The Benefits of Gynostemma Tea or Jiaogulan Tea

The Benefits of Gynostemma Tea or Jiaogulan Tea
The Benefits of Gynostemma Tea or Jiaogulan Tea

There are numerous benefits of drinking gynostemma tea or jiaogulan tea, including anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-stress, and anti-fatigue.

Known Benefits of Gynostemma Tea:

  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-tumor/Anti-cancer (Cheng et al., 2011; Li et al., 2012)
  • Anti-stress
  • Anti-fatigue
  • Antioxidant
  • AMPK activator
  • Anti-inflammatory (Liou, Huang, Kuo, Yang, & Shen, 2010)
  • Anti-mutagenic
  • Analgesic
  • Immunostimulant
  • Hypolipemic (Megalli, Aktan, Davies, & Roufogalis, 2005)
  • Hypoglycemic (Norberg et al., 2004)
  • Sedative
  • Anti-ulcer

Gynostemma Tea is My Drink of Choice

Personally, if I had to choose one herb to take for the rest of my life, I would have to pick “the immortality herb,” Gynostemma pentophyllum.

Gynostemma pentophyllum is also known as jiaogulan.

Drinking gynostemma tea for the past few years has increased my vitality and made my skin appear more youthful.

Jiaogulan Tea is my Drink of Choice
Jiaogulan Tea is my Drink of Choice

Gynostemma Pentophyllum is the World’s Most Powerful Adaptogen

Many people claim Gynostemma pentophyllum is the world’s most powerful adaptogen. There is also a widely held belief that regularly drinking jiaogulan tea is the reason certain areas of southern China, like the Guizhou province, have so many centenarians. A centenarian is a person that lives one hundred years or more.

I’m trying to live a long time, preferably 130+ years, and I think gynostemma tea might just help me do it (as long as I don’t get hit by the proverbial beer truck).

Traditional Use

For centuries, jiaogulan, otherwise known as Gynostemma pentaphyllum, has been known in parts of China as the immortality herb for its purported benefits of gracefully extending lifespan and deferring the negative effects of aging. People have been drinking gynostemma tea and eating it in salads for centuries.

Growing Jiaogulan

Jiaogulan is an herbaceous perennial vine that belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae that includes squashes, pumpkins, melons and cucumbers. It grows wildly in southern China and a few other parts of Asia, and is partial to USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. Luckily, I’m in zone 9A, so I can grow it outdoors! I’ve had great experience growing it indoors as well, so if you aren’t in zones 8-10, then I would recommend trying to grow it in a windowsill or under a grow light.

Gynostemma Pentaphyllum is also Known as “Southern Ginseng” Due to its Adaptogenic Properties

Gynostemma pentaphyllum, the world’s most powerful adaptogen, as far as I know, is also called “Southern Ginseng,” even though it belongs to an entirely different plant genus than Panax ginseng. Like ginseng, jiaogulan contains beneficial plant compounds called saponins that are believed to bestow adaptogenic and life-extending effects.

Jiaogulan has been found to contain at least 170 different saponins (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23993527), whereas Panax ginseng has been found to contain at least 112 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4593792/). Commonly, you will find on other websites claiming that jiaogulan has 82 saponins and ginseng has 28. I believe this to be outdated information. See the NCBI studies for more information.

Some of the saponins are shared between the two plants, even though Panax ginseng and Gynostemma pentaphyllum are two completely different species from different genera and families. The saponins in ginseng are referred to as ginsenosides, while the saponins in jiaogulan are referred to as gypenosides. Jiaogulan is the first plant not in the ginseng family, Araliaceae, in which ginsenosides are found in any significant amount.

The History of the Herb Gynostemma Pentophyllum

Jiaogulan was first written about during the Ming dynasty in China in 1406 AD by a prince named Zhu Xia in his book “Jiuhuang bencao” which translates to “Famine Relief Herbal,” but is more commonly referred to as “Materia Medica for Famine Relief.” Zhu Xia specified jiaogulan as a wild food plant that could be eaten in times of famine.

