Gynostemma, Jiaogulan, Poor Man's Ginseng, Miracle Grass, Fairy Herb, Immortal Grass, Herb of Immortality and Sweet Tea Vine.
China, Korea and Japan
Root and aerial parts
Native to South East Asia, Gynostemma has been revered for millennia for its ability to prolong life. This is why it acquired its name “Herb of Immortality” in China, so convinced were the people that this herb could prolong and improve the quality of life.
The Chinese traditionally drink Jiaogulan tea to improve energy, increase levels of endurance and strength and to combat fatigue. Also known as “poor man’s ginseng”, Gynostemma is as a powerful an adaptogen as Ginseng with many other benefits to health.
People in the original local region of China where Gynostemma was traditionally taken were found to have longer life spans, less disease and greater vitality than just about any other people in the world. This discovery prompted Chinese and Japanese researchers to seriously study this herb, finding that certain plant saponins known as "gypenosides" seem to be responsible for the many benefits of Gynostemma.
Combinations of compounds in Gynostemma appear to stop the DNA from being degraded and broken down too quickly. Gynostemma has been found to stop and even reverse the process of erosion of the telomeres. Telomeres are the ‘end caps’ on strings of DNA, and the remaining length of telomeres is a major factor governing your remaining life span. The effects of Gynostemma on telomeres make it one of the most powerful longevity substances ever known.
Whilst it is also known as "poor man's ginseng", recent research indicates that Gynostemma actually contains over 80 different saponins compared to the 28 found in Ginseng - leading it to be referred to as Ginseng on steroids, such are the adaptogenic effects of this herb. Gynostemma protects and enhances the function of the centrals nervous system and the peripheral nervous system through its antioxidant properties and its ability to regulate nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide protects nerve cells from damage and cell death from free radical damage.
The saponins in Gynostemma exert a regulatory effect on the body. They bring a wide range of biological systems such as the central nervous system, the immune system, the reproductive system and the endocrine system into balance. This increases the natural ability of the body to respond to a wide range of internal and external stress.
Gynostemma also has a biphasic effect on brain functioning, meaning it can energise or calm the system depending on what is needed.
A study by Vanderbilt University found that one of the saponins found in Gynostemma facilitates the release of nitric oxide by the blood vessels. This in turn causes them to relax, permitting increased blood flow, thus lowering high blood pressure and decreasing the risk of athersclerosis.
The study also showed that this herb has blood thinning properties, reducing the aggregation of blood platelets and ameliorating the build up of plaque.
Add ½ - ¾ teaspoon of powder per 1 cup of hot water, leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Goes well with a herbal tea blend, and/or 3/4 to 1 gram as powder up to 3 times per day or as directed by your herbal practitioner
It is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women do not take Gynostemma.
If you are taking any blood thinning medications please consult your health care professional before using Gynostemma.
Do not use if you have an autoimmune condition or are taking immunosuppressant medications - Gynostemma stimulates and strengthens the immune system.