Gymnema sylvestre R. Br. ex Schult (Asclepiadaceae)
(2n = 22)
Syn : Periploca sylvestris Willd., Gymnema melicida Edgew.
English names: Vine, Periploca of the the woods.
Sanskrit names: Ajaballi, Ajagandini, Ajashringi, Bahalchakshu, Chakshurabahala, Grihadruma, Karnika, Kshinavartta, Madhunasini, Medhasingi, Meshashringi, Meshavishanika, Netaushadhi, Putrashringi, Sarpadanshtrika, Tiktadughdha, Vishani.
Vernacular names: Ben: Meshashringi; Guj : Dhuleti, Mardashing; Hin : Gurmar, Gumar, Merashinghi; Kan : Karhasige, Sannagera-shehumbr; Mal: Cakkarakkolli, Madhunashini; Mar: Kavali, Kalikardor, Vakundi; Tam: Adigam, Cheorukurinja, Kannuminayamkodi, Pasaani, Sakkaraikkolli, Shirukurinja, Sirukurumkay; Tel: Podapatra.
Trade names: Gurmar, Merasingi.
Traditional use: KOL : Leaf: in gastric troubles; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF RAJASTHAN and DHASAN VALLEY: Leaf: in diabetes; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF KANDALA (Maharashtra) : Leaf: in urinary complaints; GOND: Leaf: in diabetes, stomachache; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF MADHYA PRADESH: Leaf: in cornea opacity and other eye diseases; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF GODAVARI DISTRICT (Andhra Pradesh) : Leaf: in diabetes, glycosuria; IRULAR : Leaf: in diabetes; CHARAKA SAMHITA: removes bad odour from breast milk, aperitive; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : plant useful as purgative, in eye troubles; leaf extract and also the same of flower beneficial for eyes; bark useful in the diseases caused by vitiated kapha (phlegm); BAGBHAT : rootbark useful in piles; BHAVAPRAKASHA: it is bitter, appetiser, gastric stimulant, removes cough, alleviates breathing troubles, useful in curing phlegm, eyetroubles, wounds; RAJA NIGHANTU : appetiser, removes phlegm, piles, colic pain, cures dropsy, useful in eye troubles, cardiotonic, beneficial in respiratory diseases, wounds, detoxicant; fruits are bitter, sialagogue, thermogenic, cures the diseases caused by vitiated kapha (phlegm) or vata (wind); NIGHANTU RATNAKARAM : removes cough, vitiated wind, detoxicant, appetiser, useful in eye troubles. AYURVEDA : acrid, alexipharmic, anodyne, anthelmintic, antipyretic, astringent, bitter, cardiotonic, digestive, diuretic, emetic,expectorant, laxative, stimulant, stomachic, uterine tonic; useful in amennorrhoea, asthma, bronchitis, cardiopathy, conjunctivitis, constipation, cough, dyspepsia, haemorroids, hepatosplenomegaly, inflammations, intermittant fever, jaundice and leucoderma; root emetic and removes phlegm; external application is useful in insectbite;
SIDDHA : an ingredient of 'Cirukuricinver'; UNANI : an ingredient of ‘Gurmarbuti’.
The fresh leaves, when chewed, paralyse the sense of sweet for sometime; for this reason it is called gur-mar, thereby meaning sugar-killer and impression has become prevalent in some parts of the country that it is useful in diabetes mellitus. Chewing fresh leaves also paralyse the taste of bitter for a while.
Modern use: Aerial parts (50% EtOH extract) : spasmolytic, hypyoglycaemic, in vitro antiviral against influenza A2 virus.
Phytography : Stout, woody, large climber; young branches slender and pubescent; leaves opposite, simple, petioles 0.6-1.2 cm, stout or slender, lamina 2.5-6.25 cm in length, elliptic or ovate, thinly coriaceous, upper surface rarely pubescent; cymes subglobose, ± 1.25 cm in diameter; flowers yellow, ±0.2 cm in diameter; follicles slender, ±5-7.5 by 0.8 cm; seeds pale brown, flat, ±1.25 cm long.
Phenology: Flowering: August-March; Fruiting: Winter.
Distribution: Mainly in Deccan peninsula, also found in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan; Sri Lanka.
Ecology and Cultivation: Grows in the plains from the coast, in scrub jungles and in thickets; wild.
Chemical contents: Leaf: conduritol A, gymnestrogenin, gymnamine, hentriacontane, nonacosane, penta-OH-triterpene.
Remark: In Sri Lanka, plant used in bone fractures.