History of Diabetes & Diabetics

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Coccinia grandis

Scientific classification






Botanical Name :Coccinia grandis

Coccinia grandis, the ivy gourd, also known as baby watermelon, little gourd or gentleman's toes is a tropical vine. Synonyms of the plant include, Cephalandra indica and Coccinia indica.


Coccinia grandis' native range extends from Africa to Asia including India, Philippines, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, eastern Papua, New Guinea and Northern Territories . Seeds or fragments of the vine can be relocated and lead to viable offspring. This can occur when humans transport organic debris or equipment containing C. grandis. Once Ivy Gourd is established, it is presumed that it is spread by birds, rats and other mammals. The fruit may be dispersed by pigs. Long distance dispersal is most commonly carried out by humans due to its culinary uses or by mistake.

Ivy gourd

Coccinia grandis grows in dense blankets that shade other plants from sunlight and high-jacking nutrients. It is sometimes tolerated along garden fences and other outdoor features because of its attractive white flowers.


Cultivation in Southeast Asia, ivy gourd is grown for its edible young shoots and edible fruits


Climbing,much branched,glabrous herb. Tendrils simple,slender. Leaves palmately 5 lobed,with a cordate base. Male flowers solitary,white. Female flowers white,staminodes 3,stigma densely papillose. Fruits fusiform ellipsoid,pulp red. Seeds oblong obovoid,much compressed,grayish yellow.

Flowers during March to October and fruits during October to December.

Medicinal value

In traditional medicine fruits have been used to treat leprosy,diabetes, fever, asthma, bronchitis and jaundice. The fruit possesses mast cell stabilizing; anti anaphylactic and antihistaminic potential. Ivy gourd extracts and other forms of the plant can be purchased online and in health food stores. It is claimed that these products help regulate blood sugar levels. There is some research to support that compounds in the plant inhibit the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase (Shibib et al, 1993). Glucose-6-phosphatase is one of the key liver enzymes involved in regulating sugar metabolism. Therefore, Ivy Gourd is sometimes recommended for diabetic patients. Although these claims have not been supported, there currently is a fair amount of research focused on the medicinal properties of this plant focusing on its use as an antioxidant, anti-hypoglycemic agent, immune system modulator, etc. Some countries in Asia like Thailand prepare traditional tonic like drinks for medicinal purposes.

Regional names

  • Giloda - Gujarati -

  • toruli / kundri- (Bengali),

  • tindora (tindori, tindoori) - (Hindi),

  • kundru -(Punjabi),

  • tondli - (Marathi),

  • toroda/kunduri - (Oriya),

  • kovai, kovakkai (Malayalam),

  • kovakkai -(Tamil),

  • dondakaya -(Telugu),

  • tondekayi -(Kannada).


There are a variety of recipes from all over the world that list Ivy Gourd as the main ingredient. It is often compared to bitter melon. The fruit is commonly eaten in Indian cuisine for the purpose of controlling diabetes. People of Indonesia, and other southeast Asian countries also consume the fruit and leaves. Cultivation of ivy gourd in home gardens has been encouraged in Thailand due to its being a good source of several micronutrients, including vitamins A and C.

In India it is eaten as a curry, by deep-frying it along with or without chilli & garlic, garlic giving it excellent taste; stuffing it with masala and sauteing it ; or boiling it first in a cooker and then frying it. It is also used in sambar, a vegetable and lentil-based soup.


Ivy gourd is rich in beta-carotene.

Gymnema sylvestre

Scientific classification
Botanical Name :Gymnema sylvestre

Common names include miracle fruit, gymnema, cowplant, Australian cowplant, gurmari, gurmarbooti, gurmar, periploca of the woods, and meshasringa.


Gymnema sylvestre is an herb native to the tropical forests of southern and central India.Common in the hills of Bihar,Orissa,Madhya Pradesh and Deccan peninsula.


G. Sylvestre is large climbers, rooting at nodes, leaves elliptic, acuminate, base acute to acuminate, glabrous above sparsely or densely tomentose beneath; Flowers small, in axillary and lateral umbel like cymes, pedicels long; Calyx-lobes long, ovate, obtuse, pubescent; Corolla pale yellow campanulate, valvate, corona single, with 5 fleshy scales. Scales adnate to throat of corolla tube between lobes; Anther connective produced into a membranous tip, pollinia 2, erect, carpels 2,unilocular; locules many ovuled; Follicle long, fusiform.

Chemical composition

The major bioactive constituents of Gymnema sylvestris are a group of oleanane-type triterpenoid saponins known as gymnemic acids. The latter contain several acylated (tigloyl, methylbutyroyl etc.,) derivatives of deacylgymnemic acid (DAGA) which is the 3-O-glucuronide of gymnemagenin (3,16,21,22,23,28-hexahydroxy-olean-12-ene). 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, hentriacontane, pentatriacontane, α and β-chlorophylls, phytin, resins, d-quercitol, 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.

Chewing the leaves suppresses the sensation of sweet. This effect is attributed to the presence of the eponymously named gymnemic acids. G. sylvestre has been used as a natural treatment for diabetes for nearly two millennia

Use as herbal medicine

While it is still being studied, and the effects of the herb are not entirely known. Gymnema reduces the taste of sugar when it is placed in the mouth. From extract of the leaves were isolated glycosides known as gymnemic acids, which exhibit anti-sweet activity. This effect lasts up to about 2 hours. Some postulate that the herb may reduce cravings for sugar by blocking sugar receptors in the tongue. This effect was observed in isolated rat neurons.

