Jiaogulan  (Gynostemma)

Latin:  Gynostemma pentaphyllum

Family:  Cucurbitaceae

Parts Used:   Leaf

Taste/Energetics:  Sweet, slightly bitter, cooling

Properties:  Antispasmodic, anxiolytic, hypotensive, adaptogen, immunostimulant, blood sugar regulator, libido enhancer, anti-inflammatory, expectorant.

Actions:  This is one of the most amazing and underutilized herbs available to us.  Jiaogulan is  indigenous to Southern China and was commonly used by people native to that region but was not common in most traditional Chinese herbal medicine formulas.  Thats surprising because it has so many amazing properties and is one of the most enjoyable herbs to drink by itself as a tea.

This is an herb that has commonly been used as a general rejuvenating adaptogenic tonic to combat fatigue, relieve stress, improve stamina, libido and improve memory, concentration and cognitive acuity.

In the 70’s researchers discovered that it contains an enormous array of  saponin constituents (including gypenosides similar to ginsenosides found in ginseng) that are linked to its tonic adaptogenic effect.  But while ginseng is often too heating, stimulating and strong for many people, jiaogulan is well tolerated by most people with rare side effects.  Jiaogulan is also useful for lowering blood pressure and strengthening cardiac health by preventing heart muscle disease, stabilizing an erratic heartbeat and preventing blood clotting.  Jiaogulan also stimulates the immune system to function optimally and is useful for fighting off colds, the flu and helping in cases of chronic bronchitis.  Interestingly, this is an herbal tea one can take in the morning for increased stamina, but also later in the evening to help one relax.  It has a bi-directional effect on the nervous system, both stimulating and calming. It is one of the most useful plants to take regularly for promoting good, restful sleep.

This is an amazing herb that works almost as a panacea, is gentle, can be tolerated by most anyone and tastes delicious as a regularly consumed tea.  It is also being grown in an ethical manner in various parts of Asia and is relatively cheap.   It is an herb that I would suggest to people who are worn out, frazzled, stressed with heat signs such as psoriasis, insomnia, poor memory and anxiety.  But it is also a tea that I would suggest to anyone as a pick me up, a yummy tasting beverage.

Dosage:  I generally recommend a heaping tablespoon of jiaogulan to one cup of hot water infused for 10 minutes.  You can take it in capsule form 1-2 grams a day but tea is superior in effect.  Tincture 1-3 ml to 3 x/day.

Contraindications:  Hypotension, for those taking blood thinners, sedatives, avoid in pregnancy.