Gymnema sylvestre is a woody, climbing plant native to the tropical forests in the central and southern portions of India, according to Drugs.com. Ayurvedic medicine uses various parts of the plant to manage ailments related to blood sugar levels. Few clinical studies exist to support the plant's medicinal use.
Chewing the leaves of the plant inhibits the ability to taste sweetness, states Healthline. Although clinical support is lacking, researchers believe gymnema may help regulate blood sugar by preventing the intestines from absorbing sugar and stimulating the pancreas to release insulin. The leaves also purportedly help treat digestive issues, constipation, fluid retention and liver disease, while the flowers, leaves and fruits are beneficial in treating blood pressure and heart rhythm irregularities, reports Drugs.com.
Researchers have conducted preliminary studies on gymnema's efficacy in reducing lipids, aiding in weight loss and preventing cavities, explains Drugs.com. Limited controlled studies have focused on the plant's ability to control blood sugar. Based on this research, the recommended daily dosage of the extract is 200 to 400 milligrams. Insufficient data is available to provide recommendations regarding contraindications, interactions and toxicities, although there is a case report of liver toxicity. No research is available regarding the efficacy and safety of the extract in pregnant and nursing women.