Category Archives: Jiaogulan and Fitness

This section is for discussions about the role jiaogulan might play in your fitness regimen.

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






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 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.