domingo, 23 de dezembro de 2012

TCM Chinese Herbs, JIAOGULAN (绞股蓝)

Jiaogulan belongs to the same family of plants as cucumbers and melons, but it does not bear an edible fruit or vegetable. Harvested in the late summer, the leaves of Jiaogulan are dried and used for healthcare products and medicine.

Ancient Chinese medicine has no record of this herb. But recent research has found that it is helpful in anti-aging, boosting energy, combating cancer, prevents tumors, treats ulcers, relieves stress, promotes long life and improves memory, ease pain and adjusting endocrine levels. Jiaogulan is also believed to have calming effects and to be useful in combination with codonopsis for jet lag and altitude sickness.

Its chemical constituents include the triterpenoid saponins gypenosides which are closely structurally related to the ginsenosides from the well-known medicinal plant ginseng. Ginseng alternatives, only jiaogulan actually contains compounds closely related to ginsenosides, although ginsenosides alone do not determine the effectiveness of ginseng. This herb is in the category called “Tonify Qi.” This means strengthening energy and vitality.

Little was known about the plant until after the 1960s, when the Chinese began to realize that it might be an inexpensive source of adaptogenic compounds, taking pressure off of the ginseng stock. Think it may be a substitute for the ginseng that was being harvested by the ton. Worried that ginseng would get scarce, they began studies of jiaogulan. Jiaogulan is a plant that is either a female plant or a male plant. When the seeds are wanted from this herb, you must grow both the plants. The jiaogulan does not show any toxic effects.

More importantly for heart health, it also reduces cholesterol, lowers triglycerides, helps regulate blood sugar and reduces inflammation. What’s not to like? Gynostemma (Jiaogulan) tea has been used in a Randomized Controlled Trial to treat type 2 diabetic patients.

If you decide to take it you might want to start with a small amount for a short time and see how your body responds before taking it full time.

Although it has long been used for beverages and medicine in southern China, praised in China as the herb of immortality, a Japanese researcher, discovered Jiaogulan have many qualities similar to ginseng. It sparks scientific research on Jiaogulan, revealing it to be a powerful adaptogenic and antioxidant herb with many health-giving properties.

Studies have confirmed the Possible Benefits of Jiaogulan

Studies recently have shown it contains many ingredients found in Asian ginseng. The properties that ginseng is known for such as preventing stress from causing an imbalance in the body have been found in this herb as well.


Scientific studies have confirmed Jiaogulan ability to assist the regulation of serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol), and HDL (good cholesterol, which helps to metabolize cholesterol from the arteries).

Blood Pressure

Jiaogulan has been widely reported to be effective in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Although the exact mechanism is still being researched, studies have shown that it improves the metabolism of the heart directly as well as enhances the release of nitric oxide in the body, which helps to relax the coronary blood vessels.


While it is great for regulating cholesterol, it also assists a good weight loss program, by improving and strengthening digestion. At the same time, it helps an underweight person by assisting the absorption of nutrients. This regulatory effect on bodily functions is the hallmark of an Adaptogen.

Strength and Endurance

The results of human studies confirm that Jiaogulan can enhance the contractility of the heart muscle and heart pumping function. Other studies have shown that the saponins (chemical compounds having a soapy characteristic), as well as trace minerals, amino acids, proteins, and vitamins. Jiaogulan increase strength and endurance in the body. Considering these findings overall, Jiaogulan becomes the perfect herb for anyone who wants to improve his competitive edge in any field of athletic performance.


Jiaogulan has also demonstrated an ability to support the immune system when under the siege of various destructive agents.

Adaptogenic Properties

Jiaogulan has a biphasic effect on brain functions, energizing or calming the system depending upon need, as well as on the regulation of hormonal functions in both men and women. The healthy maintenance of these physiological actions plays a major role in the body’s ability to cope with stress. It has the ability to adapt and regulate our sympathetic nervous system. Depending on the person or the situation it can calm or excite, yet there is no caffeine found in it.

Antioxidant Properties

The results of many scientific studies show that Jiaogulan powerful antioxidant quality protects against free radical damage.

People called Jiaogulan an ‘immortality herb’ and sometimes called “Southern Ginseng” or “poor man’s ginseng”. It was used in the Guizhou Province where people make a tea with the plant. The immortality associated with this herb comes from the fact that the people of this area live to be quite old.

Jiaogulan is a Chinese herb also called the Longevity Herb and in Japan it is called Amachazuru and it is used to increase the Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) in the body. Researchers use the SOD levels in studies as a reliable indicator of long life. SOD is one of the body’s most important antioxidants. Human studies have showed that SOD levels can returned to youthful levels after taking it for only one month.

Data: 23.12.2012

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