How Jiaogulan Helps Prevent Aging and Illness

antioxJiaogulan ( gynostemma pentaphyllum) is a very unique herb which can have many positive effects on our health and will even help us to prevent aging. Many factors play a role when it comes to aging, and scientists are just beginning to appreciate that infections caused by viruses have a huge impact on aging and our general well-being. Pharmaceutical companies around the world are spending millions of dollars researching the relationship between aging and viruses

If, we can prevent infections, and boost our immune systems, we will age at a slower pace and live healthier lives. Often in the fight against infections caused by viruses and bacteria, we employ a spectrum of antibiotics or virus suppressing drugs. HIV is a perfect example of a virus which is suppressed by drugs and we treat the most common throat infections with a plethora of antibiotics. But, shouldn’t we really be asking ourselves if we are taking the right approach, and shouldn’t we be boosting our immune systems instead. Perhaps, it is time to turn to nature to help us provide a permanent solution which would allow us to focus on prevention rather than cure.

Understanding Viral Infections

Doctors often talk about that viruses can be difficult to detect. It is true and has to do with the way they reproduce. A virus is not a cell in its own right, it is a genetic code which uses our cells to reproduce.

A virus can invade a cell and not start to reproduce straight away. HIV and herpes are perfect examples of this process. They can lay dormant in a cell for a long time, and all of a sudden as the cell starts to reproduce, they switch on and start to copy their genetic code.

The virus genetic code becomes part of the host cell, and the cell now reproduces with the new genetic information. It is called the lysogenic cycle and the cells are referred to as lysogenic cells. In other words, they are cells that contain a genetic virus code and behave differently than other cells. They are reproducing complete with their original code PLUS the viral genetic code.

But viral infections do not age us, do they?

Yes, they do and we know that viruses are probably behind many diseases such as cancer and heart disease. We already know that some cancers are caused by viruses, and scientists are trying to ascertain how many more types of cancers are experienced as a result of viruses.

Some of the most common cancers such as cervical cancer are caused by one or more of 150 virus strains belonging to the Human papilloma viruses ( HPVs). Even the common Epstein Barr virus is now being linked to some stomach cancers.

However, we are not sure what switches these viruses on and what makes them turn a cell into a cancer cell.

Viruses also cause other problems which are associated with aging such as heart disease and liver health problems. Scientists even suspect that many of the other signs of aging such as eye sight problems and wrinkles may be caused by viruses.

The problem is that there are millions of viruses, and one group of virus may be made up out of thousands of virus offsprings (strains) and mutated viruses. We need to learn a lot more about viruses and what makes them mutate to lead to disease and aging.

Free Radicals and Viruses

Free radicals are atoms, or groups of atoms, with one unpaired electron or more. These electrons are always looking for a friend to pair up with and they can by doing so, cause cellular damage or damage to DNA.

This may sound very complicated, but it simply means that they may have the ability to switch on a dangerous invasive virus, or cause a harmless bacteria to act differently. This is what many scientists believe cause viruses to start to behave differently and become dangerous.

The body has its own range of weapons against free radicals called antioxidants, but we can also eat foods and use herbs to increase our body’s range of weapons against free radicals.

Herbs and Antioxidants

Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Jiaogulan) is very special in terms of it’s antioxidant benefits. Usually, we consume antioxidants in foods. This is why, for example, we are told to drink orange juice when we have a cold. Oranges are rich in antioxidants. However, the reality is that up to 90% of the antioxidants are actually lost during the digestive process.

Gynostemma works differently. Gynostemma stimulates your body to increase production of an enzyme called Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD). SOD is your own body’s most powerful antioxidant. Because it is internally produced, none of the benefit is lost during digestions.

This may explain why gynostemma has been used for many thousands of years in Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) to combat different types of diseases. In recent studies Chinese scientists have discovered that Jiaogulan can boost a cell’s immune defense system by inhibiting a virus coping its genetic code. The rate of inhibition, rate of genetic copy, was reduced by 70% giving the body’s own system of antioxidants more of a chance to fight the virus and reduce the amount of free radicals.

How Can This Help Me to Prevent Disease?