In 1578 AD, an herbal physician and man of many talents named Li Shizhen wrote about the medicinal properties of jiaogulan in the book “Compendium of Materia Medica.” Many people believe the “Compendium of Materia Medica” to be the most comprehensive medical book in traditional Chinese medicine. Li Shizhen wrote that jiaogulan could be used to treat tumors, hemorrhages, sore throats, traumas, hematuria, and edema in the pharynx and neck.

Modern Day Research

In 1976, Dr. Masahiro Nagai, a professor at Hoshi Pharmaceutical University, was looking for sweeteners to replace sugar. In addition to researching stevia, he also had the idea to analyze another sweetener source, jiaogulan, which is known as Amachazuru in Japan. While analyzing the components of jiaogulan, he discovered it had many of the same components as Panax ginseng. That same year he publicly announced his discovery at the Japanese Association of Pharmacologists in Hiroshima.

The next year, in 1977, Professor Takemoto, inspired by Dr. Masahiro Nagai’s work, analyzed jiaogulan and found that it contained four of the same saponins as Panax ginseng. Over the next decade, he discovered jiaogulan had 82 different saponins, while Panax ginseng only had 28. As I mentioned earlier, recent studies show that jiaogulan has over 170 saponins and Panax ginseng has over 112.

Jiaogulan Herb Found to Have Incredible Benefits

During the 1980s, Professor Takemoto and his team published three studies researching some of the health benefits of consuming jiaogulan.

The studies were done on mice and found that in swimming tests jiaogulan increased:

  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Activity levels

They also found that jiaogulan:

  • Inhibited tumors
  • Had adaptogenic effects

Chinese Government Determined Jiaogulan was the Reason Why a Disproportionate Amount of Guizhou Province Residents Live Past 100 Years Old

Sometime later, Chinese government officials and scientists were interested in finding out why residents of the mountainous Guizhou province in southern China had such a large percentage of people living over 100 years old that was above the national average.

Gynostemma Pentophyllum Found and Used in the Guizhou Province of China
Gynostemma Pentophyllum Found and Used in the Guizhou Province of China

After extensive surveys and analysis of the plants in their diets, the government concluded the increased lifespans were due to the majority of the residents consuming the locally growing Gynostemma pentophyllum as a tea or salad. It was a staple in their diets.

Newer Research Showing Gynostemma Tea Acts as a Powerful AMPK Activator that Aids in Losing Weight

In a study published in 2011 called, New dammarane-type glucosides as potential activators of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) from Gynostemma pentaphyllum, researchers found two novel compounds that strongly activate AMPK in cultured cells and may contribute to beneficial effects on glucose and lipid metabolism.

A trend I’ve noticed online and in the supplement industry lately is companies pairing AMPK activators together like jiaogulan and berberine for weight loss purposes.

Gynostemma Tea is My Favorite Supplement of All Time

Gynostemma tea or jiaogulan tea is my favorite supplement of all time. Something about it makes me look and feel younger, more energetic, resilient, and all-around better. As of this writing, I’ve been drinking it on and off for over five years (since 2015) and plan on keeping it as the staple supplement in my regimen for the rest of my life.

I’ve tried numerous brands, and my favorite by far is the Immortalitea brand gynostemma tea. It tastes the best, is always fresh, smells good, and makes me feel great. Other brands have been alright, although one bag I got from another brand smelled like cigarette smoke! I keep coming back to the Immortalitea brand gynostemma tea, so it has my vote of confidence.

I’ve even started a little plot of jiaogulan in my garden in case my online supply ever gets cut off.

Here’s to a tall glass of jiaogulan tea. Cheers!

Be sure to check out our other articles about supplements.




About Alex Walch 6 Articles
Alex Walch is a software engineer, entrepreneur, health enthusiast, and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Walch Animal Rescue. You can usually find him caring for rescued animals on his farm animal sanctuary with his wife Kelly, writing cutting edge code, or writing about health topics like natural medicine, plant-based foods, fitness, and holistic lifestyles.

2 Comments

    • I usually put one teaspoon of jiaogulan in a 3 cup teapot with a teaspoon of green tea, because it is kind of pricey. I will even double or triple brew the pot to make sure I get all the phytochemicals out of the leaves. If I really want a health boost, I might toss in two or three teaspoons of jiaogulan. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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