Gymnemasylvestre is a woody climbing shrub that is native to the tropical forests of Australia, Africa, and India. Its leaves have been used in the ancient Indian medicinal practice Ayurveda for thousands of years. It has been a conventional remedy for diverse disorders and discomforts, including diabetes, malaria, and even snakebites.

This herb is thought to resist sugar absorption and thus has become an admired study subject in Western medicine.

The Hindi term for Gymnemasylvestre is gurmar, which is translated as “sugar killer”. This is because gymnema leaves contain a compound called gymnemic acid that restrains the taste of sugar. This is thought to be useful in treating diabetes.

Gymnema leaf extract is also thought to obstruct fat absorption in the body, the effect of which may be useful in treating diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol.

Proven Health Benefits

Reduces Sugar Cravings

Gymnema leaf extract can help reduce sugar cravings because of one of its major active components gymnemic acid, which helps resist sweetness. When consumed before to a sugary food or beverage, gymnemic acid blocks the sugar receptors on your taste buds. Research shows that Gymnema leaf extracts can decrease the ability to taste sweetness and thus make sweet food less appealing.

In a research in fasted individuals, half were given Gymnema leaf extract. Those who received the supplement had less appetite for sweet foods at a following meal and were more likely to limit their food intake, compared to those not taking the extract.

Helps Reduce Blood Sugar Levels

According to the World Health Organization, more than 400 million people globally have diabetes, and this number is anticipated to increase.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels. It’s caused by the inability of your body to use or produce insulin practically.

Gymnema leaf extract is considered to have anti-diabetic attributes. As a supplement, it has been used in combination with other diabetes treatments to reduce blood sugar. Similar to its effects on your taste buds, Gymnema leaf extract can also obstruct receptors in your intestines and thus sugar absorption, minimizing your post-meal blood sugar levels.

Studies suggest that consuming 200-400 mg of gymnemic acid lowers the intestinal absorption of the sugar glucose. In one study, Gymnema leaf extract appeared to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels. The study concluded that lowering blood sugar after a meal evolved in a decrease in average blood sugar levels over time. This could help decrease long-term complications of diabetes.

For people with high blood sugar or a high HbA1c, Gymnema leaf extract can help lower fasting, post-meal and long term blood sugar levels.

Improves Triglyceride and Cholesterol Levels

Gymnema leaf extract may help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides.

While Gymnema leaf extract gets its fame from lowering blood sugar levels and minimizing sugar cravings, studies show that it may also influence fat absorption and lipid levels. In one research, Gymnema leaf extract assisted weight maintenance and suppressed the development of liver fats. Also, people fed the extract and a normal-fat diet experienced reduced triglyceride levels. Another research found that Gymnema leaf extract had an anti-obesity effect on people fed a high-fat diet. It also reduced blood fat and LDL cholesterol levels. Additionally, a study in fairly obese people showed that Gymnema leaf extract lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides by 19% and 20.2% respectively. What’s more, it increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels by 22%.

May Assist Weight Loss

Gymnema leaf extracts have been shown to assist weight loss.

A study in 55 moderately obese people taking a Gymnema leaf extract found a 5-6% decrease in body weight, as well as lowered food intake. By blocking sweet receptors on your taste buds, Gymnema leaf extract may cause you to eat fewer sweet food items and gain fewer calories. A balanced calorie deficit can result in weight loss. 

Helps Lower Inflammation

Inflammation plays a significant role in your body’s healing process. Some inflammations are helpful, such as when it helps protect your body from malignant organisms in cases of infection or injury. Other times, inflammation may be caused by the environment or the foods you consume. However, chronic low-grade inflammation can contribute to diverse health disorders.

Studies have verified the link between extreme sugar intake and increased inflammatory markers in humans. The ability of Gymnema leaf extract to lower sugar absorption in your intestines may also allow it to reduce inflammation caused by extra sugar intake. Moreover, Gymnema leaf extract appears to have anti-inflammatory attributes of its own. This is thought to be due to its content of saponins and tannins, which are favorable plant compounds.

Gymnema leaf extract are considered immunostimulatory, meaning they can regulate the immune system, lowering inflammation.


Gymnema leaf extract is traditionally consumed as a tea or by chewing the leaves. In Western medicine, it is typically taken in pill or tablet form, making it easier to monitor and control dosage. It can also be consumed in leaf powder form.

The suggested dosage for Gymnema leaf extract depends on the form in which you consume it.

  • Tea: Boil the leaves for 5 minutes, then let steep for 10-15 minutes before drinking.
  • Capsule: 100 mg, 3 times daily.
  • Powder: Start with 2 grams, increasing to 4 grams.

If you’re looking to use Gymnema leaf extract as a way to block the sugar receptors on your tongue, take a supplement with water 5-10 minutes before a high-sugar snack or meal.

The Takeaway

Gymnema leaf extract may help you fight sugar cravings, reduce blood sugar levels, tackle inflammation, and even assist weight loss. If sugar is one of your vices, you could try a cup of Gymnema tea to help you lower your intake.

Though it is safe for most people, always talk to your doctor or healthcare professional first, especially if you intend to take the supplement in combination with other treatments.