All this talk about viruses, free radicals and antioxidants can sound like something for the ears of scientists only, but the way it works is very straight forward. If, the cells in our bodies can copy their genetic material without the interference of viruses and free radicals, they would be able to do so in a much better way.

It would result in better and healthier cells which would be less likely to carry any type of genetic material that can potentially cause disease and aging. We would have a much better chance to fight off infections and therefore live longer. The best way to explain it, would be that we would consist of better copied material which would be stronger and more disease resistant.

We should not try to suppress our immune system in all cases. Most of the time we should boost our immune system to help us fight of viruses, bacteria and free radicals. Hidden or “sneaked in” viruses cause a lot of the health problems we face today. By a herb such as Gynostemma, we can help our bodies to boost its defense system and help us to live both longer and healthier lives. Adding Gynostemma to your health routine would allow you to prevent disease rather than cure it.

Jiaogulan: The Life Endurance Herb – Transform Your Health with Jiaogulan

enduranceLife is a voyage of endurance, and our health is our most important traveling companion. It will help to support all our adventures and things that we would like to experience. But, what can support our health, and help us to endure the many things life can throw at us?

 In today’s modern concept of 24 hour medicine we expect our modern healers, medical doctors, to fix all our medical problems with conventional treatments within a 24 hour period. However, we need to ask ourselves if the answer to many of our health problems can be found in nature.

 Jiaogulan – the Herbal alternative

 Jiaogulan ( Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is often called the Miracle herb but perhaps a better name would be the Endurance herb. This humble Chinese herb is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a range of conditions, and can help to support our bodies to increase both our endurance and resistance against disease.

 The active ingredients in Jiaogulan will not only help our bodies to breakdown cholesterol more effectively but it can also help us to ward off dementia related conditions.

 In China it is known that people who drink Jiaogulan tea live longer and suffer less from health conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and even Alzheimer’s. Modern day research attributes the health giving affects of this humble vine to the plethora of saponins and antioxidants which are contained within the plant.

 The Energy Factor

 The approach of Western medicine is very different from TCM ( Traditional Chinese Medicine). Conventional treatments often focus on treating a condition whilst many traditional Chinese natural remedies focus on preventing the health problem to occur in the first place.

 The importance of energy, and balance of energy, has long been recognized in TCM. Our own Western medicine is only now beginning to recognize the importance of energy in healing and preventing illnesses. When we improve our energy levels, our bodies can fight off and endure illnesses much better. The end result is life extension and longevity, the true meaning of endurance.

 The number one killers are still circulatory disorders, diabetes and dementia related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is directly related to energy as sufferers will have lower levels of dopamine in the brain. A well balanced dopamine level will help to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and allow our brains to stay healthier for longer. When the brain’s dopamine level is well balanced, our overall health will improve and we will notice our memory will function better.

 We often forget that brain health and memory function are two of the most important indicators of health. Without dopamine and energy we would not be able to endure many of the tasks that we face on an everyday basis.

 The Active Ingredients

 What makes Jiaogulan so special? Chinese researcher have started to breakdown and prove the affects of the many active ingredients within Jiaogulan. Recent research carried out in China using crude Polysaccharides extracted from Jiaogulan proved to increase an endurance whilst exercising and improved recovery time.

 But what are crude Polysaccharides? Crude Polysaccharides are powerful antioxidants that can be found in fruit bearing plants, algae but Jiaogulan is richer in these antioxidants than any other plant or herb. They can help to fight of inflammation, support our cells to produce more energy.

 When our cells are encouraged to produce more energy, they will divide at a more balanced pattern which means that the likelihood of rogue cells such as cancer cells occurring decrease. This will increase our bodies resistant to disease and at the same time increase our endurance.

 In other words, the more energy our cells are able to produce, the longer we will stay healthy and our lifespan will be increased. If, a sport person took capsules, or was injected with, crude Polysaccharides, he would be able to run or swim for longer.

 The Evidence

 Chinese researchers have proved this theory by feeding crude Polysaccharides to rats for a period of 30 days. The control group consisted of ten rates out of which five were fed the substance in accordance to body weight.

