Category Archives: jiaogulan and Your Immune System

This section is for discussions about the role jiaogulan might play in maintaining a healthy immune system.

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

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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

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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

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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!

 

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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 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.

Jiaogulan May Protect Cellular Immunity

Hou, J., et al. Effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum makino on the immunological function of cancer patients. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1991.

Lymphocyte transformation and and enhanced lymphocyte activity is another way of improving the effectiveness of white blood cells in creating disease antibodies. In the clinical phase of this study, patients with immune deficient systems due to cancer treatment were given 240 mg of Jiaogulan each day. The test group was able to maintain their cellular immunity despite continued radiation therapy whereas a control group that did not receive Jiaogulan had marked decrease in lymphocyte activity. The group was followed for over a year and the Jiaogulan-treated group showed a much better average prognosis than the control group. The researcher concluded that Jiaogulan could be used to protect cellular immunity.

Jiaogulan Found to Double White Blood Cell Counts

Liu, et al. Therapeutic effects of Jiaogulan on leukopenia due to irradiation and chemotherapy. Zhong Guo Yi Yao Xue Bao. China. 1992

In this study cancer patients who were leucopenic due to radiation therapy were divided into three groups, the 1st group was given Jiaogulan mixed with a traditional Chinese herbal blend, the 2nd group was given only the herbal blend and a third group was given a generic health tonic. The average patient in the group taking Jiaogulan more than doubled their WBC in an average of just 4.69 days with a 93.55% effectiveness. The control groups took much longer and were only 71% and 50% effective respectively.

Jiaogulan Found to Increase White Blood Cell Counts

Wang, H.R. , et al. Therapeutic and tonic effects of Jiaogulan in leukopenic patients. Xin Zhong Yi. China, 1991

White blood cells are the body’s main defense against infectious disease so higher white blood cell counts (WBC) are strongly associated with the body’s ability to resist illness. In this study study leucopenic (white blood cell deficient) patients were given gypenosides (the clinical name for the active components of the herb gynostemma pentaphyllum) for one month. The average patient doubled their WBC during this time.