| Gymnema |
| Gymnema sylvestre|
Sometimes called the "miracle herb" or "wonder herb" because it shows extraordinary potential for the management of diabetes. A tropical vining plant native to India, the leaves are used in antidiabetic and anti-obesity preparations and teas because of its ability to lower blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings. An important herb in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of what was called "sweet urine." The name in Sanskrit and Hindi means "sugar destroyer" because it reduces the perceived sweetness of sugar. The same action also blocks the perception of bitterness in substances such as quinine, sometimes for as long as two hours after consumption. The active ingredients gymnemic acid and gurmarin contained in the leaves are thought to prevent the absortion of glucose in the intestines, delaying the release of glucose into the blood stream. Preliminary research indicates it is beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels in those with diabetes, stimulating the pancreas, lowering cholesterol levels, and building lean muscle mass. Has a mild laxative effect.