This is for those who missed my post on Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) The Chinese Herb Of Immortality. Personally, I would say that this herb is a must-have. It is an adaptogen and was found to have 82 saponins (the chemical source of adaptogenesis) compared to 28 found in standard ginseng. It is said to be better than ginseng and can be easily cultivated. “Jiaogulan may actually be the most powerful adaptogen out there”. An adaptogen is a substance with an ability to restore the natural condition or the balance of the body functions, which explains why Jiaogulan is so effective and has such a wide range of applications: Anti-tumor & anti-cancer; Antioxidant (Increases superoxide dismutase (SOD) production by 282% on average!); Hypotension AND Hypertension (studies have shown that Jiaogulan is 82% effective in lowering blood pressure.); Diabetes; Fights fluoride toxicity; Improves fitness and endurance; Improves cardio function; Improves the immune system; Promotes longevity; Protects against radiation. For how to cultivate Jiaogulan see my comment to John at the article above. If you place some of the fast growing shoots in a water bottle, they will grow roots very quickly. I have added many very interesting scientific studies down below, which are not mentioned in the article above.
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Promoting good health and longevity (The Chinese herb of immortality):
This story from a popular Chinese newspaper reports on a study in the 1970s. The Chinese government asked scientists to research the unusually large number of centagenarians in the small mountain provinces of Guizhou, Guangxi and Shicuan . In addition to unusual longevity the researchers found low incidences of many common ailments associated with aging including, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and cancer. After over 10 years of study they found one common thread, a plant the locals called “xiancao” the “immortality” plant. The villagers drank it several times a day simply because it tasted good and is naturally sweet. The researchers identified the plant as Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum).
Free radicals are one of the primary causes of aging. Anti-oxidants have been found to eliminate free radicals from the body. See our anti-oxidant link regarding research on Jiaogulan and anti-oxidants.
Potential Direct Inhibitory Effects on Tumors
Wang, C. et al. A preliminary observation of preventive and blocking effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb) Makino on esophageal cancer in rats. Hua Xi Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 1995
In this study researchers found that rats injected with a known carcinogen developed fewer and less frequent tumors when allowed to ingest water infused with Jiaogulan. The development of cancer was also delayed by about 6 weeks suggesting to the researchers that Jiaogulan was having a direct inhibitory effect.
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Study concludes Jiaogulan kills liver cancer cells
Chen JC et al. Gypenoside induces apoptosis in human Hep3B and HA22T tumour cells. Cytobios. 1999.
Dr. Chen and his team, found that human liver cancer cells treated for two days with gypenosides (the active ingredients in Jiaogulan) died via apoptosis. Normal cells in the cancerous tissue sample proliferated.
Qwa-fu Wang, et al. Regulation of Bcl-2 family molecules and activation of caspase cascade involved in gypenosides-induced apoptosis in human hepatoma cells. Cancer Letters 2002
Reseachers at the Chinese Medical College in Taiwan studied the mechanism by which Jiaogulan kills liver cancer cells. They confirmed the results of the above study and identified a potential mechanism for this effect.
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Scientists say Jiaogulan has “a positive anti-carcinogen effect”
Zhou Z. et al. Effect of gynostemma pentaphyllum mak on carcinomatous conversions of golden hamster cheek pouches induced by dimethylbenzanthracene: a histological study.The Journal of Chinese Medicine 1998.
Dr. Zhou at Shanghai Medical University gave hamsters a known carcinogen. A control group did not receive Jiaogulan and developed cancer as predicted. Two other groups were given Jiaogulan orally. Both groups showed remarked slowing of the cancerous growth. The inhibitory effects were directly correlated with the dosage amounts of Jiaogulan.
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Jiaogulan found to inhibit cervix cancer
Chiu TH et al.N-acetyltransferase is involved in gypenosides-induced N-acetylation of 2-aminofluorene and DNA adduct formation in human cervix epidermoid carcinoma cells (Ca Ski). In Vivo May 2003.
