(Natural News) It can be difficult to maintain a healthy weight if you have a sweet tooth. But if you’re looking for a natural remedy, you might want to try gymnema, an herb that can reduce sugar cravings and control your blood sugar.
Gymnema, the “destroyer of sugar”
Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre) is a tropical herb that comes from India. In Ayurvedic medicine, gymnema is used to treat conditions like diabetes and malaria.
Gymnema is traditionally consumed as a tea or by chewing its leaves. In Western medicine, the herb is offered in pill or tablet form. You can also ingest gymnema in extract or leaf powder form.
Gymnema contains gymnemic acid and drinking gymnema tea or taking gymnema tablets before you consume sugary foods or beverages blocks the sugar receptors on your taste buds.
Listed below are the health benefits of gymnema.
It calms inflammation.
Inflammation and sugar are connected, and research confirms that high sugar intake results in high levels of inflammatory markers. Chronic inflammation is a key factor in various health conditions like arthritis, fatty liver disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.
Experts suggest that gymnema can minimize overall inflammation by blocking excess sugar from entering the bloodstream, which may also stop the inflammatory effect of sugar on your body.
Additionally, data suggest that gymnema can help regulate immune response, including response to inflammation.
It improves diabetes symptoms.
In Hindi, gymnema is called gurmar, which means “destroyer of sugar.” The herb reduces the symptoms of diabetes, especially high blood sugar.
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Findings from a study revealed that gymnema lowers blood sugar levels by blocking the absorption of sugar molecules in the intestines. Gymnemic acid blocks the taste of sugar on your tongue, and it uses the same process to stop the absorption of glucose through your intestinal wall and into your bloodstream.
The herb also enables the pancreas to release more insulin, the hormone that reduces blood sugar.
Data from studies suggest that volunteers with Type 2 diabetes who took gymnema supplements had 11 to 15 percent lower glucose levels after eating a meal. The participants also experienced lowered blood sugar levels over time, which suggests that gymnema has a long-term blood sugar-reducing effect. (Related: Supplement with gurmar and keep metabolic disorders at bay.)
It lowers cholesterol and your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Studies suggest that gymnema can also reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
But the herb doesn’t just lower total cholesterol levels, it also significantly reduces “bad” low-density lipoproteins (LDL) levels and increases “good” high-density lipoproteins (HDL) levels. A separate study found that animals fed gymnema had lower triglyceride levels.
High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, but taking gymnema will help lower your risk.
It promotes weight loss.
Gymnema is said to promote weight loss. Experts believe that this is due to the herb’s ability to block sweetness on your tongue, which helps curb your sugar cravings.
In a separate study, researchers discovered that obese participants who were given gymnema extracts reduced their body weight by five to six percent. The herb also reduced the overall food intake of the volunteers.
It reduces sugar cravings.
The results of a study showed that gymnema can control your sugar cravings via its main active component, gymnemic acid. The acid blocks sweet taste bud receptors on your tongue.
For best results, take gymnema right before a meal. According to a study, volunteers who took gymnema extract before meals reported fewer cravings for sweet foods than those who didn’t.
Using gymnema to curb sugar cravings
Here are other ways to consume gymnema.
- Capsules – Take one gymnema capsule (100 to 200 mg) after every meal.
- Powder – Add half a teaspoon of gymnema powder to a glass of water.
- Tea – To make gymnema tea, pour boiling water over one to two teaspoons of crushed leaves. Let the mixture steep for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking.
Gymnema is generally considered safe for most individuals. However, if you are pregnant or nursing, you must consult a healthcare professional before you take the herb to determine if it can cause any side effects.
If you take blood sugar-lowering medications, don’t consume gymnema. Taking your medication and consuming the herb at the same time may lower your blood sugar levels too much, which can cause dizziness, faintness, headaches, and nausea.
Follow a healthy diet and use gymnema to naturally lower your blood sugar, lose weight, and reduce your sugar cravings.