 After 30 days the group was subjected to a swimming test. The five rats who had been fed the crude Polysaccharides were able to swim for a longer period of time, and also recovered quicker. All ten rats were also given liver glycogen tests which showed increased levels of liver glycogen in the crude Polysaccharides fed rats.

 This test proves that energy storage was increased and at the same time the rats were able to expand more energy. To further explain the result, it is worthwhile to point out our bodies store energy as fat and glycogen. On this occasion the energy expanded was derived from glycogen.

 Who should be using Jiaogulan as a supplement?

 The honest answer is that we all should. This herb is many times stronger and more effective than Ginseng, and ongoing research indicates that it can provide the first line of defense against many diseases.

 It will help us to better endure anything that may afflict us by increasing the body’s energy levels naturally. When our bodies have enough energy, they can fight off many of the diseases that we associate with modern day life.

 This is what makes Jiaogulan so effective when it comes to combating diabetes, balancing cholesterol, reducing heart disease and increasing the brain’s dopamine levels to ward off Alzheimer’s.

 Different Forms of Jiaogulan

 There are different forms of treatment quality Jiaogulan available, but it is important that what ever form you use is derived from organic Jiaogulan. Not only is this more effective but it is also less likely to have been affected by pollutants such as heavy metals.

 Jiaogulan tea is widely available, and can be bought online plus in Chinese stores. In China a product called tea-pills are also available, and they are fine for long term used.

 Here in the West we can also find Jiaogulan available in capsule format which will allows you to control the dosage more effectively.

 Jiaogulan should not at any time be seen as a “one off treatment.” As it is not associated with any harmful side effects, it can be used on an everyday basis no matter how old or young you are. Can it improve and strengthen your health? Anything that increases our energy levels to further our endurance can improve and strengthen our health, however, Jiaogulan does so more effectively.

Jiaogulan – Weight Loss Miracle or Another Broken Promise ?

Separating the facts from the hype

lose_weightWeight loss seekers are greeted nearly monthly with another herbal weight loss formula. Early last year White Mulberry Leaf was all the rage only to be overtaken by Garcinia cambogia late in the year.

Recently, followers of the weight loss scene have been bombarded with news about a previously little known herb from China called Jiaogulan. Today we try to sort out fact from fiction about this latest weight loss phenomenon.

For help, we turned to long time Jiaogulan enthusiast, Ralph Kenney. Kenney founded a company 11 years ago with the primary purpose of introducing Jiaogulan to the West. His company, Immortalitea, has participated in multiple scientific studies on the effectiveness of jiaogulan, As a former Bell Labs researcher, Kenney is familiar on the herbal medicine scene for his science-based approach to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

After more than a decade of promoting jiaogulan you must be a bit surprised by the sudden prominence of Jiaogulan?

Kenney – Of course, surprised, gratified and worried. Jiaogulan is an herb a lot more people should know about and make part of the routines. It feels like a sort of vindication to see all this sudden interest. On the other hand, I’m worried because the area of herbal medicine where there is the most disinformation is weight loss.

People tend to jump on the latest fad and if they don’t see instant results they move on to the next big thing and last month’s super-food is back to obscurity. I don’t want that happen to jiaogulan. It is about so much more than weight loss.

So why all the sudden new interest?

Kenney – It primarily stems from a Korean weight loss study in January of last year. It was one of the first human studies of Jiaogulan and weight loss. It appears to be a commercially sponsored study so I assume the sponsors were primed to promote the findings.

The actual study is relatively small and fairly short-lived. The entire test group was just 80 people and they were split into two groups of 40, a placebo group and a jiaogulan group. They study was 12 weeks. The jiaogulan group lost an average of about 3 lbs., improved their BMI, improved their waist and hips size and had lower cholesterol.

That all sounds pretty promising…

Kenney – Yes, promising is the right word. It’s a small study, small enough that you can’t say anything definitive except that it warrants more research. But, the findings are consistent with what I expected. I designed a weight loss tea blend that included jiaogulan several years ago. Based on that experience, I personally think that when larger studies are done we’ll see similar results. But, what I “think” isn’t important. The research is what counts.