Dr. Chiu and his team studied the inhibitory effects of gypenosides on human cervix cancer. They found there is indeed an inhibitory effect. The mechanism appears to be that gypenosides inhibited NAT mRNA expression in human cervix cancer cells.
Liu, Jialiu, et al. Effects of gypenosides-containing tonics on the serum SOD activity and MDA content in middle aged persons. Journal of Guiyang Medical College. 1994.
Dr. Liu, the world’s foremost expert on Jiaogulan, gave gypenosides (the active ingredient in Jiaogulan) to 610 healthy patients ages 50 to 90. They received the gypenosides for one month. Those patients between 70 and 90 years of age averaged a decrease in harmful oxidants of 21.4% and an average increase in the internally produced anti-oxidant SOD of 282.8%. Those patients in the age group 50 to 69 had a decrease in harmful oxidants averaging 15.6% and SOD increases of 116.1%. A control group did not experience any change thus suggesting the effects were due to the gypenosides.
Cheng, Y.H. et al. The effect of antioxidant Chinese herbs on SOD activity, MDA content and ultra-structural damage of the kidney tissue in mice with chronic fluorosis. Guizhou Medical Journal. China. 1998.
Dr. Cheng found a similar result to Dr. Dai sited above when he studied the the kidney cells of mice with chronic fluorosis. the mice had reduced presence of free radicals and increased presence of internally produced anti-oxidants.
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Suhua Zhu, Chengxiang Fang, Shiqiao Zhu, Fang Peng, Luozhen Zhang, Chengpeng Fan, Inhibitory Effects of Gynostemma Pentaphyllum on the UV Induction of Bacteriophage 5 in Lysogenic Escherichia coli. Current Microbiology. Aug. 2001.
In this study at Wuhan University in China they examined the effect of Jiaogulan on the growth of bacteriophages (viruses that attack bacteria, e-coli and cholera are both examples). They found that Jiaogulan did inhibit the growth of the bactriophages. They also found through Magnetic Resonance Imaging that Jiaogulan was an effective scavenger of free radicals.
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Li, Lin, et al. Protective effect of Gypenosides against oxidative stress in phagocytes, vascular endothelial cells, and liver microsomes. Loma Linda University, California. 1993.
In this study, researchers at Loma Linda University in California studied the antioxidant effects of Gypenosides (substances derived from Jiaogulan) on white blood cells, liver cells and the cells that line blood vessels. They found that gypenosides significantly reduced the presence of oxidants in these cells types and protected the cells from oxidative stress. they also found that gypenosides counteracted the effects of oxidative stress on the function of liver cells and blood vessels cells.
Lu, G.H., etal. Comparative Study of the anti-hypertensive effects of Gymenosides, ginseng and Indapamide in patients with essential hyperetension. Guizhou Medical Journal. China 1996.
Dr. Lu and his team studied 233 patients with high blood pressure. 1/3 of the patients received and extract from Jiaogulan, 1/3 received a ginseng extract and 1/3 received a popular pharmaceutical drug for high blood pressure. After 3 months they found the pharmaceutical drug was the most effective with a 93% effectiveness rate. Jiaogulan was close behind, 82% effective in controlling the patients high blood pressure. Ginseng was a distant third at 46%.
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Achike, F.I., et al. Nitric oxide, human diseases and the herbal products that affect the nitric oxide signaling pathway. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, September 2003.
Researchers in Canada and Malaysia teamed up to research the stimulation of Nitric Oxide production by various herbal products. Nitric Oxide is believed a key factor in in controlling blood pressure because when released by the surface cells of blood vessels it causes the vessels to relax thus reducing blood pressure. the researchers found Jiaogulan to be one of the most effective herbs available in stimulating this reaction.
