JiaoGuLan, also known as Gynstemma Pentaphyllum or Gynotemma for short, is a Chinese Medicine herb that is often called the Grass of the Immortals or Miracle Grass . It is also sometimes called sweet tea vine because it has a slightly sweet taste when made into an herbal infusion. It is commonly classified as an adaptogen, and because of that, it was previously referred to as “Southern Ginseng” despite not being in the ginseng family.
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Adaptogenic Herb: Jiaogulan
Adaptogenic herbs, including Jiaogulan, are defined by three key characteristics:
- generally regarded as safe (eg nontoxic)
- support the body to resist the effects of stress, and
- help balance and normalize the systems of the body.
Unlike some other adaptogens, jiaogulan is calming, and is therefore appropriate for anxious people, those suffering from stress headaches or anxiety-induced insomnia, or anyone looking to reduce tension and encourage relaxation. Despite it’s calming nature, traditional cultures of Asia have drunk Jiaogulan tea as a way to get energized and increase concentration. With this two-way action, we see the adaptogenic properties in effect: the moderating and balancing action of the herb.
Health Benefits of Jiaogulan
Besides being an adaptogen, gynostemma is also rich in antioxidants, cholesterol-lowering compounds, immune-boosting properties, and seems to have liver-protective actions.
Traditional cultures of China used it to fight fatigue, prevent colds, enhance longevity, and increase endurance.
More modern research suggests jiaogulan can help moderate blood sugar spikes (in mice) when consuming excess sugar [source].
Further research, mostly in China and the US, suggests that gynostemma improves immune function, may inhibit tumor growth, reduces oxidative damage particularly to the cardiovascular system through increasing production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), and lowers blood pressure, LDL, VLDL, and triglycerides [source: Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston and Steven Maimes (2007).]
Where to get Jiaogulan
Jiaogulan is frequently consumed as an herbal infusion (tea) due to its slightly sweet taste, which makes it easy to drink. For tea, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried herb to 8 ounces of hot (but not boiling) water. Allow to steep for at least 10 minutes. It is also found as a powder, tincture, or as a standardized extract in capsules.
For a non-therapeutic dose, but rather to benefit from it’s adaptogenic and calming nature, we’ve included it in our Belight Tea blend, where it helps address cravings and the tendency to snacking.
You can find various form of jiaogulan online, in health food and supplement stores, or buy our Belight Tea online here.