Jiaogulan plant has been consumed as tea for hundreds of years in Southern China and adjacent regions and was first documented in 1406 AD during the Ming Dynasty by prince Zhu Xiao/Su. In his book “Materia Medica for Famine,” Prince Zhu Xiao/Su first described Jiaogulan as a plant that was intended for food consumption during periods of famine and not for medical treatment. This notion was later on altered in 1578 by Li Shi Zhen in his “Compendium of Materia Medica,” which was the very first comprehensive compilation of plants and animals that were believed to have medicinal value in traditional Chinese medicine.
Jiaogulan as a Powerful Adaptogen
Jiaogulan plant, as a wild climbing vine, belongs to genus Gynostemma of the cucumber (Cucuritaceae) family. Jiaogulan plant grows wildly in Southern China where the inhabitants of that place called the plant the “Southern Ginseng.” They also call it “Xiancao” which means the “Herb of Immortality.” Jiaogulan is commonly consumed by many people in that are as tea before beginning their daily works and before sleeping. Moreover, the people in Southern China consider Jiaogulan as the primary source of their strength and endurance. They also attribute to Jiaogulan their youthful appearance and apparent immunity to harmful diseases.
Some scientists made Jiaogulan the focus of their medical studies to find out the natural components of Jiaogulan that are responsible for its myriads of health benefits. These medical scientists discovered that Jiaogulan has more “saponins” than the well-known herbal plant called “Panax Ginseng.” Saponins are foaming, adaptogenic phytochemicals found within the ginseng roots and Jiaogulan leaves that promote bodily balance. These saponins also prevent mental and physical stress by restoring homeostasis within the body. The saponins found in Jiaogulan are also called gypenosides. Jiaogulan’s gypenosides are responsible for restoring balance in the endocrinal, nervous, and immune systems of those who regularly consume it. Moreover, Jiaogulan’s gypenosides have adaptogenic properties that help maintain cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar in their normal levels.
Other Health Benefits of Jiaogulan
Aside from being adaptogenic, Jiaogulan’s gypenosides have the ability to reactivate the body’s capability to produce nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide—which was also tagged as the “Molecule of the Year” in 1992—is a free radical gas that is normally occurring within the human body. It is generally produced and stored within the heart’s walls and does the following to the body:
- It prevents Parkinson’s disease.
- It prevents Alzheimer’s disease.
- It prevents anti-immune diseases.
- It also prevents hypertension which could lead to stroke or heart attack by relaxing the arterial walls and eliminating the formation of plaque.
- It also keeps the arterial walls healthy and prevents LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, fats like triglycerides and white blood cells from coalescing with the plaque.
- It prevents the clogging of the arteries and blood clot build-up. Thus, with more nitric oxide, the heart relaxes and is never overworked. Since Jiaogulan increases the body’s production of nitric oxide, it definitely helps in maintaining the homeostasis and wellbeing of the human body.
Jiaogulan also possesses antioxidant properties. Unlike most fruits and vegetables that only provide external antioxidants, Jiaogulan works otherwise. Instead, Jiaogulan internally stimulates the body to produce its own antioxidants in the same way it stimulates the body to produce its own nitric oxide. Lastly, with all the abovementioned health benefits of Jiaogulan, it is almost right to claim that Jiaogulan can easily be the best adaptogen to conquer stress.