What is Jiaogulan?
Jiaogulan, also known as, Southern Ginseng or Gynostemma Pentaphyllum, is a herb that is native to China. Like Ginseng, Jiaogulan is full of ginsenosides which have been shown to increase energy levels and contain some antidiabetic properties. Many people around the world have started switching to Jiaogulan teas and supplements as a healthy, energy booster alternative to coffees and other teas as it has no caffeine. Due to its health-improving properties and lack of caffeine, Jiaogulan is becoming an increasingly popular green tea around the world. Many people now take advantage of this wonderful herb by either having it in tea, extract or capsule form.
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Jiaogulan is classified as an adaptogenic, leafy herb and is one of the very few herbs that is very easy to prepare tea with as it doesn’t need to be simmered prior to drinking and can simply just be added to the water and consumed immediately. Reviewers of the popular tea state that the flavor is pleasant without sweeteners and has a mild taste with no bitterness. Many reviewers claim that if you aren’t a fan of bitter green teas or if you haven’t tried green tea before, this is a great variety to start with due to the lack of bitterness.
Jiaogulan Benefits & Uses
One of the most prominent characteristics of Jiaogulan is it’s ability to activate AMPK. AMPK Activation may be the main reason that Jiaogulan has so many benefits.
One of the primary benefits from Jiaogulan is its ability to increase energy levels without caffeine. Scientists found that Jiaogulan is full of saponins, several of which are identical to those found in Ginseng such as ginsenosides. These work to increase energy levels and awareness (hence why Ginseng is found in every energy drink!). While caffeine is addictive and has some negative effects on the body, Jiaogulan is non-addictive and has many more health benefits with far less side effects.
Now it may seem odd, but the Ginsenosides found in Jiaogulan don’t just increase your energy levels, but they can also have a calming effect on you. This may seem contradictory, but think about ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Dexamphetamine. If someone with ADHD (high energy levels) takes the medication, it’ll reduce energy levels to a normal state. Whereas, if someone without ADHD took the medication it would make them very alert and full of energy. The same is true for Jiaogulan, if your energy levels are low, it’ll boost them, but if you’re very stressed, anxious or bouncing off the walls, Jiaogulan can slow everything down and make you feel more relaxed and calm.
Antioxidants are plentiful in Jiaogulan and as a result, the tea is fantastic for your immune system. Antioxidants increase the number of white blood cells in the body and their activity levels. This greatly improves your immune system as white blood cells are a big component of the immune system’s response to infections. Boosting your immune system can decrease your chances of getting sick and also help you recover quicker if you do get sick.
As stated previously, Jiaogulan are abundant in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect cell membranes from oxidation. Oxidizing cells can cause chronic inflammation (swelling). Of course this can be uncomfortable and even quite painful if inflammation can’t be reduced. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, it would be worth trying a cup of Jiaogulan a day or in times of pain to compliment your current inflammation management regime. It could greatly decrease the amount of inflammation and discomfort you experience.
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Since Jiaogulan increases the amount of antioxidants in the body, it also has a major effect on blood pressure and heart rate. As a result, it is a natural vasodilator and 1 cup a day can greatly improve your blood pressure and heart rate. If you experience a high blood pressure or heart rate, the tea may be able to help lower your levels. Remember to be mindful when you’re drinking Jiaogulan tea. Try some deep breathing or relaxing music to help you achieve a calmer state of mind.
It’s been proven in several studies, that a bit of Jiaogulan a day, in tea or extract form, will decrease bad cholesterol over time. It takes a couple months for notable results, as cholesterol can be very difficult to manage. After consuming this herb for two to three months, check in with your doctor and have a test done. The results will surprise you!
Blood Sugar & Diabetes
Having an increased antioxidant intake is strongly speculated to help with another leading health problem: blood sugar levels. With an alarming increase in the amount of diabetes diagnoses in the last decade, it is vital to decrease our sugar intake for good health. Having some Jiaogulan to boost your antioxidant levels could promote insulin production which helps keep blood sugar levels under control.
Jiaogulan is used all over the world to help with weight loss due to its effects on energy and insulin regulation in the body. By boosting insulin production in the body, it speeds up the body’s metabolism allowing you to burn more fat and gain more energy. This of course overtime will lead to weight loss naturally. Jiaogulan also aids the digestive system by clearing out toxins and wastes from the digestive system as it passes through which also contributes to weight loss.
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Jiaogulan Side Effects and Dangers
Like with almost any medication or herb, there is the possibility of getting nausea or loose stools, however these side effects aren’t very common. Studies have shown that Jiaogulan is safe to consume daily for up to four months. Further research is required to test more prolonged uses. Despite having minimal unlikely side effects, normally there are four big indicators where you should see your doctor before trying Jiaogulan, primarily because of possible interactions:
1. If You’re Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Not much testing has been done for this yet, however there is possibly one chemical in the herb that may cause issues during pregnancy. Speak with your doctor prior to having the tea if you’re expecting.
2. If You Have an Auto-Immune Disease
Jiaogulan is strongly suspected to increase immune system functionality. Which is great, normally, but if you have an auto-immune disease such as: lupus, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis it can be trouble. Due to its immune system rejuvenation properties, it can actually make auto-immune diseases flair up with the stimulation.
3. If You Have a Bleeding Disorder
If you take warfarin, heparin or any other blood thinners, you probably have a bleeding disorder. Jiaogulan is strongly suspected to slow blood clotting which is the same thing the above listed medications do. Obviously, this can throw off your INR and can increase how much and how quickly you bleed from cuts and scrapes. If you are taking any blood thinning/clotting medications, make sure to ask your doctor before having Jiaogulan.
4. Prior to Surgery
Jiaogulan isn’t appropriate to have right before surgery. Your INR levels (the time it takes for blood to clot) are a vital thing to have in order prior to surgery and are usually checked and controlled the week before and after the procedure. To ensure you aren’t adding any unnecessary risks to yourself when having surgery, make sure you tell your doctor you are taking Jiaogulan.
Jiaogulan Dosage Information & Method of Consumption
Many people prefer to consume Jiaogulan as a tea. Waiting for the kettle to boil, lovingly making your tea and deeply inhaling the vapors is a calming and relaxing experience that can help you get into the Zen mood before drinking it. As a result, if you’re taking Jiaogulan for the taste or calming properties, then taking it in tea form is the way to go. Follow the dosing instructions on the package. Different brands will have different recommended doses due to different quantities, combinations and compositions.
On the other hand, if you’re not a big tea drinker or perhaps you don’t have time to have a cup of tea most days, then the extract form is a great alternative to the tea. The extract form has been used in several trials when testing the benefits of Jiaogulan. The most promising trials in extract form have come from lowering cholesterol levels. Trials have found that for the best results, the recommended dosage for Jiaogulan to reduce cholesterol levels is 10mg three times a day.
Growing Jiaogulan, with Jiaogulan Seeds
If you’re a fan of Jiaogulan, the seeds are easy to find on the internet and
the plant is easy to grow. Jiaogulan prefers to be in partially shaded positions in rich, moist soil. They are frost-tolerant, but susceptible to droughts. Untrimmed, they grow to be roughly 1.5 meters tall, but alternatively they will grow happily in planter boxes if you’d prefer it not to get so big. With all of the health benefits and the delicious tea it makes, a Jiaogulan plant would make an excellent addition to most herb gardens.