Jiagulan, also known by the name Gynostemma Pentaphyllum, is an ancient herb often used to make a medicinal herbal tea. What’s so special about this plant? Why is it called the ‘poor man’s ginseng’ or ‘herb of immortality’? And how can it benefit you? Learn every single fact you need to know about this herb below.
The Gynostemma plant is a climbing vine which is native to Japan, Korea and China. In biology, it belongs to Cucurbitaceae family of plants, and therefore closely related to watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin and other melons and gourds. It’s often consumed as a herbal tea.
Ginseng Alternative: Because Jiaogulan is used in many countries around the world for centuries, it known by many different names over time. One common name is the ‘fiveleaf Gynostemma herb’ which is based on the leaf appearance. However, the plant is especially famous for the fact that it contains many chemical compound that’s also found in Ginseng. Moreover, all the compounds that are related to health benefits that consumption of ginseng could bring, they’re present in even higher concentrations in the Jiaogulan plant. Because of this, it’s also known by the following names: five-leaf ginseng, poor man’s ginseng, southern ginseng.
What we didn’t mention in the previous paragraph is that this plant is also known by another fancy name: the ‘Herb of Immortality’.
Herb of Immortality: This name originates from the Guizhou province in China, where people are known to become much older compared to averages in China. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe this is due to the daily consumption of Jiaogulan tea, arguing that this medicinal herb restores one’s ‘Qi’.
Anti Stress: Herbalists classify the tea as an ‘adaptogen’, which is a term applied to herbs that offer anti-stress benefits by helping the body to balance. Thus, one main Jiaogulan benefit is that it improves the immune system.
Jiaogulan & Parkinson’s Disease: Some Chinese researchers also argue that the herb also offers protection against oxidative stress in the brain that is responsible for Parkinson’s disease.
Cholesterol: Some studies in the 1980s and 1990s also show that Jiaogulan in combination with Sacred Lotus and Japanese Hawthorn, result in a decrease in cholesterol levels in mice.
While there are many Gynostemma tea benefits, make sure to also watch for the side effects which you can learn more about in the next paragraph.
Nausea: Gynostemma tea can possibly cause some known side effects such as nausea and increased bowel movements.
Pregnancy: As good as the benefits might be, do avoid this herb during pregnancy and breast-feeding as not enough is known about the side effects when consumed in such situation.
Auto-Immune Disorder: Even though Jiaogulan causes the immune system to become more active. This can increase certain symptoms related to auto-immune diseases.
Slow Blood Clotting: At last, another side effect of Jiaogulan is that it might slow blood clotting or make such a medical disorder worse. Because of this, make sure to stop drinking Jiaogulan tea at least 1 month before any surgery is scheduled.