By Syed AkbarGymnema sylvestre or Gurmar is hailed as a natural `sugar buster'. As its Hindi nameGurmar suggests, the plant has properties to kill sugar (Gur, jaggery or sugar; mar, kill) in the blood stream. Itswonderful hypoglycaemic (sugar lowering) properties have made this herb a natural choice of Ayurveda and Unani doctorsas an anti-diabetes drug. It is a time tested herb as its formulations have been in use in traditional systems ofmedicine in different parts of the world for at least 2500 years. Herbalists often call Gymnema as a miracle fruit. However, its leaves are used in herbalformulations. The fruit is not used. Gurmar's action is quick and instant. If you want to test whether Gurmar leaveshave hypoglycaemic properties, take a leaf, wash it properly and chew it. For the next two hours you will not be able totaste or feel anything sweet. Sugar will not "taste" sweet to your taste buds. Ancient Ayurveda texts had dwelt at length on the health benefits of Gurmar(mesha-shringi in Sanskrit) in diabetics. It is also known as Madhu-naashini in Sanskrit. Modern experiments, both in vivo and in vitro, have shown that Gurmar works well with type 2 or non-insulin dependent diabetes. In case of type 1 or insulin dependent diabetes, intake of Gurmar reduces the need of external insulin injections. Type 1 diabetics willhave to take insulin supplement along with Gurmar. -------------------- Home remedies -------------------- If you want to fight obesity by reducing the intake of sugar, chocolates or sweets, justchew a leaf or two of Gurmar. It will reduce your craving for sugar or sweet preparations. Gurmar leaf acts on the taste buds that recognise sweetness and thus your cravings for sugary things will go down the natural way. Gymnema herbal tea is readily available in the market. You may try this special tea tokeep your blood sugar levels under check, in case you are a diabetic. Non-diabetics may also drink Gymnema herbal teaas a general tonic, as the herb is considered as a body "refrigerant". Herbal practitioners believe that Gurmar has special properties that fights snake venom.Snakebite is often treated by using a paste prepared from the root of Gurmar plant. Fever (high body temperature) can be brought down through Gurmar extracts available withherbal stores. Finely ground and sieved seeds of Gurmar are often prescribed for asthma.