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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 830285, 18 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/830285
Review Article

Phytochemical and Pharmacological Properties of Gymnema sylvestre: An Important Medicinal Plant

1Metabolic and Structural Biology Department, Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CSIR-CIMAP), P.O. CIMAP, Lucknow 226015, India
2Department of Biotechnology, Gautam Buddh Technical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226021, India

Received 12 April 2013; Accepted 17 September 2013; Published 6 January 2014

Academic Editor: John B. Vincent

Copyright © 2014 Pragya Tiwari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Gymnema sylvestre (Asclepiadaceae), popularly known as “gurmar” for its distinct property as sugar destroyer, is a reputed herb in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. The phytoconstituents responsible for sweet suppression activity includes triterpene saponins known as gymnemic acids, gymnemasaponins, and a polypeptide, gurmarin. The herb exhibits a broad range of therapeutic effects as an effective natural remedy for diabetes, besides being used for arthritis, diuretic, anemia, osteoporosis, hypercholesterolemia, cardiopathy, asthma, constipation, microbial infections, indigestion, and anti-inflammatory. G. sylvestre has good prospects in the treatment of diabetes as it shows positive effects on blood sugar homeostasis, controls sugar cravings, and promotes regeneration of pancreas. The herbal extract is used in dietary supplements since it reduces body weight, blood cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and holds great prospects in dietary as well as pharmacological applications. This review explores the transition of a traditional therapeutic to a modern contemporary medication with an overview of phytochemistry and pharmacological activities of the herb and its phytoconstituents.