Native to central and western India, tropical Africa and Australia, Gymnema sylvestre is a slow-growing, climbing plant that has been used to treat diabetes for 2,000 years. Although scientific research and large trials are lagging, the area of study is picking up as diabetes grows as a world health concern. With more than 150 million people currently living with diabetes, and not all able to afford (or desiring to use) pharmaceuticals, research is going back to the body of medicine long practiced in India.
Considered an astringent in Ayurveda, Gymnema pacifies Kapha and Pitta and reduces blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is basically a disease caused by they accumulation of a lifetime of bad eating habits and over-consumption of refined starches and unhealthy carbohydrates, such as sugar. This type of diabetes accounts for about 90 percent of all diabetes cases in the world.
Gymnema leaves have been demonstrated to have an “anti-sweet” effect, although the exact mechanism is unknown. The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition to its use in diabetes and metabolic disorders, Gymnema is used in Ayurveda to treat the following conditions:
- dental cavities
- eye complaints
- dental cavities
Check out the following link if you would like to read more about Ayurvedic treatment of diabetes: http://www.chopra.com/files/docs/teacherdownloads/actpapers/Diabetes%20-%20Madhumeha,%20Angela%20McGinnis.pdf
Additionally, Gymnema has antimicrobial properties and acts as a natural caterpillar-deterrent in fields and farms. It’s also used in cosmetics. If, like me, you happen to be the kind of person for whom too much information is never enough, you can read more about Gymnema sylvestre in The Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2170951/
- 1 medium pear, cored, quartered
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2-3 ice cubes
Directions: Place ingredients into a good powerful blender until smooth and creamy. Thin with water or thicken with ice if desired. Enjoy!
Yield: makes 1 serving.