A quick description:
1. Powerful anti-oxidant
2. Restores equilibrium in the body and mind.
3. Calms nerves; relieves stress and anxiety, and promotes sound sleep
4. Reduces fatigue; increases stamina and boosts energy levels
5. Lowers cardiovascular risks; regulates blood pressure and reduces cholesterol levels
6. Strengthens immunity
7. Overall good health and longevity
8. Free from synthetic chemicals like pesticides or additives
Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is a herb native to distant mountains of southern China and is also grown in many other parts of Asia including Japan and Thailand. It is known for its amazing and almost unbelievable therapeutic and anti-aging effects.
Scientific studies and extensive research credit its health benefits and disease prevention capabilities to the presence of saponins – complex chemical compounds also called triterpene glycosides or gypenosides – bestowing Jiaogulan with incredible anti-oxidant, neuro-protective, blood pressure reducing, cholesterol lowering, detoxifying, anti-cancer, anti-aging and immune system enhancing characteristics. Some of the saponins found in Jiaogulan are structurally and functionally very similar to the compounds found in ginseng. That is why Jiaogulan is also commonly known as Southern Ginseng. However, Jiaogulan contains more than 150 different saponins, almost six times as many saponins as there are in Panax Ginseng – clearly giving Jiaogulan an edge and making it a superior adaptogenic and anti-oxidant herb.
The list of bio-active compounds in Jiaogulan also includes a wide spectrum of nutrients and micronutrients such as vitamins, polysaccharides, bio-flavonoids, amino acids, proteins and numerous trace minerals.
Jiaogulan: “The Herb of Immortality”
Jiaogulan has been traditionally used as a rejuvenating tonic for hundreds of years to increase stamina, rid the body of stress and fatigue, and promote healthy sleep. It has also been a common folk medicine to treat many conditions and infectious diseases such as common cold, jaundice, bronchitis etc.
Jiaogulan first caught the attention of the Chinese government and modern researchers during China’s first nationwide census in 1970. The data showed that residents of some villages of Guizhou, Guangxi and Sichuan provinces had longer lives and incredibly low occurrence of cancer, neuro-degenerative, diabetes and other diseases commonly associated with age.
An investigation revealed that the only thing common between these natives was the regular consumption of tea made from a wild herb they hailed as “The Immortality Herb”. This interesting discovery, along with the promising research coming from Japan at the same time, intensified the interest in Jiaogulan – leading to large-scale scientific studies and human clinical trials that spanned over ten years. The astonishing results from these intensive modern studies only validated what natives had already known for hundreds of years; Jiaogulan indeed had tremendous health supporting benefits.
Jiaogulan Health Benefits
Jiaogulan is known as one of the premier adaptogens – a rare group of plants with the unique ability to restore balance and improve the body’s ability to deal with stress. Dr. Israel Brekhman, a renowned research scientist who is also considered a leading authority on adaptogens, defined 3 criteria to be qualified as a true adaptogen, namely;
- safe and non-toxic
- the ability to increase the body’s nonspecific resistance to stress, and
- the ability to normalize overall physiological functions.
An impressive range of saponins present in Jiaogulan gives the herb unique adaptogenic, adrenal nourishing and immune modulating properties.
- Supports and activates the body’s capacity to self-heal and adapt to stress – be it physiological, chemical, psychological or environmental.
- Works in multi-directional ways to bring balance in the body. Jiaogulan can either stimulate or slow down the body’s numerous functions, depending on what is required to create homeostasis.
- Regulatory and normalizing influence on multiple body systems – such as immune system, reproductive system, central nervous system, circulatory system, cardiovascular system, immune system and endocrine system. For example, Jiaogulan can energize you if you are feeling down and fatigued and it can also sooth your nerves, lowering your stress and anxiety levels. Similarly, it helps in regulating blood pressure and blood glucose levels by either raising or depressing these factors in response to the body’s requirement.
Anti-oxidants fight free radicals – highly reactive and unstable molecules formed as a by-product when our cells process oxygen to produce energy and carry out bio-chemical reactions critical for growth, development and survival. Free radicals are known to cause oxidative damage to fragile cellular structures such as DNA, lipids, proteins and mitochondria – playing a major role in the onset of many chronic, degenerative conditions such as cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and vison loss.
Endogenous anti-oxidants (produced by our bodies) are considered more effective than exogenous anti-oxidants (sourced from foods or supplements) because a major portion of the anti-oxidants supplied from external sources are destroyed during digestion, making them less bio-available. In addition, our ability to produce endogenous anti-oxidants takes a hit as we age, taking away our defences against oxidative damage induced by free radicals.
