Gymnema sylvestre B Br

Family ► Asclepiadaceae.

Habitat ► Central and Peninsular India.

English ► Australian Cow Plant, Ipecacuanha (Indian).

Ayurvedic ► Meshashringi, Meshav-ishaanikaa, Meshavalli, Chhaagal-shrngi. Ajashringi (also equated with Dolichandrone falcata and Pergularia extensa).

Unani ► Gurmaar Buuti.

Siddha/Tamil ► Kannu Minnayam-kodi, Passaam, Shirukurinja.

Action ► Leaf—antidiabetic. Stimulates the heart and circulatory system, activates the uterus. Used in parageusia and furunculosis. Plant—diuretic, antibilious. Root— emetic, expectorant, astringent, stomachic.

Gymnemagenin, the main sapoge-nin in the leaves, yielded 3.9-4.6% of total gymnemic acids.

Gymnemic acids are antisweet principles and exhibit inhibitory effect on levels of plasma glucose.

The extract of dried leaves, given to diabetic rats at a dose of 20 mg/day per rat for 8 weeks, was found to bring about blood glucose homoeostasis by increasing serum insulin levels. Increased glycoprotein level and the resultant nephropathy, retinopathy and micro-and macro-angiopathy were also controlled.

The leaf extract (25-100 mg/kg), when orally administered to experimentally induced hyperlipidaemic rats for 2 weeks, reduced the elevated serum triglyceride and total cholesterol in a dose-dependent manner. The efficacy and antiatherosclerotic potential of the extract (100 mg/kg) were comparable to that of a lipid lowering agent, clofibrate.

In homoeopathy, a drug obtained from the leaves and roots is prescribed for both diabetes mellitus and insipidus Gymnemic acid is reported to inhibit melanin formation in vitro. It also inhibits dental plaque formation.

Dosage ► Root, leaf-3-5 g powder; 50-100 ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

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