Did You Know…that a safe plant-based substance can wipe out a fungus that affects 80% of people?
Kansas State University microbiologist Govindsamy Vediyappan has made an exciting discovery about an ancient medicinal herb. He knew that Gymnema sylvestre, a tropical vine indigenous to India, Australia, and China, was widely used in developing countries to help diabetics lower their blood sugar levels. He wanted to know if this medicinal plant could also treat fungal pathogens. Results of his study? Gymnema sylvestre not only helps control blood sugar, but also stops the spread of a common fungal pathogen that lives in almost 80% of people!
Candida albicans is a common fungus that lives in the oral and intestinal areas of your body—for example, your mouth, rectum, and vagina. When it gets out of control, it can spread through the bloodstream, affecting your heart valves, throat, and intestines. When it escalates into a condition known as candidemia and other forms of invasive candidiasis, it can be life threatening for vulnerable individuals including cancer patients (especially those with neck and oral cancers) as well as HIV patients, organ transplant patients, and those with ill-functioning immune systems.
In its treatable yeast form, candida albicans is manageable. But once it transforms into hyphal form, it’s far less able to temper the fungus. When yeast develops into a hyphal growth, it forms long filament-like structures that branch out to various organs, adversely impacting health. Once it gets into the tissues, the immune system is unable to contain it… and on and on it spreads! Recently, researchers tested Gymnema sylvestre to see if it could stop yeast from transforming into the unruly hyphal form. In vitro results look promising.
Stop Right There!
Kansas City State University researchers extracted purified gymnemic acid compounds from the Gymnema sylvestre vine. They discovered that the compounds suppressed the transition stage from treatable yeast to hyphal form, thereby stopping the spread of the fungal pathogen.
Time is of the essence, however, because the transformation can happen in as little as 30 minutes of infection. Fortunately, the compounds from the Gymnema sylvestre vine work rapidly. And the compounds also stopped the spread of a different fungal pathogen called Aspergillus that threatens heart transplant and leukemia patients.
“We have shown that this compound is safe to use because it doesn’t hurt our body cells, yet it blocks the virulence of this fungus under in vitro conditions,” Vediyappan said. “Taking the medicine could potentially help patients control the invasive growth of the fungus and also help bring their sugar levels down.”
As an additional health bonus, Gymnema sylvestre also shows promise as a weight loss aid because it reduces the sweetness of sugar and acts as an appetite suppressant. You can find Gymnema sylvestre in capsule, powder, or tea form. Be sure to check the ingredient list—no fillers, binders, or excipients allowed! Natural health practitioners advise caution if you have a sensitive stomach, because Gymnema sylvestre may cause upset and nausea.