- Helps the body to produce three of the most powerful anti-oxidants: Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Glutathione and Catalase
- Saponins, the main bioactive chemical compounds in Jiaogulan, stimulate the body’s innate ability to produce its very own anti-oxidants arsenal. Scientists associate this unique property to anti-aging, disease preventing and longevity benefits offered by Jiaogulan.
- Works synergistically with other anti-oxidants, thus supporting the body’s ability to scavenge free radicals.
Nourishes nervous system; relieves stress and anxiety
Jiaogulan regulates, protects and boosts the functions of the central and peripheral nervous systems. This is achieved due to Jiaogulan’s anti-oxidant properties along with its miraculous ability to bring equilibrium between the central nervous system, endocrine glands and other organs.
- Recharges the depressed nervous system as well as calm overexcited nerves – showing bi-phasic beneficial action.
- Manages insomnia and promotes healthy sleep. Most importantly, it is not addictive
- Reduces symptoms linked with anxiety, depression and mood disorders.
- Improves cognitive functions such as memory and learning, especially in the elderly .
- Regulates and tones the endocrine system with a distinct strengthening effect on adrenal system – optimizing the functions of stress hormone and advancing body’s ability to deal with adapt to stress much more effectively .
Heart healthy benefits
Jiaogulan minimizes various risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, whether it is atherosclerosis, arterial damage, high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure. Two main mechanisms employed by Jiaogulan in maintaining a strong, healthy heart are to:
- neutralize oxidative damage to the organs in the cardiovascular system andstimulate the endothelium to release nitric oxide (NO). NO plays a very critical role in maintaining cardiovascular health and overall well-being.
- Reduces the incidence of atherosclerosis (thickening of arteries due to excessive plaque build-up) by regulating blood cholesterol levels. Jiaogulan helps to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels while improving HDL cholesterol .
- Lowers blood pressure by relaxing cardiac blood vessels and improving blood circulation .
- Lowers heart attacks and ischemic stroke risk. Jiaogulan restricts the aggregation of blood platelets, not allowing them to stick along the arterial surface and form a fatal clot when plaque within a coronary artery ruptures .
- Nourishes the overloaded and weakened heart muscle.
Mighty energy booster; improves energy levels and stamina
Jiaogulan supplements are often used by athletes to increase endurance, strength, stamina and energy levels. Not surprisingly, it helps to achieve high performance. The ability to regulate NO production, presence of saponins and polysaccharides coupled with its anti-oxidant enhancing power helps Jiaogulan to enable the body to recover from fatigue, increase energy levels and achieve improved heart efficiency.
- Improves cardiac efficiency and blood circulation. This increases the oxygen and nutrients carrying capacity of blood vessels – resulting in delayed production of lactic acid, delayed onset of fatigue and improved energy levels.
- Nitric Oxide also stimulates the production of human growth hormone (HGH), which plays a significant role in building muscle mass and fat breakdown 
- Reduces exercise-induced oxidative stress with increased production of endogenous antioxidants such as glutathione, catalase and superoxide dismutase.
- In addition, polysaccharides present in Jiaogulan helps the body to recover from exhaustion faster.
Other Notable Health Benefits Offered by Jiaogulan
1. Improves digestion and promotes weight loss
2. Supports the immune system
3. Regulates hormone levels
4. Maintains blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity
5. Aids in liver functions and removes toxins from the body
6. Fights as well as prevents cancer
7. Slows down aging
8. Improves brain function
Precautions: Side effects and interactions
Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before you consume Jiaogulan in any form. Be forthcoming with any information regarding your medical history, current health status and any prescription and non-prescription medicines you may be taking. As with any herbal supplement, start with low dose and increase the intake according to how your body responds. There are some conditions where it might not be suitable to use Jiaogulan, such as:
1. Not recommended for small children, pregnant and lactating women.
2. High doses may cause slight nausea and increased bowel movements. This might be because of the cleansing and detoxifying effect of Jiaogulan on the body. However, don’t ignore the symptoms. Stop using the product and consult your doctor right away.
3. Consult your doctor if you are taking any blood pressure medication.
4. If you are taking any conventional or herbal treatment that thins blood, you should be cautious using Jiaogulan because of its anti-coagulant properties. Jiaogulan may interfere with the platelet functions – preventing blood clots formation and resulting in uncontrolled bleeding.
5. Jiaogulan boosts immune functions and as such would have conflicting effect if you are on any immunosuppressant drugs. These drugs are commonly prescribed after organ transplant surgeries so that the body doesn’t reject the new organ.
This data is only intended for education and information purposes only while not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any aforementioned disease. It is not in any way intended to diagnose, prescribe or substitute the advice or treatment recommended your physician or other health care professionals.
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