The Sugar Destroyer: An Ayurvedic Gem
Nicknamed the ‘sugar destroyer’ (1) in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Gymnema sylvestre is an herb that is has used for hundreds of year to control blood sugar levels. In my practice, I use Gymnema for it’s ability reduce sugar and carb cravings; this makes it a great adjunct to any diet changes the include reducing refined sugar.
Diabetes: A Lifestyle Disease
Assuming you’re already making the necessary dietary changes to manage blood sugar levels, you may want to consider some additional support in your new plan to get your body back on track.
Type II diabetes differs from type I diabetes in that, type II is mainly considered to be a “lifestyle” disease. This means that it occurs as a function of diet (high amounts of refined carbs and sugars), and average or below average levels of exercise. The good news here is that you can reverse or eliminate this disease by making gradual changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Gymnema for Insulin and Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes
Two studies conducted and published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology show promising effects for the use of Gymnema in diabetes.
A controlled study involving patients with insulin-dependent diabetes found that Gymnema extract reduced insulin requirements and fasting blood glucose compared with patients receiving insulin therapy alone.There was some suggestion that Gymnema increases endogenous insulin production and possibly pancreas regeneration.A second study by the same group found that the same Gymnema estraxt (400mg/day for 18 to 20 months) produced similar result for patients with non-insuling-dependent diabetes.1
Sugar & Carb Cravings
Often the biggest challenge in making dietary changes has to do with controlling cravings. Clinical research under double-blind , placebo-controlled conditions found that a concentrated Gymnema extract considerably diminished the sweet taste and significantly decreased appetite and the amount of calories consumed for up to 90 minutes after the sweet numbing effect.2
Suggested Use & Dosing
- Diabetes mellitus
- Reducing the sweet taste of foods
- Reducing appetite and calorie intake
- 3.5-11.0 mL of 1:1 liquid extract per day
- 1-2 tablets per day (400mg containing gymnemic acids 100 mg per tablet)
Gymnema contains a class of chemicals called saponins. Taken in liquid form, Gymnema (as with all saponin-containing herbs) may cause irritation of the gatric mucous membranes and acid reflux.
- Bone, Kerry. A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs. Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient: p. 269. Elsevier 2003.
- Brala PM, Hagen RL: Physiol Behav 30(1); 1-9, 1983.