Gymnema Sylvestre for DIABETES


April 1, 2012

Several years ago, I looked at the scientific literature for nutritional treatments for diabetes that are backed by human studies that revealed both safety and effectiveness.  I found some extremely promising studies in diabetic animals, as well as insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent human diabetics, that utilized the herb Gymnema Sylvestre (GS) were of good quality.  Gymnema Sylvestre (family Asclepiadaceae) is a woody climber that grows in tropical forests of the central and southern parts of India. This bitter herb acts in at least three ways. In India, it has been used as a treatment for diabetes mellitus since ancient times but the mechanism was not known. In the last two decades, it was shown that the administration of GS to diabetic animals not only resulted in glucose improvement, but was accompanied by a regeneration of beta cells in the pancreas!  A study in Type 1 diabetics showed equally impressive results. Insulin requirements came down, together with blood glucose, and glycosylated hemoglobin trended downward. Serum lipids returned to near normal levels with GS therapy and the dose of injected insulin was reduced in almost all cases. A control group showed none of these improvements, and actually worsened over the study period. Importantly, none of the participants in either of these studies presented any adverse side effects.

In a Type 2 diabetes mellitus/GS study all participants were taking oral anti-diabetic medication, and treatment with the herb resulted not only in a lowering of oral medication necessity, but almost 25% of the participants were able to discontinue conventional oral medication and maintain blood glucose control with GS alone. Additionally, GS significantly improved cholesterol, triglyceride, and free fatty acid levels that were elevated in the study participants. The fact that GSE lowered conventional medication requirements, increased serum insulin levels, and required months to obtain optimal effects, led the authors to speculate that, “These data suggest that the beta cells may be regenerated/repaired in Type 2 diabetic patients on GSE supplementation.”

GS may also improve the insulin receptors, so that the body’s natural insulin will work better. The third way the herb works is by thwarting the desire for sweets. If a tincture of the herb is placed on the tongue, and the recipient is asked to eat something sweet, it would be not only neutral, but disagreeable.  Wow! What a way to discourage high carb/high glycemic index foods (aka crapohydrates) intake.

I recommend GS tablets 300 to 500 mg size and five minutes before eating something sweet. Or better yet, when the desire arises, then put a tablet in the mouth and suck on this bitter product as long as you can stand, then swallow it with any liquid. If the craving returns, repeat the process. With this herb, one will have an immediate reduction of carbohydrate intake, a gradual decrease in an elevated sugar with the up-regulating of the insulin receptors and a possible “cure” of diabetes as the pancreatic Beta cells are regenerated. A Low Blood Sugar would only be possible while taking a sugar lowering agent (hypoglycemic) additionally. GS potentiates the effect of Metformin and even together should not cause hypoglycemia. In many of my patients who have the Metabolic Syndrome or Pre-diabetes, I start them on GS now so they will never get Diabetes.

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