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Gudmar: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and more!

By Dr Siddharth Gupta +2 more

Introduction: 

Gudmar, also called Gymnema Sylvestre, belongs to the family Asclepiadaceae. It is a herb widely distributed in Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Australia, Vietnam, Japan, the southwestern region of the People’s Republic of China, and tropical Africa.1 It has deep roots in history and is known as one of the essential herbs used in the Ayurveda system of medicines for managing conditions ranging from malaria, and diabetes, to snakebites.2 The term ‘Gymnema’ is derived from ‘Gurmar’, which is a Hindu term that means ‘destroyer of sugar’ and may be thought to neutralise the excess sugar present in the body .1

The vernacular names of gudmar are Gurmar in Hindi; Periploca of the woods in English; Kalikardori, Kavali in Marathi; Madhunashini, Meshashringi in Sanskrit; Mardashingi, Dhuleti in Gujrati; Sannagerasehambu in Kannada; Cherukurinja, Adigam in Tamil; Podapatri in Telugu.1

gudmar plant benefits

Nutritional Benefits of Gudmar: 

Gudmar has several nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates. Other chemicals present are tannin, phenol, flavonoid, quinones, triterpenoids, saponin, stigmasterol, alkaloids, resins, and glycosides.3 

Did you know?

  • Gudmar may help improve insulin sensitivity and promote better blood sugar control. source: ncbi
  • Gudmar may have potential anti-inflammatory properties, which can benefit overall health. source: nccih.nih.gov
  • Gudmar extract may help reduce cholesterol levels and improve lipid profiles. source: ncbi
  • Gudmar has been traditionally used to manage obesity and promote weight loss. source: ncbi

Properties of Gudmar:

The beneficial properties of gudmar may include:

  • It may have a blood sugar lowering effect
  • It may have a cholesterol-lowering effect
  • It may have anti-inflammatory properties
  • It may benefit in maintaining a healthy weight
  • It may have  antimicrobial activity1
  • It may have  anti-cancer activity
  • It may have  antioxidant activity
  • It may have  antiarthritic activity
  • It may have an immunomodulatory effect
  • It may benefit  stomach health
  • It may benefit  liver health
  • It may have  anticaries activity (may reduce tooth decay)3
  • It may have a  wound healing effect.2

I recently read in an article that along with being used for arthritis, diuretic, anaemia, osteoporosis, hypercholesterolemia, cardiopathy, asthma, constipation, microbial infections, indigestion and anti-inflammatory conditions, the herb demonstrates a wide variety of wonderful actions that make it an efficient natural remedy for diabetes.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Potential Uses of Gudmar:

Gudmar may have potential uses for various ailments; however, more human studies are needed to support its true scope in humans.

Potential Uses of gudmar for diabetes

A review report by Khan et al., 2019 suggested that gudmar may have a blood sugar lowering activity. In an animal study, the gudmar plant was given to the diabetic animal, which resulted in lowered blood levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, and protein and reduced body weight.3 However, this information is insufficient because this study is done on the animal. Therefore, more human studies are required to support the potential uses of gudmar in managing blood sugar levels in the body.

Also Read: Paneer Dodi: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Potential Uses of gudmar for cancer

Several studies have reported that gudmar may have anti-cancer properties. The extract of gudmar was tested for anticancer activity in human (breast and lung) cancer cell lines. This study revealed that gudmar might have an anti-cancer effect. In another animal study, the antitumour activity of the plant was observed as it lowered the incidence of tumours and the number of tumours.3 However, these studies are laboratory-based and we require more human studies to see the potential of gudmar in managing cancer in the human body. Cancer is a major health condition that requires appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, before using gudmar, consult a doctor.

Potential Uses of gudmar for stomach ulcers

The gudmar extract was evaluated for anti-ulcer activity in an animal model. It lowered the total acidity, free acidity, and gastric (stomach) volume and enhanced the pH of the gastric juice. It was proposed that the anti-ulcer activity might be due to the presence of flavonoids, saponins, tannins, sterol, glycosides, resins, alkaloids, protein, carbohydrates, and triterpenoids.3 This information is insufficient and requires more studies to support the potential uses of gudmar in managing ulcers. Therefore, people should take doctors’ advice and only have it if prescribed.

