Gymnema sylvestre is an Ayurvedic herb primarily used to help control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. The treatment is generally considered very safe, but does have the potential for some negative side effects, particularly if taken at the wrong dose or in conjunction with certain medications. One possible problem that may occur when taking it is hypoglycemia, where blood sugar drops to excessively low levels. Another of the gymnema sylvestre side effects that some people can experience is a loss of the sense of taste for sweetness. It can also cause abdominal discomfort and feelings of nausea.
As the herb is typically used to decrease blood sugar levels, it is not surprising that one of the most common gymnema sylvestre side effects is hypoglycemia. When a person's blood sugar drops too low, he or she may experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. The person may feel weak or tired, and his or her muscles may become shaky and hard to control. Feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, and confusion are also common gymnema sylvestre side effects, as are sweating and feelings of hunger.
Although hypoglycemia is generally not dangerous if treated appropriately, it does have the potential to lead to loss of consciousness and should therefore be addressed quickly. The dosage of gymnema sylvestre should also be re-evaluated to ensure it is appropriate for the patient. This is particularly true if he or she is taking any other medications that affect blood sugar levels.
Another of the gymnema sylvestre side effects that people may experience is a decrease or loss in the ability to taste things that are sweet. Sometimes referred to as the "sugar destroyer," gymnema sylvestre can suppress sweet taste recognition by the tongue and may therefore also help suppress cravings for sugar. This may be a desirable side effect for some people. In addition to this possible result, gymnema sylvestre is also thought to block lipid absorption, which is why in some cases the herb is used as a weight loss remedy.
Discomfort in the digestive system can be another of the gymnema sylvestre side effects. Some people who take the herb may feel nauseated and may sometimes even vomit. It can also lead to abdominal cramping and pain. These issues typically affect people who take gymnema sylvestre on an empty stomach; taking it with a snack or meal can greatly reduce the chances of these things occurring.