Gymnema sylvestre is known in Ayurveda as Gurmar, meaning sugar destroyer, and it has been used for millennia for what we now recognize as diabetes. Gurmar “destroys sugar” in two ways- it blocks the taste sensation of sweetness, making it less pleasurable and helping the user cut back, and it helps the digestive and endocrine system process sugar in a healthier way.
Gurmar seems to act to lower blood sugar in a few ways, lowering the uptake of sugar in the intestines, so that not as much goes into circulation, while also increasing the pancreas’ production of insulin, so that the glucose in the blood can be used as fuel instead of circulating and causing damage.
Some studies have also indicated that Gurmar is a healing tonic to the pancreas, reducing inflammation and helping its cells regenerate and work efficiently again. Studies are ongoing, but these effects and the wider tonic properties of Gurmar are well-documented in the long history of Ayurvedic medicine.
As with any other serious chronic illness, diabetics should be very careful adjusting medicines or trying new treatments, and should work with a physician for the transition period, as too-low blood sugar can occur with Gurmar, and this can be life-threatening.