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Gymnema sylvestre is an herb native to the tropical forests of southern and central India and Sri Lanka. Common names include Gymnema, Cowplant, Australian Cowplant, and Periploca of the woods. Gymnema is a woody climbing shrub native to India and Africa. The leaves are used to make medicine. Gymnema has a long history of use in India’s Ayurvedic medicine. The Hindi name, gurmar, means "destroyer of sugar."
Today, gymnema is used for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, weight loss, and cough. It is also used for malaria and as a snake bite antidote, digestive stimulant, laxative, appetite suppressant, and diuretic. The plants contain a large number of chemicals, including triterpenoids, which may have pharmacological properties. The constituent saponins have the effect of suppressing the taste of sweetness. Extracts from the plant are the subject of research into potential medicinal and industrial applications.