Gynostemma pentaphyllum, commonly known as Jiaogulan is a native Chinese herb and grows in the wild in many other countries throughout the Asian continent. The herb has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years as a source of energizing tea and medication. Gynostemma is also sometimes referred to as “Southern Ginseng” as it is found in the southern region of China and its chemical composition is quite similar to Ginseng. Praised by the locals as Xiancao, meaning”immortality”, Gynostemma has been revered by the Chinese for its anti-aging effects and health bestowing properties.
Gynostemma or Jiogulan was discovered in the late 1970’s by Japanese scientists who were researching different medicinal properties of natural herbs. They discovered that Gynostemma had impeccable therapeutic and illness prevention properties. They realized that the medicinal properties of Gynostemma were not only similar to Ginseng in many ways, but also superior in some ways. They revealed that Gynostemma not only had adaptogenic properties, but antioxidant properties as well. The Japanese scientists denoted that Jiogulan also had several healthy saponins, along with trace nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids.
Modern Scientific Research
Ever since the modern discovery of the health benefits that Jiogulan possesses, there have been several studies and clinical trials conducted to know more about this “immortality” herb. The research conducted by the Chinese claims that Gynostemma has the properties to reduce cholesterol levels in the body by boosting the ability of the liver to transport carbohydrates and sugars to the muscles for energy conversion. Gynostemma reduces the bad cholesterol levels while improving the good cholesterol levels and improves fat metabolism in the body.
Moreover, another study conducted by the Guiyang Medical College reported that in a test conducted with Gynostemma recipe, the candidates showed increased energy and muscle endurance. The adaptogenic properties of the herb are reflected in the research that shows in increased brain function, hormonal balancing in men and women as well as increased resistance of the body against pathogens.
A test conducted by the researchers at Guiyang Medical College in the year 1993 revealed some of the enticing properties of Gynostemma. The study involved, 310 individuals, out of which 630 were above the age of 50 years. The was reported that after receiving administered doses of Gynostemma for one month, the production of important antioxidants in their body increased, MDA (substance that causes cellular destruction) reduced, bad cholesterol and serum triglyceride also decreased. The study also revealed how a daily dose of Gynostemma increased cardiac contraction, which increased the blood flow from the arteries, without any effect on the heart rate or the blood pressure of the individuals.
With the increased awareness and medical intervention, it is apparent how important is it to make the right lifestyle choices to live a healthy and long life. Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke have been closely related to high cholesterol levels in the body. Conditions such as hypertension tend to impact the HDL (good cholesterol) levels and raises the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), which can impact the cardiovascular system tremendously. This is where the medicinal properties of Gynostemma come in to aid in fighting cardiovascular diseases right from the roots.
Since it is an adaptogenic herb, it supports the body during the times of stress that occurs and helps the system to physically adapt to the changes. Moreover, many studies reveal that Gynostemma has been useful in reducing bad cholesterol levels by 65% to 96% success rate. By reducing the cholesterol levels in the blood and reducing the triglycerides, Gynostemma protects the heart from diseases and prevents the buildup of plaque in the arteries. The medicinal properties of this herb, enhance the circulation of blood in the brain which aids in memory enhancement and also helps the heart pump blood faster through the body, hence improving blood circulation.
Against Obesity: Every natural herb has weight reducing properties to an extent, but what makes Gynostemma more effective is that it targets the problem of weight gain at different levels. Drinking the herb as tea regularly has all the metabolic effects that are required for a sustainable and healthy weight loss regime. Gynostemma gets rid of the high levels of bad cholesterol, reduces triglyceride composition and helps the heart pump blood faster naturally. All of these processes together act as a chain reaction to burn the stored energy in the body (fat tissues) and thus aiding in weight loss.
A study conducted by Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine in the year 2006 used Gynostemma to test on patients suffering from fatty liver disease (which can only be cured by weight reduction). The study was conducted for six months and revealed impressive results n which the patients has higher liver enzyme levels, controlled triglycerides and improved body mass index.
Fighting Diabetes: Another surprising property of Gynostemma is that it helps in the prevention of Type II Diabetes with its properties to move carbohydrates and sugars directly to the muscles for ATP (energy) development. A recent study conducted by the Insititute of Hormone and Metabolic Research investigated the effect of Gynostemma on diabetic individuals.
24 individuals were given daily doses of Gynostemma tea instead of their daily medication for 24 weeks and were reported to have significantly lower blood sugar levels as well as reduced insulin resistance. None of the individuals were affected by any side effects such as hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, or reduced function of the kidneys or liver.
Benefits For Asthma: Gynostemma have been used for centuries by the Chinese to cure lung inflammation and other respiratory disorders. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine conducted animal research in the year 2008 with Gynostemma extract as a decoction to reduce the hyperesponsiveness of the airway tracts, which it’s the main reason that increases the tendency of bronchospasms. These bronchospams of the smooth muscles are the main culprits behind asthma, so curing the brochospasms could practically mean the cure for asthma. Moreover, Gynostemma was also reported to reduce immunological activities that cause the inflammation of the lungs in the first place.
There has been ample research and studies conducted to point towards the fact that Gynostemma is more than just an herbal medication,. It is a singular element that can provide prevention and cure of several medical ailments. As more studies are conducted every year and as more experts medically approve this herb, it I apparent why the Chinese refer it to as the herb of immortality.