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Gurmar

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c belongs to the family Asclepiadaceae. It is a vulnerable species slow growing, perennial, medicinal woody climber found in central and peninsular India. Gymnema Sylvestre is large climbers, rooting at nodes, leaves elliptic, acuminate, base acute to acuminate. Flowers are small, in axillary and lateral umbel like cymes.
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Botanical Names
Gymnema sylvestre belongs to the family Asclepiadaceae. It is a vulnerable species slow growing, perennial, medicinal woody climber found in central and peninsular India. Gymnema Sylvestre is large climbers, rooting at nodes, leaves elliptic, acuminate, base acute to acuminate. Flowers are small, in axillary and lateral umbel like cymes.
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Meshashringi, madhunashini Hindi : Gur-mar, merasingi, Marathi : Kavali, kalikardori,vakundi, Gujarati : Dhuleti, mardashingi, Tamil : Adigam, cherukurinja, Kannada : Sannagerasehambu Malayalam : Chakkarakolli Telugu : Podapatri
Chemical Constituents
The major bioactive constituents of Gymnema sylvestre are a group of oleanane type triterpenoid saponins known as gymnemic acids. It contains several acylated derivatives of deacyl gymnemic acid which is 3-O-glucuronide of gymnemagenin. The individual gymnemic acids (saponins) include gymnemic acids I-VII, gymnemosides A-F and gymnemasaponins. G. sylvestre leaves contain triterpene saponins belonging to oleanane and dammarene classes. Oleanane saponins are gymnemic acids and gymnemasaponins, while dammarene saponins are gymnemasides. Besides this, other plant constituents are flavones, anthraquinones, hentri-acontane, pentatriacontane, α and β-chlorophylls, phytin, resins, dquercitol, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, lupeol, β- amyrin related glycosides and stigmasterol. The plant extract also tests positive for alkaloids. Leaves of this species yield acidic glycosides and anthroquinones and their derivatives.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs hence it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
A Gymnemic acid, the major bioactive constituents of Gymnema sylvestre is antidiabetic, antisweetener and anti-inflammatory in action. The antidiabetic array of molecules has been identified as a group of closely related gymnemic acids after it was successfully isolated and purified from the leaves of G. sylvestre (2). Gymnema sylvestre is regarded as one of the plants with potent anti diabetic properties. The herb has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels when used for an extended period of time. It is currently being used in an all natural medication for diabetes with other ingredients. The leaves were also used for stomach ailments, constipation, water retention, and liver disease. Gymnema Sylvestre may be useful as therapeutic agents for the stimulation of insulin secretion in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes. The anti hyperglycemic action of a crude saponin fraction and five triterpene glycosides derived from the methanol extract of leaves of Gymnema sylvestre in streptozotocin diabetic mice has been proved scientifically. Results indicate that insulin-releasing action of gymnemic acid IV may contribute to the antihyperglycemic effect. Gymnemic acid IV may also be an anti-obese and anti hyperglycemic pro-drug (2). G. sylvestre also possess antibacterial property. The ethanolic extract of Gymnema sylvestre leaves demonstrated antimicrobial activity against Bacillus pumilis, B. subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus and inactivity against Proteus vulgaris and Escherichia coli.
Health Benefits
Gymnema sylvestre is a valuable medicinal plant belongs to a family Asclepiadaceae, widely distributed in all parts of India and Africa, is of much of medicinal value. It has long been used in traditional medicine as a remedy for diabetes mellitus, stomach ache and diarrhea. The plant is popularly known as ‘gurmar’ for its distinctive property of temporarily destroying the taste of sweetness (4). It is a potent antidiabetic plant and used in folk, ayurvedic and homeopathic systems of medicine. It is also used in the treatment of asthma, eye complaints, inflammations, family planning and snakebite. In addition, it possesses antimicrobial, antihypercholesterolemic, hepatoprotective and sweet suppressing activities. It also acts as feeding deterrents to caterpillar, Prodenia eridania; prevent dental caries caused by Streptococcus mutans and in skin cosmetics. Gymnema sylvestre has also shown larvicidal activity against Culex qinquifaciatus mosquito larvae.
Research References
1. Peter E. M. and Joseph E. S. Constituents from Gymnema sylvestre leaves Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 1965, 54(10):1541–1544 2. Sugihara Y., Nojima H., Matsuda H., Murakami T., Yoshikawa M. and Kimura I. Antihyperglycemic effects of gymnemic acid IV, a compound derived from Gymnema sylvestre leaves in streptozotocin-diabetic mice. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2000, 2(4):321-327 3. Satdive R. K., Abhilash P. and Devanand P. F. Antimicrobial activity of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract Fitoterapia 2003, 74(7-8):699-701 4. Parijat K., Rekha S. and Madhusudan K. Gymnema sylvestre: A Memoir J. Clin. Biochem. Nutr., (41):77–81 5. Gopiesh K. and Kannabiran K. Larvicidal effect of Hemidesmus indicus, Gymnema sylvestre, and Eclipta prostrata against Culex qinquifaciatus mosquito larvae African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 6 (3), pp. 307-311, 5 February, 2007 6. Shanmugasundaram E. R. B., Leela G.., Radha S. and Rajendran V. M. Possible regeneration of the islets of langerhans in streptozotocin-diabetic rats given gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30(3):265-279 7. Shanmugasundaram E. R. B., Rajeswari G., Baskaran K., Rajesh Kumar B. R., Radha S. and Kizar A. Use of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract in the control of blood glucose in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30(3): 281-294