appropriately for up to 20 months.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using gymnema during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Diabetes: Gymnema can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use gymnema.
Surgery: Gymnema might affect blood glucose levels and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. Stop using gymnema at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Insulin interacts with GYMNEMA
Gymnema might decrease blood sugar. Insulin is also used to decrease blood sugar. Taking gymnema along with insulin might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your insulin might need to be changed.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with GYMNEMA
Gymnema supplements seem to lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking gymnema along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
The appropriate dose of gymnema depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for gymnema. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.