Super sugar buster

Question: I remember reading several years ago about an herb that can eliminate sweet flavors. I’m interested in knowing what it is and how it works (and hoping it can help me cut down on my chocolate cravings!). Thank you!

Dr. Wright: The herb you’re referring to is called gymnema. We featured it in the Botanical of the Month column all the way back in the January 2002 issue of Nutrition and Healing.

While I read just about everything I can get my hands on to stay on top of nutritional therapies, no one knows herbs better than the author of the original article, my friend and colleague, Kerry Bone. So, I passed your question on to him.

Here’s what Kerry had to say:

"Gymnema literally blocks your taste buds from recognizing sweet flavors. So within minutes of putting it on your tongue, eating a cookie tastes like eating a wad of salt and flour — not very appetizing.

"Gymnema works rapidly to remove the taste of sugar, but it can also work quickly to control blood sugar levels. Used on its own, it won’t drop your blood sugar levels enough to cause hypoglycemia. But, it is important to point out that there is the risk that this could happen if its used with insulin or anti-diabetic drugs. So in these cases, gymnema should only be taken under professional supervision.

"A group of compounds known as gymnemic acids appear to be largely responsible for gymnema’s sweet-abolishing properties and also could contribute substantially to its antidiabetic activity.

"I recommend taking 4 grams of gymnema in tablet form two to three times a day, for a total daily dose of 8 to 12 grams. It works best when taken about 10 to 15 minutes before meals."

You should be able to find gymnema at your local health food store.

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Dr. Jonathan Wright

Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. has degrees from both Harvard University (cum laude) and the University of Michigan. More than any other doctor, he practically invented the modern science of applied nutritional biochemistry and he has advanced nutritional medicine for nearly three decades.

Thousands of doctors respect Dr. Wright as the author of the best-selling Book of Nutritional Therapy and Guide to Healing with Nutrition, as well as other classics in the field. Yet he regards all the above as secondary to his family medical practice. For more than 27 years, he has devoted his talents to helping heal many thousands of patients. Combining the most advanced new natural techniques with the best in traditional medicine, he takes a truly holistic approach.

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  1. says

    Dr. Wright,
    Don’t forget to advise that woman to make sure she’s
    getting adequate amts. of magnesium.
    Low levels of magnesium can cause choc. cravings.

  2. Steve S. says

    Usually the herb can be purchased in capsule extract form, so I have not noticed the taste bud suppressing effects of Gymnema.
    I really didn’t see a big drop in blood sugars with this herb. Rather, I have seen better results for sugar reduction with Fenugreek capsules. Another is Bitter Melon.

  3. NANCY H. LEE says

    My doctor prescribed GEMFIBROZIL 600 mg TAB TWO TIMES A DAY 30 MIN BEFORE MEALS. Is that same as the herb GYMNEMA mentioned in this article? I usually take this tablet after my meals; does taking after the meal matter very much? I usually taking most new medicine and avoid upset stomache from on EMPTY STOMACHE. I take most medicine NOT ON EMPTY STOMACHE TO AVOID NAUSEA. My Cholestrol level has not been tested yet. Do I expect to lower my next chemistry tests within 3-6 months? Thank-you for your service….Nancy

  4. Alice WessendorfAlice Wessendorf says

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for your comments!


    Gemfibrozil is a lipid / cholesterol lowering pharmaceutical drug available by prescription. It is not the same thing as Gymnema a natural herb.

    Anonymous 5,

    Gymnema is a fairly common herbal product and here in the USA you can find it in health food store or online using a search engine like Google. Unfortunately I don’t know about its availability in the Middle East.

    Anonymous 1,

    It is a temporary change but the length of time is likely different for every user.

    Has anyone else out there in the community tried gymnema personally and experience the dampening of sweet flavors? If so can you share with us how long after stopping the herb your taste for sweet flavors returned?

    Thanks again everyone for your comments and questions.

  5. Naturallyme says

    Has anyone tried Tamarind drink for lowering sugar? Found in India, Indian name “IMLI”

    Squeeze the pulp add water, raw, no cooking. It brought my sugar down to 102 from 286.

  6. Seg says

    If you want to see real real drop in blood sugar try Barberine extract, it has been shown to be just as effective as the diabetic drugs like glucophage but it also lowers your TRIGLYCERIDES (BLOOD FAT) without any side effects. Typical dosage is 500 gms 3 times a day..For obvious reasons you should not use together with your diabatic drugs though..

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