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Madhunashini: Uses, Benefits and Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

“Ayurveda, a most sacred science of life, is beneficial to humans both in this world and the world beyond”. Ayurveda focuses on improving human health and well-being through herbs and spices. One such herb which is of great significance is Madhunashini. Madhunashini is also known as meshashringi (Sanskrit), gurmar and merasingi (Hindi), vakundi, kavuli and kalikardori (Marathi), dhuleti and mardashingi (Gujarathi), Podapatri (Telugu) and Cherukurinja (Tamil). The scientific or botanical name of Madhunashini is Gymnema sylvestre and it belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family. It is a medicinal woody climber native to western and Central India, Australia and tropical Africa. In India, it is widely grown in Bihar, Chhattisgarh Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. The leaves, flowers and root extracts have medicinal properties. Let us know more about the health benefits of this wonder plant.1, 2 

Nutritional Value of Madhunashini: 

Madhunashini has nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and other phytochemical constituents like saponins, sterols, terpenoids, glycosides, alkaloids, resins, etc.3 

madhunashini benefits

Did you know?

  • A study showed that Madhunashini extract improved insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes. source: ncbi
  • Research suggests that Madhunashini may help reduce the risk of diabetic complications such as neuropathy and nephropathy. source: diabetesjournals.org
  • Madhunashini has antioxidant properties that help protect against oxidative stress in diabetes. source: diabetesjournals.org
  • Madhunashini has been shown to improve lipid profiles by reducing total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. source: ncbi

Properties of Madhunashini: 

Scientifically proven properties of Madhunashini include: 1 

  • It may have properties to manage blood glucose levels.  
  • It may have a protective effect on the liver. 
  • It may possess antimicrobial activity. 
  • It may have property to arrest the uncontrolled multiplication of cells.  
  • It may have the ability to reduce inflammation.  
  • It may have properties to reduce cholesterol levels.  
  • It may have properties to get rid of excess body fluids and salt.  
  • It may have laxative (stool-softening) properties. 

Based on my experience, I have found that the leaf extract of madhunashini might have antiarthritic effects. The extract contains certain compounds that could potentially inhibit inflammation and reduce the release of pain-causing substances, which may help in managing arthritic symptoms.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Potential Uses of Madhunashini for Overall Health 

Some of the potential benefits of Madhunashini are described as under:  

Potential uses of Madhunashini in Diabetes 

We can’t deny that diabetes is one of the most common diseases, showing an increasing trend worldwide. Even in their 20s, youngsters have complaints of high blood glucose levels because of unhealthy dietary choices and a sedentary lifestyle. A review by Kanetkar et al. in 2007 stated that Madhunashini exerts anti-diabetic effects due to the presence of gymnemic acids. The possible mechanism attributed is an increase in insulin secretion, a hormone that regulates blood glucose. Additionally, gymnemic acids help inhibit glucose absorption from the intestine and increase glucose utilisation. This indicates Madhunashini may help manage diabetes. However, more studies are needed to support these claims with greater reliability.1 

Potential uses of Madhunashini for Lipid profile 

A lipid profile is a blood test that measures the number of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. An altered lipid profile is a risk factor for diseases like atherosclerosis, pancreatitis, etc. Eisenberg et al. 2003 conducted a study in rats. This study showed that Madhunashini leaf extracts could reduce serum triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein, total cholesterol, etc. This indicates that Madhunashini has the potential to correct an abnormal lipid profile. However, these results are based on animal studies and more studies are needed to claim these effects in humans.4 

Potential uses of Madhunashini in Obesity 

Obesity is a complex disease characterised by excess body fat, which can negatively affect health. Studies have supported the fact that using food sources in the right quantity and the use of complementary and alternative medicine like yoga and ayurvedic herbs may help in weight loss. A review conducted by Fabio et al. in 2013 stated that Madhunashini has the potential to manage obesity. This effect is attributed to inhibiting taste perception by gymnemic acids present in Madhunashini leaf and root extracts which may limit your food intake. This indicates that the Madhunashini may aid weight loss by decreasing the intake of calories. However, we need more studies to support these claims with greater reliability.4, 5 

Potential uses of Madhunashini in Cancer 

Cancer is a disease in which cells of the body may multiply abnormally and form cancerous cells that may spread to other parts of the body. A review conducted by Fabio et al. in 2013 states that Madhunashini may help manage breast and lung cancer. The exact mechanism behind this effect is, however, still being determined. This indicates that Madhunashini may help with cancer. However, scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. Therefore, we need more studies to support these claims.4 

Potential uses of Madhunashini as an Antibacterial agent  

Many antibacterial agents in Ayurveda have been used for managing bacterial infections; one such agent is Madhunashini. A review conducted by Fabio et al. in 2013 stated that Madhunashini leaf extract might have antibacterial activity against bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella species. By killing these bacteria, Madhunashini may help manage urinary tract infections, diarrhoea, typhoid, etc. This indicates that it may help manage a wide range of bacterial infections. Additionally, it may also help in managing dental caries, usually caused by bacteria; and thus may help improve dental hygiene. However, there is no scientific study done on humans to support these claims.4 

Other potential uses of Madhunashini: 1 

  • It may help in managing asthma. 
  • It may help in managing snakebites. 
  • It may provide relief for eye-related issues. 
  • It may help in reducing cough. 
  • It may help with constipation. 
  • It may help in the management of ulcers. 
  • It may help in the case of jaundice. 
  • It may help remove excess water and salt from the body and reduce edema. 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of Madhunashini in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of Madhunashini on human health.  

