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Top 5 Reasons to Try Jiaogulan

What are the secrets to a long, healthy life?

Scientists, researchers, and medical specialists search for such secrets all over the world. However, ancient cultures have already found their own secrets to good health – and closely guarded them for centuries.

One of these secrets is the little known herb jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), a plant native to China and similar to ginseng.

Also called “herb of immortality,” it was put on the map when regular drinkers of jiaogulan tea in southern China were observed living to unusually long ages – and in great health!

Today, this ancient herbal tea is still used as a powerful remedy and health tonic, drawing from its traditional use by modern herbalists and those of the past.

Like its name, can the herb really grant immortality?

In this day and age, it brings those who enjoy this tea the closest thing to it: excellent health, robust protection against chronic disease, and so much more.

This is evident not only in its longstanding reputation for extending life, but in many studies that have unlocked its proven longevity-granting powers. In fact, jiaogulan has at least 5 confirmed impacts on health that could change your health (and your life!) if you drank the tea every day – while more discoveries are researched every day.

We’ve explored 5 of the very best and well-researched health benefits of jiaogulan, just to show you why you must absolutely give this powerful herbal remedy of old a try for yourself.

Powerful Immune Booster and Adaptogen


Jiaogulan over the years has earned itself another nickname besides the herb of immortality: southern ginseng, or cheap ginseng.

Like the true Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) also reputed to extend life, jiaogulan boosts immunity as a gateway to tonifying health and increasing longevity. Both ginseng and jiaogulan are considered “adaptogens:” plants rich in phytochemicals that protect the body from stress, damage, and disease, while boosting the immune system.

Because ginseng is used extensively but is expensive in price (and is ecologically threatened), our herb of immortality has been and is still used as a cheaper, environmentally aware replacement for ginseng due to its adaptogenic, immune-stimulating effects.

In fact, jiaogulan happens to contain wondrous adaptogenic phytochemicals called ginsenosides, once thought to be present only in ginseng but found aplenty in this Chinese tea as well.

While its effects are nowhere near as researched nor as potent as ginseng, trials pointedly demonstrate similar immune-enhancing effects that bolster health, contribute to longevity, and protect against chronic disease – particularly diabetes.

Ever wanted to try ginseng as a tonic? Instead, try jiaogulan: it has the same phytochemicals and health effects, while being more affordable and environmentally stable.

Regulates Blood Sugars

diabetes find causes and sceen for symptoms of type 1 or 2 prevention by dieting or treath with medication or low fat and sugar free diet

Next to its ginseng comparisons, jiaolugan has also been dubbed the “ginseng for diabetics.”

In addition to being a general immune stimulator and protector against disease, this ancient Chinese herb also has some specific impacts on blood sugars and glucose control. All these effects could be an incredibly useful preventive for diabetics, beyond being a general health tonic.

Jiaogulan’s saponins (including its very own ginseng-like ginsenosides and gypenosides) were observed reducing carbohydrate absorption in trials. They also protect the pancreas, increase the secretion of insulin, and preserve the functions of insulin receptors in the body, which naturally helps increase sensitivity and uptake of insulin – thus reducing high blood sugar counts in diabetics.

Worried about blood sugars and diet? Give jiaogulan a try to put your mind at ease. Even today, it’s used as an adjunct therapy for insulin resistance and diabetes, with strong evidence supporting its use.

Stimulates Antioxidant Activity

Jiaogulan protects health with adaptogenic and immune-boosting properties, though it apparently has some antioxidant action as well.

Before you start thinking of it like acai berry, green tea or even chocolate, think again! Jiaogulan is not exactly a source of antioxidants in and of itself, like these widely popular foods.

Rather, it stimulates the body’s own anti-oxidizing capabilities to work for themselves. That’s right: trials observed an extract of the immortality herb stimulating the body to produce more glutathione amounts, without a single supporting supplement of glutathione needed.

Such effects have far-reaching implications. Damage to DNA, neurons, even heart and skeletal tissue were observed, showing that this ancient tea could protect and even repair the body from oxidative stress and diseases of all kinds.

Lowers Blood Pressure


As it turns out, jiaogulan has a particular affinity to the cardiovascular system. Trying out the herb of immortality could do some amazing favors for your heart, and especially blood pressure.

Studies in vitro show that the Chinese herb encourages the body to produce its own nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, assists blood flow, reduces hypertension, and reduces the chance of heart disease.

Try a little jiaogulan tea if you are worried about your heart health – plus, its anti-oxidative activity and other health effects can’t hurt as added benefits!

Lowers Cholesterol


More good news for the heart: saponins in the tea may very well have a cholesterol-reducing effect.

One trial showed a 22% drop in LDL levels (bad cholesterol), while HDL (good cholesterol) remained unchanged. This bodes well for heart health, reducing the chances for hypertension, heart disease, atherosclerosis, and many other connected health problems besides.

Looking for a natural way to manage your cholesterol? Jiaogulan may help.

Beyond lowering cholesterol, this health benefit isn’t the only reason you should give the herb a try for better health.

Jiaogulan also protects your body from stress and disease, heals the heart, combats diabetes – and will get you the closest to immortality you can get!



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






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.”

Jiaogulan May Produce Higher Coronary Flow and Lower Heart Rate

Chen, L.F., et al. Comparisons of the effects of Gypenosides and ginsenosides on cardiac function and hemodynamics in dogs. Zhongguo Yaolixue Yu Dulixue Zazhi. China 1990

Dr. Chen and his team studied the effects of jiaogulan and ginseng on the cardiovascular efficiency of dogs. They found that the dogs that received Jiaogulan significantly lowered their systolic and diastolic blood pressure and decreased their total peripheral, brain and coronary blood vessel resistance. Ginseng was found to have a similar but less significant effect.

Jiaogulan Linked to More Efficient Cardio Function

Zhou, Ying-Na et al. Effects of gypensosides-containing tonics on the pulmonary functions in exercise workloads. Journal of Guiyang Medical College. 1993

Researchers at the Guiyang Medical College in China conducted studies of 220 athletes and 30 average subjects using color DOPLER imaging. The study showed that just 30 minutes after receiving a dose of gypenosides, 100% of the test subjects showed positive effects. The effects measured included, increased stroke volume and cardiac output, decreased left ventricular end-systolic diameter and increased left ventricular end-diastolic diameter. The heart rate and blood pressure did not increase. This implies that Jiaogulan improved the efficiency of the pumping action of the heart such that the heart did not have to work as had to produce the same volume of blood flow.