The active ingredients are thought to be the family of compounds related to gymnemic acid: purified gymnemic acids are widely used as experimental reagents in taste physiology and have also an anti-diabetic effect in animal models,reduce intestinal transport of maltose in rats when combined with acarbose,and reduce absorption of free oleic acid in rats.

Historically, the leaves were used for stomach ailments, constipation, water retention, and liver disease.

A water-soluble extract of G. sylvestre caused reversible increases in intracellular calcium and insulin secretion in mouse and human β-cells when used at a concentration (0.125 mg/ml) without compromising cell viability. This in vitro data suggests that extracts derived from Gymnema sylvestre may be useful as therapeutic agents for the stimulation of insulin secretion in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The rise in insulin levels may be due to regeneration of the cells in the pancreas. G. sylvestre can also help prevent adrenal hormones from stimulating the liver to produce glucose in mice, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. Clinical trials with diabetics in India have used 400 mg per day of water-soluble acidic fraction of the Gymnema leaves. However, G. sylvestre cannot be used in place of insulin to control blood sugar by people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Alternative names

Despite the part used being the leaf, one common name of this species is miracle fruit, a name shared by two other species: Synsepalum dulcificum and Thaumatococcus daniellii. Both species are used to alter the perceived sweetness of foods.

In English the species is also known as gymnema, cowplant, and Australian cowplant.

This species also goes under many other names such as; Gurmari, Gurmarbooti, Gurmar, periploca of the woods and Meshasringa. The Hindi word Gur-mar (Madhunaashini in Sanskrit, Chakkarakolli in Malayalam,Podapatri in Telugu), literally means sugar destroyer. Meshasringa (Sanskrit) translates as "ram's horn", a name given to the plant from the shape of its fruits. Gymnema derives from the Greek words "gymnos" and "nēma" meaning "naked" and "thread" respectively, the species epitheton sylvestre means "of the forest" in Latin.

Gymnema Sylvestre extract and leaf herbal supplement - use for diabetes: Proved Scientifically.

Its therapeutic role in relation to diabetes mellitus, rheumatic arthritis, weight management and gout have been well known for a long time by Ayurvedic doctors in India. Extracts of this plant are widely used in Australian, Japanese, Vietnamese and Indian folk medicine. However, gymnema is best known for its benefits in diabetes. It helps support healthy blood sugar levels. Gymnema sylvestre contains compounds known as gymnemic acids and tritepenoid saponins, gymnemasins A, B, C and D.  

The leaves have antibacterial compounds. Anti-allergic, antiviral, lipid lowering and other effects are also reported. Rodent studies indicate that the use of this herbal extract may have the capacity to maintain healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Gymnema Sylvestre has been used traditionally in India for centuries and has been shown in research to support healthy glucose metabolism by mediation of insulin release and activity and enhancement of healthy pancreatic function. This Gymnema Sylvestre extract is standardized to 25% gymnemic acids, the same concentration used in clinical research. In addition to active saponin ingredients called gymnemic acids, the herb contains a number of other saponins,anthraquinones, and flavonoid compounds including kaempferol and quercetin.

Diabetic patients were orally administered 1 gram of gymnema extract daily for 60 days. The herb induced increases in circulating insulin and C-peptide which produced reductions in fasting and post-prandial glucose. Also, in vitro measurements of human cells demonstrated direct stimulatory effects of insulin secretion. Al-Romaivan A, Liu B, Asare-Anane H, et al. A novel Gymnema sylvestr1e extract stimulates insulin secretion from human islets in vivo and in vitro..

Antidiabetic effect of a leaf extract from Gymnema sylvestre in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients.

The effectiveness of GS4, an extract from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre, in controlling hyperglycaemia was investigated in 22 Type 2 diabetic patients on conventional oral anti-hyperglycaemic agents. During supplementation, the patients showed a significant reduction in blood glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin and glycosylated plasma proteins, and conventional drug dosage could be decreased. Five of the 22 diabetic patients were able to discontinue their conventional drug and maintain their blood glucose homeostasis with Gymnema alone. These data suggest that the beta cells may be regenerated/repaired in Type 2 diabetic patients with supplementation. This is supported by the appearance of raised insulin levels in the serum of patients after supplementation.

Gymnema with out side effects

A one year study on rodents did not show any toxicity. Limited human studies also confirm its safety when used for about a year or two. Doctors in India who have extensive experience with this herb have not mentioned any major side effects with its use.

Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract: a 52-week dietary toxicity study in Wistar rats

Center for Biological Safety and Research, National Institute of Health Sciences, Kamiyoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
A 52-week study of oral-repeated-dose toxicity for the extraction powder of Gymnema sylvestre, Indian-native genus, Metaplexis japonica, was conducted in both genders of Wistar rats. The rats were administered a graded dose of the plant at 0.01, 0.10 and 1% of basal powder diet, along with a group fed solely with the basal powder diet without gymnema. At 26 weeks, for an intermediate examination, and 52 weeks, for the final examination, animals were subjected to hematology, serum chemistry, and pathological examination. None of the animals died in the period up to 52 weeks. No exposure-related changes in body-weight, in the food consumption, in the hematological examinations, or in the serum biochemical examinations were recognized. No

histopathological alterations were seen. Thus, it was concluded that there was no toxic effect in rats treated with gymnema at up to 1% in the diet for 52 weeks.

Terminalia chebula

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