In my experience, madhunashini extract may have potential benefits in wound healing. The extract contains flavonoids, which are known for their antioxidant properties. While further studies are needed, incorporating its extract in wound care may support the healing process.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Ashwagandha Benefits for Skin: Exploring Research-Backed Improvements

How to Use Madhunashini? 

  1. Madhunashini crude plant can be used as a whole plant with its roots, leaves, etc. 
  2. The powder and paste of Madhunashini are also available in the market. 
  3. The extract of Madhunashini leaf is also available as a syrup. 
  4. Madhunashini capsules and tablets are also available in the market.6 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.  

Did you know that the root bark of Madhunashini has been historically used as an emetic, expectorant, and analgesic for body aches? It has also been utilized as a traditional remedy for snakebites, with the root juice playing a role in its treatment.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

Side Effects of Madhunashini: 

  • Preuss et al. conducted a review in 1998 which showed that Madhunashini may cause fatigue, excessive sweating, weakness and confusion.4 
  • Fabio et al. in a review in 2003, stated that consumption of Madhunashini in excess can result in hypoglycemia (fall in blood glucose levels).4 
  • Review by Fabio et al. in 2003 stated that if Madhunashini is taken on an empty stomach, it may cause nausea, vomiting and gastrointestinal distress.4 

However, if you experience any adverse reactions to Madhunashini, it is advised to discontinue its intake and immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms. 

Precautions to take with Madhunashini: 

Consuming Madhunashini is okay if taken in moderate amounts. However, general precautions must be followed in the following conditions: 7  

  • The safety profile of Madhunashini is not well established in special groups like pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and children. So, it is always advised to consult a qualified physician if you plan to take Madhunashini in any form. 
  • Madhunashini causes a reduction in blood glucose levels and may pose a problem during and after surgeries. It is always advised to inform about the intake of Madhunashini to your surgeon in case you are undergoing any surgery. 

Also Read: Can Sex Delay Your Periods: Evaluating Common Misconceptions and Realities

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

  • Madhunashini is known to cause a reduction in blood glucose, so if you’re on anti-diabetic medications, consuming Madhunashini and your diabetic medications together can cause your blood glucose to drop too low.  
  • Madhunashini may interact with phenacetin (painkiller) and decrease its breakdown which will increase the concentration of phenacetin in the body and increase the side effects of phenacetin which include anaemia, cancers, etc.  

However, you must always seek the advice of your Ayurvedic physician about the possible interaction of Madhunashini with other drugs and follow the prescription thoroughly, as they will know your health condition and other medications you are taking.7 

Also Read: Triphala: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What is Madhunashini also known as? 

Madhunashini is also known as meshashringi (Sanskrit), gurmar and merasingi (Hindi), vakundi, kavuli and kalikardori (Marathi), dhuleti and mardashingi (Gujarathi), Podapatri (Telugu) and Cherukurinja (Tamil).1 

2) What is the scientific name of the Madhunashini plant? 

The scientific name of the Madhunashini plant is Gymnema sylvestre, which belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family.1 

3) Does Madhunashini interact with food?  

No, there are no interactions of Madhunashini with food.7 

4) Is Madhunashini available in the market? 

Yes, it is available in the market as Madhunashini tablet, capsules, extract, powder, paste, etc.6 

5) What is Madhunashini called in Tamil? 

Madhunashini in Tamil is known as Cherukurinja.1 

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.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.

References: 

  1.  Kanetkar, Parijat et al. “Gymnema sylvestre: A Memoir.” Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition vol. 41,2 (2007): 77-81. doi:10.3164/jcbn.2007010. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2170951/at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35661960/ 
  1. Pandey, Ashok Kumar and Swati Yadav. “Variation in gymnemic acid content and non-destructive harvesting of Gymnema sylvestre (Gudmar).” Pharmacognosy research vol. 2,5 (2010): 309-12. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.72330. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3093035/ 
  1. Khan, Farzana et al. “Comprehensive Review on Phytochemicals, Pharmacological and Clinical Potentials of Gymnema sylvestre.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 10 1223. 29 Oct. 2019, doi:10.3389/fphar.2019.01223. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830388/#!po=13.0952 
  1. Di Fabio G, Romanucci V, Zarrelli M, Giordano M, Zarrelli A. C-4 Gem-Dimethylated Oleanesof Gymnema sylvestre and Their Pharmacological Activities. Molecules. 2013; 18(12):14892-14919. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules181214892. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/12/14892 
  1. Lin, Xihua and Hong Li. “Obesity: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics.” Frontiers in endocrinology vol. 12 706978. 6 Sep. 2021, doi:10.3389/fendo.2021.706978. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8450866/ 
  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 
  1. Medlineplus. Gymnema [Internet]. Vol. 2, MedlinePlus National Library of Medicine. 2021. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/841.html 
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