Potential Uses of gudmar for arthritis

The leaf extract of gudmar was tested for anti-arthritic activity in an animal model. In this study conducted by Tiwari et al., 2014, it was found to be effective in managing arthritis. It was assumed that the anti-arthritic effect was due to the presence of triterpenoids, saponin glycosides, and steroids.2 However, this study is insufficient as it is done on animals. We require more human trials to support using gudmar for managing arthritis-related problems in humans.

Potential Uses of gudmar for inflammation

The leaf of gudmar has been widely used in the Ayurvedic medicine system and is considered acrid, bitter, and may have anti-inflammatory activity. The anti-inflammatory property of gudmar might be due to the presence of tannin and saponins.2 However, people should take the advice from an Ayurvedic doctor before using gudmar to reduce inflammation in the body. They will tell you the correct amount and dosage to have the herb.

Potential Uses of gudmar for the heart

The occurrence of heart diseases is one of the causes of a higher incidence of death than other causes combined. Hyperlipidaemia (increased fat level in blood) is considered the major contributor to atherosclerosis (a condition in which there is a buildup of cholesterol and fats in arteries) and diseases like coronary artery diseases. A decrease in serum cholesterol level might help lower the chances of coronary heart disease. The extract of gudmar was tested in an animal model (Tiwari et al., 2014), where it lowered the cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and increased the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and was found might be beneficial for the heart health.2 However, this information is insufficient as there is no human subject involvement. Therefore, to support this claim, more human studies are required.

Also Read: Arjunarishta: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects 

Potential Uses of gudmar for wounds

The leaf extract of gudmar was tested for wound-healing activity in an animal model. It showed enhancement in the wound healing activity, which might be due to the presence of flavonoids. This suggested that the extract of gudmar may have wound healing properties.2However, this study is an animal study and might show different results when tried on humans. Therefore,  we require more clinically tested proof on humans. So, it is necessary to take a doctor’s advice before using gudmar in managing wounds.

Potential Uses of gudmar for dental caries

The tooth infection due to different kinds of bacteria is called dental caries. Bacteria like S. aureus, S. mutans, S. mitis and fungus, including Candida albicans, attach to the surface of the tooth and demineralise the tooth. The extract of gudmar may have a beneficial effect against these microbes and therefore might help in dealing with dental caries. The extract of gudmar has also been marketed as toothpaste and powders.2 However, this information requires more scientific proof to suggest its effect on dental health. Therefore, people should never use it to self-medicate themselves.

Also Read: Clove: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage

From my experience, Gudmar may be used in respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis as well. Gudmar is known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Gudmar?  

Gudmar may be used as:

  • Powder
  • Gudmar extract paste
  • Crude plant
  • Tablet
  • Capsule1

Your Ayurvedic physician will prescribe the best form and dosage as per your medical requirement. Additionally, we recommend you do not change or discontinue your ongoing medications with any ayurvedic or herbal preparations without taking the medical advice of an Ayurvedic doctor.

Side Effects of Gudmar:

Gudmar is primarily safe but might cause side effects if taken at higher doses.

The side effects include weakness, hypoglycaemia (lower than normal level of blood sugar), excessive sweating, shakiness, and muscular dystrophy (a disorder that causes progressive weakness and muscle loss).2

However, if you notice such side effects after consuming gudmar, you should immediately rush to the doctor’s office and get the treatment. Your doctor will prescribe you a better treatment to overcome these side effects.

Precautions to Take With Gudmar:

Surgery: Gudmar might affect the blood sugar levels and may interact with the blood sugar control during and after surgery. You should stop taking/consuming gudmar at least two weeks before any surgery.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is no sufficient data on its safe usage during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Avoid taking gudmar or consult your doctor before taking gudmar during these times.4

Older adults and children: There is insufficient information on the safe usage of gudmar by older adults and children. Therefore, consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before giving gudmar to older adults and children.