One of the more important findings was the bit about cholesterol. There have been many Chinese studies of Jiaogulan and its benefits for lowering cholesterol. I think the validation of that research in a human study that is bigger news than the weight loss.

Do we know why the participants lost weight taking jiaogulan?

The authors of the study point to the stimulation of an enzyme called AMPK. AMPK serves as a sort of metabolic regulator. There are prior studies that link genetic problems with AMPK production to obesity and diabetes.

The authors of this study had prior research that showed in lab tests saponins in jiaogulan stimulate AMPK. This new study was a follow up to see if that lab result could be confirmed in human population.

Interestingly, they were not able to measure AMPK levels directly. So their case for AMPK stimulation is not as strong as I’d like. We know from other research that there are many active ingredients in jiaogulan. We can’t conclude from this study that the weight loss seen was the result of AMPK stimulation or some other mechanism.

We can say that in lab tests some components of jiaogulan stimulate AMPK. We can say that AMPK is important to weight loss. And, now with this new study, we can say that jiaogulan seems to produce weight loss in humans. But there’s a jump to conclude that the sole mechanism at work in the human study was AMPK activation. I tend to suspect that there are synergistic mechanism at play here.

For example, the study identified no difference in caloric intake between the two groups. One sign of improved AMPK activity should be a reduced appetite. That does not seem tot be the case here.

We know, among other things, that jiaogulan stimulates improved blood flow through increased Nitric oxide production. That has also been linked to weight loss.

The study seems to confirm that jiaogulan is beneficial to weight loss. But the jury is still out regarding the mechanism.

So what’s next for jiaogulan?

Kenney – I’m hopeful there will be more widespread interest in researching jiaogulan. When I see a commercially sponsored study I’m naturally skeptical. So, I’d like to see some neutral research. I’m not criticizing the authors. I’m sure they are sincere in their findings, but commercial research is what it is.

Meanwhile, supplement retailers are not waiting. There are already several large supplement companies out with jiaogulan based weight loss products. We are in for the inevitable waves of hype and promotion. I just hope that when the smoke clears there will be a core population consuming jiaogulan regularly, not just for the weight loss benefits but for all the other health benefits as well.

You mentioned other health benefits earlier. Briefly, what are those?

Kenney – Jiaogulan is known in China as “The Immortality Herb,” that’s the reason my company is called Immortalitea. Besides weight loss there are three main benefits, cardio-vascular health – including lowering cholesterol and reducing blood pressure, immune system and anti-aging benefits – jiaogulan also stimulates an enzyme called SOD that is a powerful anti-oxidant and finally, adaptogenic benefits – jiaogulan helps your neuro-endocrine system establish maintain a state of balance.

There are many other benefits, but you said “briefly”. Those are the big three.

Thank you.

To learn more about jiaogulan we recommend  visiting Ralph Kenney’s jiaogulan blog at






What is Jiaogulan?

What is Jiaogulan?

 Jiaogulan (Latin name: Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is a low-lying
vine from the Cucurbiticeae family of plants. Jiaogulan is indigenous to Southern China but is now cultivated widely throughout Asia, most notably in Thailand and Vietnam.Jiaogulan is produced primarily as an herbal tea and is also available as both whole leaf
and extracted supplement.

Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends Jiaogulan as a general health tonic and in some regions of china it is called Xian Cao (the Immortality Herb) due to its association with longevity and robust health.

The plant first came to the attention of modern researchers
in the 1970’s as a result of China’s first nationwide census. Demographers noted a statistically significant higher percentage of centenarians in two small Southern provinces. The Chinese
government dispatched a team of researchers whom ultimately conducted a ten-year study.The researchers attributed the unusual longevity in those areas to the regular traditional consumption of jiaogulan tea in those areas. Following these findings,  Dr. Jialiu Liu of Guiyang Medical College conducted extensive research including human clinical studies into the plant. His research identified active ingredients in Jiaouglan that provided a broad range of health benefits, including, cardiovascular health, improved immune systems, protection from and faster recovery from oxidative stress, cancer protection and improved blood flow
resulting in better mentation and organ health. Dr. Lu authored a book with American researcher Michael Blumert extolling jiaogulan as the Herb of Immortality.

