Gynostemma pentaphyllum, also called jiaogulan is an herbaceous vine of the family Cucurbitaceae (cucumber or gourd family) indigenous to the southern reaches of China, Vietnam, southern Korea and Japan. Jiaogulan is best known as an herbal medicine reputed to have powerful antioxidant and adaptogenic effects that increase longevity. The people living in the Guizhou Province affectionately call Jiaogulan the tea of immortality, because it is said that those that drank it (several times a day) – lived to an extremely old age and still had radiant skin and health.
In 1976 a Japanese researcher, looking for a sugar alternative, studied a perennial weed known for its sweetness. He discovered an herb with many qualities similar to ginseng, even though unrelated as a plant. This event sparked years of scientific research on jiaogulan, praised in China as xiancao, the herb of immortality, revealing it to be a powerful adaptogenic and antioxidant herb with many health-giving properties.
Cholesterol:Scientific studies have confirmed jiaogulan's ability to assist the regulation of serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol), and HDL (good cholesterol, which helps to metabolize cholesterol from the arteries).
Blood Pressure:Jiaogulan has been widely reported to be effective in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Although the exact mechanism is still being researched, studies have shown that jiaogulan improves the metabolism of the heart directly 2 as well as enhances the release of nitric oxide in the body, which helps to relax the coronary blood vessels.
Digestion:While jiaogulan is great for regulating cholesterol, it also assists a good weight loss program, by improving and strengthening digestion. At the same time, it helps an underweight person by assisting the absorption of nutrients. This regulatory effect on bodily functions is the hallmark of an Adaptogen.
Strength and Endurance:The results of human studies confirm that jiaogulan can enhance the contractility of the heart muscle and heart pumping function. Other studies have shown that the saponins in jiaogulan increase strength and endurance in the body. Considering these findings overall, jiaogulan becomes the perfect herb for anyone who wants to improve his competitive edge in any field of athletic performance.
Immunity:Jiaogulan has also demonstrated an ability to support the immune system when under the siege of various destructive agents.6,7 Jiaogulan has also shown its effectiveness, in clinical research studies, as a potent immunomodulator. It increases the production of Lymphocytes, Phagocytes,
Adaptogenic Properties:Jiaogulan has a biphasic effect on brain functions, energizing or calming the system depending upon need, as well as on the regulation of hormonal functions in both men and women. The healthy maintenance of these physiological actions plays a major role in the body's ability to cope with stress.
Antioxidant Properties:The results of many scientific studies show that jiaogulan's powerful antioxidant quality protects against free radical damage.