Madhunashini is a perennial woody vine native to Asia, Africa, and Australia. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Botanical name: Gymnema sylvestre
Common name: Gurmar, Gymnema, Australian cowplant, and Periploca of the woods, Madhunashini.
The common names Gurmar and Madhunashini mean "Sugar destroyer."
The plant has a climbing habit. The leaves are elongated-oval in shape with soft hairs on the upper surface. The plant produces small, yellow inflorescence throughout the year.
The leaves and leaf extracts contain gymnemic acid that interacts with taste receptors on the tongue and temporarily suppresses the taste of sweetness.
Uses of Madhunashini plant
1. Help reduce sugar cravings
Gymnemic acid, the main active element in the plant, works to reduce the sweetness.
Gymnemic acid inhibits sugar receptors on your taste buds if consumed before a sugary food or drink. This makes sweet food less appealing.
2. Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Madhunashini is considered to have anti-diabetic properties. It can block receptors in your intestines, thus reducing sugar absorption and lowering your post-meal blood sugar levels.
3. Increase insulin production
Madhunashini aids in stimulating the production of insulin in the pancreas, promoting the regrowth of insulin-producing cells. This can help reduce your blood sugar levels.
4. Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Research suggests that Madhunashini can reduce "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides levels, which can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
5. Aid Weight Loss
Madhunashini may reduce your cravings for sweet foods by blocking sweet receptors on your taste buds, leading to lower calorie consumption. Keeping a consistent calorie deficit can lead to weight loss.
6. Helps Reduce Inflammation
Madhunashini contains tannins and saponins, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation.
How to grow Madhunashini plant?
Madhunashini grows on a variety of soil in different localities. Sandy loam or black soil is ideal for its growth. The soil should have good drainage and be rich in organic matter.
Madhunashini prefers sunny to partially shady locations. They can grow in dry areas, also.
The plant is sensitive to water logging. So water the plant after checking the moisture content in the soil.
The plant can be multiplied either by seeds or by stem cuttings.
Add well-aged manure during the growing stage of the plant. You can also apply a well-balanced inorganic fertilizer.
Pests and diseases
Thrips, and mites, are the important insects observed. Powdery mildew and leaf spot are the major diseases. If you see any infestation on the plant, apply organic pesticides to avoid spreading the disease.
Leaves that are about 30–40 days old can be plucked for use. You can store the leaves in polythene bags after drying them in the shade.
Dr. Vandana K.