Gymnema leaves
A bunch of gymnema leaves

A gymnema monograph for the home

Gymnema at a glance

Scientific name: Gymnema sylvestre

Common names: gymnema, gurmar, Australian cow plant

Family name: Aslepiadaeceae

Part(s) of the plant used: leaf

Native region and environment: a perennial vine native to Asia (including the Arabian Peninsula), Africa, and Australia; gymnema is a slow growing, perennial, woody climber, distributed throughout India, in dry forests up to 600 m height. It is mainly present in the tropical forests of Central and Southern India. It’s is a climber with soft hairs on the upper leaf surface.

This gymnema monograph provides basic information about gymnema—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information. Browse more herbal monographs.


History of gymnema use

Gymnema has a long history of use in India’s Ayurvedic medicine. “It has deep roots in history, being one of the major botanicals used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine to treat conditions ranging from diabetes and malaria to snakebites.”[1] Healers in India and China have used gymnema to treat diabetes for 2,000 years. “The leaves of the plant in particular are used as a digestive, antiviral, diuretic, antiallergic, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, and anti-obesity agent for the treatment of diabetes, obesity, and dental caries.”[2]


Gymnema constituents & diabetes

Gymnema is known as the sugar destroyer in Hindi, which makes it super helpful for those with T2DM. The leaves contain gymnemic acids, the major bioactive constituents that interact with taste receptors on the tongue to temporarily suppress the taste of sweetness. They also contain saponins and other organic compounds like resins, chlorophyll, and carbohydrates.[3] The gymnemasaponins are likely to be responsible for the hypoglycemic and antisaccharin effect of the plant. Studies have shown that gymnema reduced blood glucose levels in patients with type 1 diabetes orally administered 400 mg of a gymnema extract daily for 10 to 12 months and in patients with type 2 diabetes orally administered 400 mg of a gymnema extract daily for 18 to 20 months.”[4]


Gymnama safety and contraindications

With a safety rating of 1 and interaction class A, gymnema is generally a safe herb to take. People with diabetes are advised to monitor their blood sugar closely and discuss the use of this herb with a qualified healthcare practitioner prior to use. This herb should be ok for long-term use, but you should monitor your blood sugar level while taking it.

Potential Drug Interactions

None reported.


Gymnema preparation & dosing

Gymnema leaf is chewed on the Indian subcontinent to suppress the taste of sweetness. Try taking gymnema before heading to a party to curb your sweet tooth. If you are interested in working with a tincture or capsule format, I would recommend you buy this product from a specialty store, like Mountain Rose Herbs.

Daily Dosage Table: Gynema[4]
Format Dosage Preparation
Tincture 3 mL Take with meals
Infusion 60g / 0.25Cup Infuse in 8oz of boiling water for 10minutes


[1] Tiwari, P., Mishra, B. N., & Sangwan, N. S. (2014). Phytochemical and pharmacological properties of Gymnema sylvestre: an important medicinal plant. BioMed research international2014, 830285.

[2] Leach, M. (2007) Gymnema Sylvestre for Diabetes Mellitus: a systematic review. The Journal Of Alternative And Complementary Medicine 13(9) 977–983

[3] Saneja1, A., Sharma, C., Aneja, K.R., & Pahwa, R. (2010) Gymnema Sylvestre (Gurmar): A Review. Der Pharmacia Lettre 2 (1) 275-284

[4] Baskaran K, Kizar Ahamath B, Radha Shanmugasundaram K, Shanmugasundaram ER. Antidiabetic effect of a leaf extract from Gymnema sylvestre in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct;30(3):295-300.

PubMed Articles About

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; [1988] – [cited 2018 Apr 5]. Available from:

( AND diabetes AND (( Clinical Trial[ptyp] OR systematic[sb] ) AND Humans[Mesh] AND cam[sb]))