In the world of natural healing and traditional medicine, there’s a remarkable herb, that’s been making waves – Gudmar or Gurmar, scientifically known as Gymnema sylvestre, belonging to the Asclepiadaceae family. This botanical wonder holds remarkable significance in Ayurveda due to its extensive medicinal properties. It has roots in the Hindu term "Gurmar," which translates to "destroyer of sugar.” For centuries, this Ayurvedic tree has been a cornerstone in managing both-diabetes type 1 and type 2. It thrives in tropical forests and helps in management of various ailments, including urinary tract issues, obesity, metabolic disorders, cough, respiratory troubles, eye conditions, ulcers, and stomach discomfort.
In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve deeper into the incredible world of Gudmar, uncovering the myriad of benefits that it offers and its time-honored applications in traditional medicine. So, join us on this enlightening journey through the natural wonders of Gymnema.
Part Used : Leaves and Roots
Description of Plant:
Gymnema is a perennial woody vine with weak climbing stems. Its oval-shaped leaves are about 3 to 5 cm long and have a soft, hairy covering. The plant bears inconspicuous pale, yellowish-green flowers year-round and produces fruits from January to March. Its root is approximately 3 cm thick. A notable feature is its leaves’ ability to temporarily alter the perception of sweetness when chewed, making it unique in taste perception and traditional medicine.
It is primarily native to tropical regions and can be found in India, Africa, and Australia. It thrives in the warm and humid conditions of tropical forests, often growing as a climbing vine with weak stems
English names : Periploca of the woods, Cowplant
Madhunashini: Diminisher of the sense of sweetness.
Vishani: Neutralizes toxins
Meshashringi/ Ajashringi: Resemblance of the Gudmar leaf to the horn of a goat.
Tiktadugdha: The juice extracted from it is bitter in taste.
Shreevruksha: Auspicious tree
Vartika: Climber plant
Padavruksha, Shardunika, Bahalangaka, Bahalanga, Bahalachakshusha, Vishanika, Kurchaparni, Sarpadanstra, Akshibheshaja
The leaves of Gymnema sylvestre contain triterpenoids, saponins, gymnemic acid A, B, C, and D, gymnemine, gymnemagenin, gypenosies, along with sugar residues like glucuronic acid, galacturonic acid, ferulic acid, and angelic acid. Additionally, they contain betaine, choline, alkaloids, inositol, and d-quercitol.
Rasa ( Taste)
Kashaya (astringent) , Tikta (bitter)
Laghu( light) , Rooksha (dry)
Vipaka (Taste conversion after digestion)
Potential Properties and Benefits:
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Gudmar may help lower blood sugar levels, as it contains gymnemic acid which has anti-diabetic properties.
- Cholesterol Management: It helps maintain normal serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which lowers cholesterol and contributes to heart health.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Gudmar possesses anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of tannin and saponins, which could aid in various inflammatory conditions.
- Weight Management: It may assist in maintaining a healthy weight.
- Antimicrobial Activity: Gudmar exhibits antimicrobial activity, hence can be helpful in microbial infections.
- Anti-Cancer Activity: Laboratory studies indicate its anti-cancer potential, where it helped in reducing number and size of tumors.
- Antioxidant Properties: Gudmar's antioxidant activity may help combat oxidative stress.
- Anti-Arthritic Effects: It is beneficial for managing arthritis due to the presence of triterpenoids, saponins, and glycosides.
- Immunomodulation: Gudmar has immunomodulatory effects, supporting overall immune health.
- Digestive and Liver Health: It is beneficial in stomach related issues as it lowers free acid radicals, enhances pH of gastric juice and supports liver health.
- Dental Health: Gudmar's antimicrobial properties can be extended to dental health, helping in reducing tooth decay.
- Wound Healing: Due to the presence of flavonoids, it shows wound-healing potential.
- Heart Health: It lowers down cholesterol level, due to it’s kapha reducing properties which reduces chances of heart diseases.
- Pancreatic Health: It supports pancreatic health by showing regenerative effect on the beta cells in pancreas.
- Respiratory Health: It propels out excess mucus present in respiratory tract, and is hence beneficial in respiratory ailments like cold, flu, bronchitis, etc.
- Stomach Ulcers
- Wound, abscess and ulcers healing
- Dental Caries
- Worm infestation in intestines
- Burning sensation in stomach, eyes, etc.
- Excessive thirst
- Bleeding disorders
- Weak eyesight
How to Use Gudmar:
Gudmar can be consumed in various forms, including powder, extract paste, crude plant, tablets, and capsules.
- Manage diabetes:
-Consume 1-2 grams of Gudmar powder with cow’s milk or honey on an empty stomach.
- Respiratory health:
-Take 1-2 grams of gudmar powder with a teaspoon of honey to address issues like cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, etc.
- First aid for insect bite:
- Liver health and obesity:
- Wound healing, relief from itching and burning sensation:
- Swelling relief and Abdominal area ailments :
- Other conditions:
-A decoction of gudmar is administered in a dosage of 40-50 ml in conditions such as painful menstruation, fever, kidney stones, and difficulty in urination.
However, it’s imperative to consult an Ayurvedic physician for the appropriate form and dosage tailored to your specific medical needs. Always consult a healthcare professional before altering or discontinuing ongoing medications in favor of herbal preparations.
Gudmar Tea for Sugar Control and Weight Management
- To make it, use Gudmar leaves or powder in a teapot with warm water.
- You can combine it with other teas like herbal or green tea, also known for aiding in weight loss.
- Drinking a cup of this before meals is recommended, especially when consuming something sweet, to help diminish the sweet sensation and effect.
Side Effects and Precautions
While generally safe, Gudmar can cause side effects such as weakness, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), excessive sweating, shakiness, and muscular dystrophy at higher doses.
If you plan to undergo surgery, discontinue Gudmar at least two weeks before the procedure, as it may affect blood sugar levels during and after surgery.
Seek your doctor's or healthcare practitioner's advice if you plan on taking it along with other medications as it can interact adversely with them and show side effects.
The information shared is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a healthcare professional for your medical concerns, and discuss the use of herbs with them for personalized guidance.
- Bhava Prakasha Nighantu //GuduchayadiVarga // Meshashringi // Shloka no. 253-254
- Tiwari P, Mishra BN, Sangwan NS. Phytochemical and pharmacological properties of Gymnema sylvestre: an important medicinal plant. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:830285. Doi: 10.1155/2014/830285.
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Author: Dr. Monika Mittal
Editor: Debleena Chatterjee
Photography credits : Towfiqu barbhuiya