During experiments on rats that were fed with Jiaogulan for four weeks, it was proved that blood sugar, insulin, triglyceride, cholesterol, and MDA values were lowered significantly and SOD values were raised. During clinical studies, 64 patients with diabetes mellitus received Jiaogulan over a period of eight weeks. The result was that blood sugar, glycol haemoglobin, cholesterol, triglycerides, the LDL value and the viscosity of the blood were lowered to standard values, whereas HDL values were raised. 89.1 % of all subjects reported improvement afterwards. Moreover, a second study, which was performed on 80 patients with diabetes mellitus type 2, had similar results.
Immune system – 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.
Immune system – Leucopenia:
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.
Leucopenia due to radiotherapy and chemotherapy:
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.
Improves fitness and 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.
Improves efficient cardio function:
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.
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. “
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Yu, C., et al. Therapeutic effects of tablet gypenosides on 32 patients with hyperlipaemia. Hu Bei Zhong Yi Za Zhi. China. 1993
Dr. Yu and his team studied the effects of gypenosides (the active ingredients in Jiaogulan) on 30 patients with hyperproteinemia. They found Jiaogulan to have an effectiveness averaging 87.6 % in lowering the LDL in these patients.
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Kimura Y., Okuda H., Arichi S., Takemoto T. Effects of crude saponins of Gynostemma Pentaphyllum on lipid metabolism. Shoyakugaku Zasshi 1983
In this study at Ehime University in Japan, researchers fed rats a diet high in fat and sugar. They gave the test group saponins derived from Jiaogulan. The rats that received the extract from Jiaogulan had lower tri-glycerides, lipid peroxide and total cholesterol.
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.”
Protects against radiation:
Chen WC et al. Protective effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum in gamma-irradiated mice. American Journal of Chinese Medicine 1996.
In this study researchers were interested in the effects on the immune system of radiation. They subjected mice to gamma radiation. They found reduced white blood cell counts as a result of the radiation treatment. However, Mice given Jiaogulan recovered their white blood cell counts more quickly.
Dai, D.Y. et al. The effect of antioxidant Chinese herbs on SOD activity, MDA content and ultra-structural damage to brain tissue in mice with chronic fluorosis. Chinese Journal of Endemic Diseases. China. 1998.
Dr. Dai and his team studied the effects of Jiaogulan on the brain cells of mice with chronic fluorosis. Chronic fluorosis is a toxic overdose of fluoride and us often used by scientists to induce oxidative stress on test subjects. They found that Jiaogulan reduced the signs or per-oxidation (oxidative damage) and increased the presence of Super-Oxide Dismutase, a powerful internally produced anti-oxidant. This suggested to the researchers that Jiaogulan might be a powerful source of antioxidants because it appears to stimulate the bodies own production of antioxidants. This is a more effective method than ingestion of antioxidants.
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What is an adaptogen?
The term adaptogen has to do with adaption. It can be said that adaptogens support the body in regulating internal and external factors of stress. Adaptogens increase the natural resistance of the
body thus actively preventing diseases.
Definition: An adaptogen is a substance that actively supports the body by having a balancing and regulating effect on it. An adaptogen must not be harmful to the body and may only have minimal side
effects on the physiologic body functions. It must be able to bring the different body functions back to normal, regardless of their pathological condition, and has to have a non specific effect on the increase
in resistance of the immune system. So an adaptogen is a substance with an ability to restore the natural condition or the balance of the body functions.
The term adaptogen was used for the first time by a Russian scientist named N.V. Lazarev. Later on, then, the term was further worked out and defined by his students, among others Brekhman.
Adaptogenic plants support the healing mechanism of the immune system by means of their nourishing properties and remove the causes for and results of illnesses. There are not many plants that are listed within the class of adaptogens. It can be assumed that one in 4000 plants falls into this category.
Jiaogulan fulfils all requirements that need to be met in order to belong to the group of adaptogenic plants. In fact, it is one of the plants with the most powerful effect of its kind.