Gimnema forest or Gimnema sylvester (lat.Gymnema Sylvestre) – a tropical plant, evergreen, lignified liana. Species of the numerous genus Gymnema (lat. Gymnema), which belongs to the family Gustaceae (lat. Asclepiadaceae).
Gimnema forest is a highly branched, perennial, evergreen plant. This is a large tree vine capable of rooting in nodes.
The stems of the plant are bare, branched, lignified, young tips are pubescent.
The leaves are simple, placed opposite, elliptical or oval in shape, whole-marginal, without stipules. The calyx is dioecious.
Liana flowers are small, yellowish, five-membered, bisexual, regular, in umbellate inflorescences and single axillary. There are 5 stamens, they are connected to the column with gynoecium.
Fruits are paired, opening, spindle-shaped leaflets up to 7-7.5 cm long. The seeds are numerous, have a bunch of hairs, which is a device for propagation by the wind.
Gimnema forest naturally grows in the tropical forests of central and southern India, which is its historical homeland, found on the island of Sri Lanka. Liana can grow in the mountains to an altitude of 600 m above sea level. Cultivated on the plains of India.
As medicinal raw materials, leaves and young shoots of perennial creeper are used. Gimnema forest leaves are harvested manually from cultivated plants, starting from the first year of life. The collection of medicinal raw materials can be carried out from one plant for 10 years. The collected leaves are dried under a canopy or in well-ventilated rooms. Keep in paper packaging for no more than 2 years.
Flavonoids, saponins, amino acids, betaine, choline, lupeol, stigmasterol, beta-amyrin, anthraquinones, acids (formic, tartaric, butyric) are distinguished in the composition. The main active ingredient is hymnemic (gimnemic) acid, represented by a complex of triterpene saponins (gymnemasaponins, gymnemasides). The latter consist of glycon represented by monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, arabinose, xylose, fructose, rhamnose) and aglycon.
Active substances in the composition of forest gimnema, in particular gimnemic (hymnemic) acid and gurmarin in the composition of polypeptides, act on the receptors of the tongue, reducing taste, thereby inhibiting appetite and craving for sweets, which is important for patients with diabetes. Gimnema also reveals the ability to block the absorption of glucose in the gastrointestinal tract.
The traditional use of Gimnema forest as an effective antidiabetic agent was scientifically confirmed about 70 years ago. Then experts proved that the leaf extract of this plant reduces the percentage of sugar in the urine in patients with diabetes and increases the level of insulin in the blood. American scientists have conducted a series of studies regarding the antidiabetic properties of gimnema. So with type 1 diabetes, the plant leaf extract normalizes sugar levels due to increased exposure to insulin, as well as a decrease in insulin resistance of cells and tissues of the human body. In type 2 diabetes, gimnema lowers blood glucose, and so the dose of sugar-lowering pharmaceuticals used in diabetes therapy can be reduced. In addition, Gimnema foresta normalizes blood lipids, thereby preventing diseases of the cardiovascular system, which are often a complication of increasing blood glucose. Gimnema beneficially affects the digestive system, activates intestinal motility, healing chronic constipation, reduces swelling, having diuretic properties. Since plant leaf extract suppresses appetite, gimnema is recognized as an effective tool in the fight against overweight and obesity, in addition, the active ingredients of gimnema burn bad cholesterol. Leaf plant extract has no side effects and can be used to prevent diabetes, especially in the elderly.
In 2013, the University of Kansas microbiologists made a stunning discovery, a breakthrough in herbal medicine for fungal disease – candidiasis. The disease was found in almost 80% of people worldwide. Gimnemia forest plant extract blocks the growth of Candida albicans, due to the active effect of gimnemic acid. Another interesting aspect in the study of the effect of gimnemic acid is its detrimental effect on the growth of another dangerous fungus – aspergillus. The development of this microorganism is dangerous for patients with weakened immunity, after transplantations and with an insidious disease leukemia.
The beneficial properties of Gimnema forest are known and have been actively used for more than 2000 years in Indian medicine. Ayurveda’s ancient recipes mention the effective effect of plant leaves on the digestive system.
Traditionally, creeper leaves have been used for stomach ailments and constipation.
Gimnema water decoctions are popularly used for edema, thereby cleaning the liver of toxins and toxins and rid the body of excess fluid.
Fresh creeper leaves perfectly satisfy hunger, and most importantly – the need for sweets, which has been noticed since ancient times. Fresh leaves of the plant are used as an antiseptic and wound healing agent for wounds, burns, inflammatory processes on the skin.
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