Also Read: Mugwort: Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & More! 

Interactions With Other Drugs:

Antidiabetic drugs: Gudmar might lower the blood sugar levels, so taking gudmar along with antidiabetic medicines might drop the blood sugar level too low. You must monitor your blood glucose level.

Tolbutamide (antidiabetic medicine): Gudmar might enhance the breakdown of tolbutamide and may lower the effects of tolbutamide.

Phenacetin (pain and fever relieving medicine): Gudmar might interact with phenacetin and may break down phenacetin too quickly, lessening the effects of phenacetin.4

Therefore, if you have any underlying conditions and are on any medication, you must consult your doctor before taking gudmar.

Also Read: Ashwagandha: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Is gudmar good for diabetes?

Traditionally, the leaves of gudmar were used for managing diabetes.2 Also, in several animal models, gudmar helped manage diabetes.3 Therefore, gudmar might be beneficial for diabetes; however, its studies in humans are not yet documented. Hence, before using gudmar for managing blood sugar levels, please consult a doctor.

Can gudmar be taken during pregnancy?

Avoid taking gudmar during pregnancy as there is not sufficient data available on the safe usage of gudmar during pregnancy.4

How to use gudmar?

Gudmar may be used in the form of powder, gudmar extract paste, crude plant, tablet, and capsule.1 However, before using gudmar, you must consult an Ayurvedic doctor and ask for a prescription based on your health condition.

Are there any side effects of gudmar?

Gudmar is mostly safe to use. However, high doses of gudmar might cause weakness, hypoglycaemia, excessive sweating, shakiness, and muscular dystrophy.2 Therefore, immediately contact your concerned doctors if you observe any side effects after taking gudmar.

Can gudmar be used for snakebite?

Traditionally, the root juice of the gudmar plant was used to deal with snakebites.2 However, it is advisable to seek immediate medical help in case of snakebite and not use gudmar to self-medicate on your own.

Is gudmar good for dental caries?

Gudmar  may have been effective against microbes responsible for dental caries. Therefore, it may be beneficial for dental caries.2 However, this information is insufficient and requires a doctor’s advice to use gudmar for managing dental caries in humans.

Can gudmar be taken with antidiabetic medicines?

Gudmar might lower the blood sugar level, and taking gudmar and antidiabetic medicines might drop the blood sugar level too low. Therefore, avoid taking/consuming gudmar if you are taking antidiabetic medicines and if any complications are observed, seek medical help.4

Does gudmar interact with any food?

There is no known interaction of gudmar with foods.4

Does gudmar interact with any medicine?

Avoid taking gudmar if you are taking phenacetin, tolbutamide, and antidiabetic drugs. Gudmar might interact with these medicines.4

Can I take gudmar while breastfeeding?

There is not sufficient information on the safe usage of gudmar while breastfeeding. Stay on the safer side, avoid gudmar or contact your doctor if you want to use gudmar while breastfeeding.4

Also Read: Helpful Breast Breastfeeding Tips For New Mothers

References: 

1. Saneja A, Sharma C. Gymnema sylvestre (Gurmar): a review. Der Pharmacia lettre [Internet]. 2010;2(1):275–84. Available from: https://www.scholarsresearchlibrary.com/articles/gymnema-sylvestre-gurmar-a-review.pdf 

2. Tiwari P, Mishra BN, Sangwan NS. Phytochemical and Pharmacological Properties of Gymnema sylvestre : An Important Medicinal Plant. Biomed Res Int [Internet]. 2014;2014:1–18. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/830285/ 

3. Khan F, Sarker MMR, Ming LC, Mohamed IN, Zhao C, Sheikh BY, et al. Comprehensive review on phytochemicals, pharmacological and clinical potentials of gymnema sylvestre. Front Pharmacol. 2019;10(OCT):1–19. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830388/ 

4. Medlineplus. Gymnema [Internet]. Vol. 2, MedlinePlus National Library of Medicine. 2021. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/841.html 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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