Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre) is a climbing vine native to the jungles of southern India. The leaves are used for medicinal purposes. Gymnema ha two constituents, gymnemic acid and gurmarin, that inhibit the ability to taste bitter or sweet without affecting the ability to taste sour, astringent or pungent flavors. It has been clinically proven to reduce excessively high blood sugar levels, apparently by boosting the amount of insulin available to process sugar. It also exhibits cholesterol-lowering activity, although not to a degree that makes it useful.
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Cautions No side effects have been reported at this time.