Gymnema tea is a brew made from Gymnema sylvestre, a woody shrub that grows in Africa, India, and parts of Australia. Gymnema is part of the Ayurveda medicinal practice, which has roots that date back thousands of years and includes plants like Tinospora cordifolia or giloya, and holy basil or tulsi.
We’ve discussed a few of these herbs before and noted that they can be a little hit and miss. On the one hand, the benefits of tulsi can’t be overlooked, but on the other hand, giloya leaves a lot to be desired and simply doesn’t have the research to back up the many claims made about it.
The question is, where does Gymnema fit into all of this?
Health Benefits of Gymnema Tea
The following 5 health benefits of gymnema tea are all backed by scientific studies and the information is provided impartially. We don’t sell this tea and likely never will, but if you read through to the end of this article, you’ll see some links to similar products that we do sell, all of which are either farmed on organic farms or harvested from the wild.
Removes Your Ability to Taste Sweet Foods
We have discussed the health benefits of countless herbs and spices on this site and find ourselves discussing many of the same positives, most of which relate to a high antioxidant content. But Gymnema sylvestre can do something that none of those substances can, as it contains a unique compound that can effectively eliminate cravings for sweet foods.
This compound, known as gymnemic acid, affects how we perceive sweetness, essentially blocking the signals of sweetness and making sugar taste like sand. For this reason, gymnemic acid has become a party trick of sorts, with little packets handed around at parties followed by packets of sugar or honey. Once your tongue is coated with the acid, sugar loses its appeal, and it is theorized that this can help sugar addicts reduce their calorie intake. (1)
Not only does regular Gymnema sylvestre consumption prevent you from getting your sugar fix, but it gets rid of sweet cravings, as well.
It May Help with Weight Loss
Gymnema is often touted as a miraculous weight-loss product both for its ability to reduce sugar cravings and its apparent metabolic effect. Advocates point to studies in which participants lost over 5% of their body weight when consuming extracts of Gymnema sylvestre.
However, while impressive, this seems to be the result of the aforementioned gymnemic acid, as the same studies note that participants also ate less food.
If you eat less food, you’ll lose more weight; it’s a simple equation—one that gymnema consumption can help with.
It is an Anti-inflammatory
Gymnema contains plant compounds known as tannins, which are also found in red wine and black tea and are responsible for imparting a strong, earthy taste, as well as a number of health benefits.
These compounds have been studied extensively over the years and are thought to help with everything from chronic diseases like cancer, to immune support and more. Gymnema tea will also give you a hearty dose of plant compounds known as saponins, which can help fight oxidative stress while supporting the immune system.
It Could Help Lower Blood Sugar
Gymnema may stimulate the production of insulin, potentially reducing blood sugar. This is one of the most interesting and heavily researched benefits of gymnema, and it has even been considered as a treatment for type-2 diabetics.
Gymnema tea still can’t compete with prescription drugs, but it’s one of the most promising herbal alternatives on the market. It could provide support for individuals who haven’t quite reached the point where their condition needs to be managed with medication.
- It Could Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Gymnema could influence the way that the body stores fat, potentially reducing the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the process.
Studies on animals have found that gymnema can reduce the amount of fat stored in the liver and the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood. These have yet to progress to advanced human trials, but this research is very promising and suggests that regular consumption of gymnema could reduce the risk of heart disease.
How to Consume Gymnema Sylvestre
Gymnema is often consumed as a tea, with the leaves boiled for 5 to 10 minutes and then left to steep for a few minutes more. It is also available in powdered form, where it can be consumed by adding it to smoothies and shakes or by capping it.
How much you take and how many times you take it will depend on the method of ingestion and the reason you’re ingesting it. We recommend that you start with a small dose to assess tolerance and, if desired, increase steadily from there. If you notice any side effects or have a pre-existing medical condition, you should consult your doctor before consuming gymnema.
Similar Teas to Gymnema
As mentioned above, we don’t sell Gymnema here at Shelgo Tea, but if you’re looking for some of the same benefits, ones that are backed by countless research, then take a look at the following:
Sideritis Scardica (add link to bulk tea) is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory teas on the market right now, with an antioxidant level that can rival green tea, a taste that is sweeter and fuller, and some neurological and immune supportive benefits that few herbs can compete with.
Lower Blood Sugar:
Many culinary herbs can have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, including a number of herbs that you probably already consume on a daily basis. For instance, the oils in rosemary offered some amazing health benefits and the same is true for countless other strong-flavoured herb. One of our personal favourites, however, is Greek sage, which we stock.
Milk thistle is primarily known for its ability to support the liver and is used predominantly for this reason. However, it can also help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol, which in turn can support cardiovascular health.