Jiaogulan was also the subject of extensive research in the 1980’s by Japanese researchers who, noting the natural sweetness of jiaogulan, hoped jiaogulan could be developed as a natural sweetener. While the project was unfruitful, Japanese researchers also compiled an impressive list of provenhealth benefits.

Today herbalists recommend jiaogulan for three main health

1) Put your body in
the optimal state of balance –

Adaptogens are a class of herbs identified by herbalists as helping the human body maintain a state of “homeostasis”, i.e. balance. The mechanisms vary from herb to herb but primarily adaptogens work by supporting the neuroendocrine system. The neuroendocrine system is the combined systems of hormones and nervous system. Modern researchers have proclaimed jiaogulan the world’s most potent adaptogen. One theory is jiaogulan’s stimulation of Nitric
Oxide production improves the overall function of the neuroendocrine system

2) Reduce blood pressure
and improve cardiovascular health
– Chinese research has proven that jiaogulan stimulates the human body to increase production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a natural vasodilator. Increased vascular size makes it easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body and reduces blood pressure. The increased blood flow also mitigates the  harm from arterial build up due to arteriosclerosis.

Jiaogulan also reduces cholesterol. Since high cholesterol is the number one cause of clogged arteries, there is a double benefit to cardiovascular health. Blood vessels are less likely to develop obstructions and, when they do occur, the impact is mitigated by increased blood vessel size.

Increased Nitric oxide production is also the reason jiaogulan is popular with endurance athletes. The increased blood vessel size increases oxygen flow which directly result sin greater endurance. This increased blood flow is also believed beneficial to sufferers of Erectile Dysfunction and to improved mentation in the elderly.

3) Fight the effects
of aging and strengthen the immune system –
Most people have read about the
health benefits of antioxidants. One can hardly visit the grocery store without being bombarded by marketing messages on products touting their high antioxidant content. Marketers have gone so far as to co-op a formerly scientific measure of antioxidant called the ORAC scale. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is a measure of the anti-oxidant levels in a food. Marketers engage in heated debate over whose product as the higher ORAC value.

But the reality is that most of the health benefit of antioxidants consumed in food is wasted. When we digest food only a small
percentage of the antioxidants present actually survive the digestive process and enter the blood stream where they can be distributed throughout the body and help destroy free radicals and boost the immune system.

However, there is a solution. The human body does produce
it’s own natural antioxidants, two enzymes Super-Oxide Dismutase (SOD for short) and catalase.

These internally produced antioxidants are crucial to all
animal life as they are the main mechanism of cleansing and protecting the body from free-radicals created during the metabolization of foods. Increased productions of these
internally produced antioxidants is far more effective than consumption of antioxidants because the internally produced antioxidants to not undergo digestion and are therefore 100% bioavailable.

Research proves jiaogulan increases SOD production in
humans. Researchers speculate this is the primary reason the herb is so strongly associated with longevity is Traditional Chinese Medicine. There has also been substantial research in Canada using jiaogulan to support the compromised immune systems of chemotherapy patients. This improved immunity has resulted in jiaogulan’s popularity as a immune support supplement during cold
and flu season.

Recent media attention has been focused on jiaogulan for
weight loss. Researchers in Korea have determined that jiaogulan is a potent activator of the AMPK enzyme in humans. AMPK plays a crucial role in the regulation of human metabolism. In one Korean study, obese men were given jiaogulan extract for 14 weeks. The placebo group experienced no significant change. However the jiaogulan group lost an average of 2Kg., saw reduction in their waistlines, improved body mass index and lower cholesterol levels.

Jiaogulan is a perennial and can be harvested throughout the
year. Jiaogulan Tea is produced by a three-stage process. The plant is
harvested and stems removed by hand. The plant is quickly pan dried to form the typical 5 leaf clusters of dried tea and then air dried on raised platforms with forced air. The resulting tea is simultaneously slightly bitter and slightly sweet. The tea is popular in Southern China often consumed as a substitute for tea from Camelia sinensis. Jiaogulan can also be consumed as a supplement,
in extract form, as a tincture and the raw leaves may be added directly to foods.

