The Jiaogulan plant from the far-distant mountains of China that is so powerful that locals call it “the herb of immortality”. In the Guizhou Province of China, one of the places where jiaogulan (literally, twisting-vine orchid) grows most abundantly, the natives have nicknamed the herb they regularly consume as tea “the herb of immortality.” They also credit it with their reportedly long life spans.
The list of jiaogulan’s benefits is impressive and includes its ability to:
- Regulate cholesterol
- Maintain healthy blood pressure levels
- Improve digestion
- Enhance heart muscle (especially contractility)
- Protect and modulate the immune system
- Protect against free radical damage
- Regulate hormone levels in men and women
Jiaogulan may even help inhibit cancer growth. At its essence, this Chinese herb is an incredible balancing compound. If something (like your cholesterol, for instance) is higher than it should be, it lowers it. And if something is too low, it raises it.
Powerful Adaptogen Does Only and Exactly What Your Body Needs
The reason jiaogulan can work in such a range of ways in your body is because it’s a powerful adaptogen. All adaptogens — including garlic, ginkgo biloba, and ginseng — are substances that can, once ingested, be adapted by your body in whatever way necessary to restore balance.
Only 1 out of every 4,000 plants meets the criteria to be classified as adaptogens, also called biological response modifiers.
The criteria for adaptogens — as devised by Russian doctors N.V. Lazarev and I.I. Brekman in the mid-20th century — are:
- The Chinese herb should cause no harm and place no additional stress on the body
- The Chinese herb should help the body adapt to many and varied environmental and psychological stresses
- The Chinese herb must have a nonspecific action on the body, supporting all major systems
Jiaogulan may actually be the most powerful adaptogen out there.
For example, in studies conducted by Dr. Tsunematsu Takemoto and others over the course of a decade, jiaogulan was found to have 82 saponins (the chemical source of adaptogenesis) compared to 28 found in standard ginseng.
Unlike conventional drugs, adaptogens have no side effects, do nothing to disturb the body, and work only when the body requires.
Jiaogulan’s adaptogenic properties are especially evident in the way it benefits your brain. Jiaogulan has a biphasic effect on brain functioning, meaning that it can energize or calm the system depending on what’s needed.
And while it may seem impossible, jiaogulan is both a weight-loss and a weight-gain aid. Again, it’s due to the herb’s adaptogenic nature. It interacts with your digestive system and corrects any areas of imbalance. If you’re overweight, it helps your body process food more efficiently. And if you’re underweight, it helps your body absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from everything you consume.
Many Names, Same Great Benefits
Known officially as Gynostemma pentaphyllum, this hardy climbing vine flourishes even when untended, like some other members of the Cucurbitaceae family that includes cucumbers, gourds, and melons.
In English, the plant has a number of names — from the technical Five-Leaf Ginseng and Southern Ginseng to the fantastical, Miracle Grass and Fairy Herb. But whatever you call it, the real mystery is why this amazing plant is not yet found in every household.
The leaves of the plant can be eaten directly, put in a salad, or stored for tea. They have a sweet, fresh taste and are frequently used for alternative sweeteners in Asia.
Adding Jiaogulan to Your Life
Adding this adaptogenic, antioxidant supplement to your health regimen is such a simple step you might wonder why you haven’t done it already.
Jiaogulan is most often consumed as a tea, but you can also get it in extract, pill, and capsule form. It’s readily available from many alternative medicine pharmacies, natural foods stores, and online sources.
Because jiaogulan is non-toxic, there is no risk of overdose. A recommended starter dose is 75 – 225 mg taken 2-3 times a day.