In one study, a water soluble extract of Gymnema leaf was given to 27 type I diabetics at a dose of 400 mg/day for 10-12 months. During the study, their insulin requirements were decreased by about half, and their average blood glucose was reduced from 232 to 152 mg/ dL. Cholesterol, triglycerides and amylase (an enzyme that breaks down sugar) were also significantly lowered. In contrast, in study patients taking insulin therapy alone, these and other biochemical markers remained high (J Ethnopharmacol, 1990; 30: 281-94).
In two animal studies, Gymnema extract doubled the number of islet and beta cells in the pancreas of diabetic rats, lending support to the theory that it increases insulin secretion by regenerating beta cells (J Ethnopharmacol, 1986; 18: 143-6). But, as encouraging as these results are, remember that animal research often doesn't apply to humans. ........
.......... Nobody is suggesting that type 2 diabetics discard diet exercise and start taking herbs. However, botanical research provides a useful way of taking our thinking about diabetes into a new direction.