We recommend for the purchase of Jiaogulan.

Jiaogulan found to improve endurance.

Li ChangJun; Wu XiaoLan; Lou XiaoJuan; Wu YaJun; Li Ang; Wang HaiYan. Protective effects of crude polysaccharide from Gynostemma pentaphyllum on swimming exercise-induced oxidative stress in rat. Journal Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 2012 Vol. 11 No. 10

In this study, the test subjects (rats) were fed Jiaogulan for 30 days and subjected to a swimming endurance test. Those subjects given Jiaogulan showed significantly longer swim times and, based on liver glycogen measurements after the swim, were likely to recover faster. This research suggests that Jiaogulan may be beneficial to athletes hoping to improve endurance and excercise recoevery.

Jiaogulan is found to resist immune suppression and restore healthy immune systems

Restoration of Electric Footshock-Induced Immunosuppression in Mice by Gynostemma pentaphyllum Components
Sun-A Im, Hyun Sook Choi, Soon Ok Choi, Ki-Hyang Kim, Seungjeong Lee, Bang Yeon Hwang, Myung Koo Lee and Chong Kil Lee*
College of Pharmacy, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 361-763, Korea
25 June 2012, Molecule

In this study Korean researchers suppressed the immune system of mice using electro-shock. Those animals that had been fed Jiaogulan for one week before the electro-shock did not develop suppressed immune systems while the subjects not receiving Gynostemma did. In a follow up, 1/2 the mice with suppressed immune systems were subsequently fed Jiaogulan and showed faster recovery of their immune systems than the group not receiving Jiaogulan.

Gynostemma Found to Lower Cholesterol and Reduce Liver Damage

R. Qin et al.Protective effects of gypenosides against fatty liver disease induced by high fat and cholesterol diet and alcohol in rats. Archives of Pharmacal Research, Volume 35, number 7 2012

Chinese researchers fed a high fat, high cholesterol diet to rats and caused them to ingest alchohol daily. They kept left one group untreated, gave two groups popular anti-cholesterol medications and gave 3 remaining groups varying dosages of Gynostemma. After 10 weeks, the groups given Gynostemma showed significantly lower LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. Furthermore test for liver health showed the Gynostemma group also maintained better liver health. The researchers concluded, “These results suggested that gypenosides could prevent liver fatty degeneration in fatty liver disease through modulating lipid metabolism, ameliorating liver dysfunction and reducing oxidative stress. “

Jiaogulan has Potential Preventive Effects on Myocardial Infarction

Xiong, WS et al. Protective effects of gypenosides on experimental myocardial infarction. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1990 Sept,11.

Dr. Xiong studied the effects of Jioagulan on myocardial infarction. He found in an animal study that the gypenosides in Jiaogulan reduced the size of myocardial infarctions and the free fatty acids in the blood serum. He suggests that the effect is related to the strong anti-oxidative properties of Jiaogulan.

Jiaogulan Linked to Nitric Oxide Production in Blood Vessels

Tanner, MA et al. The Direct Release of Nitric Oxide by Gypenosides Derived from the Herb Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Nitric Oxide Oct. 1999.

Dr. Tanner and his team from Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigated the vasorelaxation effects of Jiaogulan. They found that gypenosides from Jiaogulan caused the lining of blood vessels to release nitric oxide.. The nitric oxide release relaxed the blood vessels resulting in more efficient blood flow.

Jiaogulan found to be an “anti-thrombotic agent.”

Tan H et al. Antithrombotic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1993 May;13.

Thrombosis is another term for blood clotting. Clots can lead to heart attack and stroke. Researchers in China found that a water extract from Jiaogulan “could inhibit significantly the platelet aggregation induced by ADP and compound agonists (P < 0.05), accelerate obviously the disaggregation (P < 0.05) and inhibit effectively the experimental thrombosis (P < 0.05). The delayed effects of GP on KPTT, PT, TT, AT, RVV-RT, RVV-CT suggested that this drug could decrease the activity of multiple coagulation factors. And it showed that GP could accelerate the erythrocyte electrophoresis rate. This study revealed that GP is an antithrombotic agent affecting the links of thrombotic chain.”