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Gudmar or Merasingi (Gymnema sylvestre R. Br.)

Contributor: Pankaj Oudhia

Copyright (c) 2002. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.

Gudmar or Merasingi (Gymnema sylvestre R. Br.)

Contributor: Pankaj Oudhia

English Name: Periploca of the woods, Small Indian ipecacuanha

Common (Indian) Name:
Hindi: Gudmar, Merasingi
Canarese: Sanngera, Sannagerse
Gujrati: Mardashingi
Marathi: Bediki, Kavali, Vakundi
Sanskrit: Mehashingi, Meshavalli, Vishani

Family: Asclepiadaceae

Botany: Much branched large woody climber, young stems are densely pubescent. Leaves - Opposite, Ovate, elliptic, base rounded or cordate . Flower - in Cymes; C. - Companulate; yellow, corona of 5 processes; Fruits - Follicle, lanceolate, usually single; Seeds - with thin marginal wing; flowering time in Indian conditions - April - May.

Habitat: In India naturally occur in monsoon forests.

Useful parts: Whole plant

Medicinal Properties: According to Ayurveda, it is bitter, acrid, cooling, tonic, alterative, anthelmintic, alexeritic. It cures eye complaints, burning sensation, biliousness, bronchitis, ulcers, asthma etc. The plant has been used to treat diabetes in India for 2,000 years by traditional medicinal practioners, but interest in its properties waned during the British colonial period when western rather than traditional therapy was official patronized by the government, as well as diminished with the advent of insulin. Leaves possess special feature. The leaves when chewed, have remarkable property of paralysing the taste glands for few hours against sweet and bitter taste.

Chemical Constituents: The leaves contain pentriacontane, hentriacontane, phytin, a and b chlorophylls, resin, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, mucilage, inositol, gymnemic acid and antheraquinone. The plant is reported to content alkaloids, betain, choline and trimethylamine in the leaves

Cultivation: Gymnema is under cultivation as medicinal crop in fairly large areas, in different parts of India. Standard cultivation practices for commercial cultivation has yet not been developed.

Resource Person:
Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management, (SOPAM)
28-A, College Road, Geeta Nagar
Raipur- 492001 India

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