Sunil Singh*, Jyoti Rai, Inamullah, Nisha Choudhary, Surabhi Sharma
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry,
Invertis Institute of Pharmacy, Invertis University, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India
Gymnema Sylvestre R. Br. (Asclepiadaceae) is a herb distributed throughout the world. The leaves of G. sylvestre used in India and parts of Asia as a natural treatment for diabetes or “sweet urine.” This plant is also used for controlling obesity in the form of Gymnema tea. The herb’s active ingredient, gymnemic acid, is extracted from leaves and roots of the plant. It has been observed that there could be a possible link between obesity, Gymnemic acids and diabetes. The plant is documented to possess beneficial effects as digestive, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, hypoglycemic and antihelmentic. It is believed to be used in dyspepsia, constipation, jaundice, haemorrhoids, cardiopathy, asthma, bronchitis and leucoderma. A scrutiny of literature revealed some notable pharmacological activities of the plant such as antidiabetic, antiobesity, hypolipidaemic and antimicrobial, free radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory. This review will try to put forth an overall idea about the plant.
Key words: Gymnema Sylvestre, Gymnemic acid, Obesity, Hypoglycemic.
Gymnema sylvestre R. Br. is a woody, vine-like plant which climbs on bushes and trees in the Western Ghats in South India and to the west of those mountains in the territory around the coastal city of Goa. It came to be known as “destroyer of sugar” because, in ancient times, Ayurvedic physicians observed that chewing a few leaves of Gymnema suppressed the taste of sugar. G. sylvestre is a plant used in India and parts of Asia as a natural treatment for diabetes or “sweet urine.” The herb’s active ingredient, gymnemic acid, is extracted from leaves and roots and helps to lower and balance blood sugar levels. Gymnema sylvestre leaves contain triterpene saponins belonging to oleanane and dammarene classes. Oleanane saponins are gymnemic acids and gymnemasaponins while dammarene saponins are gymnemasides. Beside this, other plant constituents are flavones, anthraquinones, hantri-acontane, pentatri-acontane, ß-chlorophyl, phytin, resins, d-quercitol, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, lupeol, ß-amyrin related glycosides and stigmasterol. The plant extract also test positive for alkaloids. Leaves of the species yield acidic glycosides, anthraquinones and their derivatives. Among these bioactive compounds of Gymnema sylvestre, gymnemic acids have anti-diabetic, anti-saccharine and anti-inflammatory activities.