Gymnema sylvestre

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Gymnema sylvestre
Gymnema sylvestre R.Br - Flickr - lalithamba.jpg
Gymnema sylvestre, at Eastern ghats, India.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Gymnema
Species: G. sylvestre
Binomial name
Gymnema sylvestre
R. Br.

Periploca sylvestris

Gymnema sylvestre is an herb native to the tropical forests of southern and central India and Sri Lanka. Common names include Gymnema,[1] cowplant, Australian cowplant, and Periploca of the woods.[2][3] The plant is best known for its leaf extract to suppress the sweet receptors of the tongue. The active ingredient that causes this physiological reaction is gurmarin, a polypeptide made of 35 amino acids.[4]

Despite the part used being the leaf, a common name of this species is miracle fruit,[2][3] a name shared by two other species: Synsepalum dulcificum and Thaumatococcus daniellii.[2]


The plant is a climber with leaves having soft hairs on the upper surface. The leaves are elongate oval shaped. It has small yellow umbelliferous inflorescence which is produced throughout the year.[5]


Gymnema sylvestre has long been thought of as a medicinal plant in Asia.[6] The plants contain a large number of chemicals, including triterpenoids, which may have pharmacological properties.[6] The constituent saponins have the effect of suppressing the taste of sweetness.[6][7] Extracts from the plant are the subject of research into potential medicinal and industrial applications.[6]

Vernacular Indic names[edit]

    • Bengali meshashrunga - মেষশৃঙ্গ
    • tamachek Taemoerzôrt .
    • Gujarati gudmar - ગુડમાર, madhunashini - મધુનાશિની
    • Hindi gurmar - गुड़मार
    • Kannada madhunashini - ಮಧುನಾಶಿನಿ
    • Konkani kawli - कौळी
    • Malayalam chakkarakolli - ചക്കരക്കൊല്ലി
    • Marathi bedakicha pala - बेडकीचा पाला, gudmar - गुडमार
    • Oriya lakshmi - ଲକ୍ଷ୍ମୀ, mendhasingia - ମେଣ୍ଢା ଶିଙ୍ଗିଆ, nagapushpi - ନାଗପୁଷ୍ପୀ
    • Sanskrit madhunaashini - मधुनाशिनी, meshasringa - मेषशृंग
    • Sinhala මස්බැද්ද - Masbaedda
    • Tamil sirukurinjan - சிறுகுறிஞ்சா, kokilam, கோகிலம்
    • Telugu Podapatri - పొడపత్రి
    • Urdu gurmar - گڑمار [8]


Gymnema sylvestre

Gymnema derives from the Greek words "gymnos" (γυμνὀς) and "nēma" (νῆμα) meaning "naked" and "thread" respectively; the species epitheton sylvestre means "of the forest" in Latin.[9]

The Hindi name Gurmar, Sanskrit Madhunashini, Urdu Gurmar, Malayalam Chakkarakolli and Telugu Podapatri, literally mean "sugar destroyer". (Sanskrit) Meshasringa translates as "ram's horn", a name given to the plant due to the shape of its fruits.


1. Diabetes. Early research suggests when a specific gymnema extract (GS4) is taken orally along with insulin or diabetes medications, blood sugar reduction in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is enhanced.

2. Weight loss. Early research suggests that taking a specific combination of gymnema extract, hydroxycitric acid, and niacin-bound chromium by mouth for 8 weeks might reduce body weight in people who are overweight or obese.

3. Stimulating digestion.

4. As a laxative and diuretic.

Further evidence and research is needed to validate gymnema for these uses.[10]


  1. ^ Duke, James A., ed. (2002). Handbook of medicinal herbs (2nd ed.). CRC Press. p. 855. ISBN 0-8493-1284-1. 
  2. ^ a b c Wiersema, John Harry; León, Blanca (1999). World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference. CRC Press. p. 661. ISBN 0-8493-2119-0. 
  3. ^ a b Rehm, Sigmund, ed. (1994). Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants. Springer. p. 91. ISBN 0-7923-2970-8. 
  4. ^ Porchezhian, E.; Dobriya , R. M. (2003). "An overview on the advances of Gymnema sylvestre: chemistry, pharmacology and patents". Pharmazie. 58: 5–12. 
  5. ^ Drury, Heber (1869). Hand-book of Indian Flora. p. 232. 
  6. ^ a b c d Fabio GD, Romanucci V, De Marco A, Zarrelli A (2014). "Triterpenoids from Gymnema sylvestre and their pharmacological activities". Molecules (Review). 19 (8): 10956–81. PMID 25072200. doi:10.3390/molecules190810956. 
  7. ^ "Miracle Berry". Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  8. ^ Gurmar entry on Flowers of India. Accessed 24.10.2016.
  9. ^ Wikisource:The New International Encyclopædia/Gymnema
  10. ^ "Gymnema - Uses and Effectiveness". WebMD. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ambasta, S. P. (1986). The useful plants of India. New Delhi: Publications & Information Directorate, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research. ISBN 978-81-85038-02-5. 

External links[edit]