Organic Gynostemma – The Centenarian’s Secret!

beginner-yoga-meditationThe year 1953 marked the first national consensus in China. Demographers noted that two southern provinces had a surprisingly high number of people who lived up to a hundred and beyond. The reason for their exceptional longevity was believed to be the regular consumption of the locally grown Jiaogulan (gynostemma pentaphyllum) tea!

Such is the legend of Jiaogulan or ‘the immortality herb’ as people of the Guizhou province call it! However, it is well known that marketers often blow up a supplement’s efficacy out of proportion. So is this ‘fairy herb’ just another hoax or does it really have tangible, scientifically proven health benefits? Let us find out.

Organic gynostemma is widely marketed as a powerful adaptogenic and antioxidant. It is most commonly consumed as a herbal tea but it is also available in the form of capsules, pills, powders and as an alcohol extract. This natural supplement is barely mentioned in Traditional Chinese Medicine as it is indigenous to the southern region and does not grow on the mainland. However, the herb has been studied by pharmologists since the 1970’s and research indicates that gynostemma pentaphyllum does in fact possess certain healing and curative qualities.

Tests show that Jiaogulan acts as a potent antioxidant and it inhibits the formation of tumors – which explains why many believe it is to be a possible cure for cancer. The consumption of Jiaogulan has been linked to elevated levels of the antioxidant – superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD boosts the body’s innate ability to fight diseases and helps in the regeneration of naturally occurring fighter cells. Jiaogulan is an adaptogenic and it enables the body to achieve homeostatis. Simply put, organic gynostemma helps the body to maintain equilibrium. It automatically detects what is wrong with an individual’s system and restores it to normalcy. It adapts to each person’s specific needs and hence the name adaptogen. No wonder locals describe it as the cure for all maladies!

Jiaogulan tea contains many vital minerals and vitamins. Some of these include calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc etc. It has more than twice the number of gypenosides in comparison to ginseng. Thus, it often goes by the name poor man’s ginseng or simply southern ginseng. The herb can be useful in treating a number of ailments and conditions such as obesity, insomnia, migraines, acne, warts, inflammation, gastric problems and common allergies and cold. It increases the body’s basal metabolic rate and helps to burn fat. It increases oxygen and blood supply to all parts of the body – this prevents premature graying and loss of hair. The alleviation of dermatological problems results in glowing skin and healthy, lustrous hair.

Gynostemma Pentaphyllum has been tested for its effectiveness in regulating blood pressure and the results are nothing short of remarkable! In a particular study involving grade 2 hypertension patients, gypenosides from Jiaogulan were able to cure hypertension in 82% of the cases. Ginseng was effective only in 46% of the cases while Indapamine was effective in 91% of the times. Indapamine is a diuretic drug prescribed for hypertension and even though it demonstrates slightly better efficacy, it also has a number of side effects such as weakness, fatigue, frequent urination, low potassium levels etc. Other studies show that Jiaogulan causes heart cells to release nitrous oxide – this too plays an integral role in the regulation of blood pressure.

Jiaogulan has been proven to reduce triglycerides, serum cholesterol and bad cholesterol. It also increases good cholesterol and contributes significantly to better cardiovascular health. The herb also reduces blood sugar and can be useful as a hypoglycaemic agent for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.

It is important to note that Jiaogulan is not exactly a cure for ailments – it simply utilizes the body’s natural ability to cure itself. Thus, it has almost no obnoxious side effects. It has also been tested for toxicity and the results indicate that gynostemma is not at all toxic for humans. However, little research has been conducted on the effect of the herb on infants and pregnant women. Thus, it is a good idea to refrain from the consumption of Jiaogulan tea during pregnancy. If you are on prescription drugs, then it is probably best to consult your physician before beginning to consume Jiaogulan regularly.

On the whole, Organic gynostemma demonstrates innumerable therapeutic properties. It is light, refreshing and has a natural sweet favor. It has no caffeine and it is a much healthier alternative to coffee, milkshakes, soda and other sugary drinks. It fights depression and causes the brain to release ‘happy’ hormones. A couple of cups of Jiaogulan tea per day is just what your body needs!

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