Health benefits of Jiaogulan

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Jiaogulan Quick Facts
Name: Jiaogulan
Scientific Name: Gynostemma pentaphyllum
Origin Southern China but is now cultivated widely throughout Asia, most notably in Thailand, Vietnam, southern Korea and Japan
Colors Initially green turning to black when mature
Shapes Indehiscent fruit globose, 5-6 mm in diam., 2-seeded, glabrous or densely hispid and pubescent
Taste Bitter, sweet
Health benefits Anti- cancer, Anti-aging, Beneficial for Skin, Help Combat Obesity, Mood booster, Good Night Sleep, Diabetes Treatment, Respiratory Health, Energy Boost, Immune System, Heart Defender, Digestive Health
Jiaogulan (pronounced Djauw-gu-lan) scientifically known as Gynostemma pentaphyllum is also called “immortality herb” or “eternal life herb” in China. Jiaogulan is a climbing plant belongs to the genus Gynostemma, in the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes cucumbers, gourds, and melons. Known in traditional Chinese medicine, this super herb grows naturally in Southern China but is now cultivated widely throughout Asia, most notably in Thailand, Vietnam, southern Korea and Japan. Jiaogulan has recently been incorporated into traditional medicine. Five-leaf ginseng, poor man’s ginseng, miracle grass, fairy herb, sweet tea vine, gospel herb, and southern ginseng, Gynostemma, Jiaogulan, Immortal Grass and Herb of Immortality are some of the popular common names of the plant.

Jiaogulan Facts

Name Jiaogulan
Scientific Name Gynostemma pentaphyllum
Native Southern China but is now cultivated widely throughout Asia, most notably in Thailand, Vietnam, southern Korea and Japan
Common Names Five-leaf ginseng, poor man’s ginseng, miracle grass, fairy herb, sweet tea vine, gospel herb, and southern ginseng, Gynostemma, Jiaogulan, Immortal Grass, Herb of Immortality
Name in Other Languages Chinese: Jiao gu lan, xiancao, Jiaogulan, Amachazu, 绞股蓝        
Czech: Gynostema pětilistá
Dutch: Jiaogulan
English: Gynostemma, five-leaf ginseng, poor man’s ginseng, miracle grass, fairy herb, sweet tea vine, gospel herb, Southern Ginseng
Japanese: Amachazuru (アマチャヅル)
Korean: Doloe, dungkulcha deong-gulcha (덩굴차),  doloe (돌외)
Latin: Gynostemma pentaphyllum,  Vitis pentaphyllum
Portuguese: Cipó-doce
Russian: Ginostemma pyatilistnaya (Гиностемма пятилистная)
Sanskrit: Atyamlaparni (अत्याम्लपर्णि)
Taiwanese: Sencauw
Tay language: Zan tong
Thai: Jiaogulan, Ceī̌y wkū̀ h̄lān (เจี๋ยวกู่หลาน)
Vietnamese: Giảo cổ lam, bổ đắng
Plant Growth Habit Hardy, twining, short-lived, deciduous, herbaceous climbing vine
Growing Climates Forest, thickets or road sides on mountain slopes
Soil Requires a rich well-drained but moisture-retentive soil in a warm sheltered position in partial shade
Plant Size 8 m long and a spread of 4m after 10-20 years
Stem Slender, angular-grooved, hairless or sparsely velvet-hairy
In Leaf May to October
Leaf Pedately 3-9-foliolate, usually 5-7-foliolate, membranous or papery, velvet-hairy or hairless. Leaflets are ovate-oblong or lanceshaped, median leaflets 3-12 x 1.5-4 cm, lateral leaflets smaller, both surfaces sometimes bristly
Flowering season March till November
Flower Male flowers are borne in panicle; flower-cluster-stalk thread-like, 10-15 cm, many branched; flower-stalks thread-like, 1-4 mm; bracteole subulate; sepal-cup tube very short; segments triangular, about 0.7 mm, tip pointed; flowers pale green or white; segments ovate-lanceshaped, 2.5-3 x about 1 cm, 1-veined, tip long tapering. Female flowers: panicle shorter than that of male flowers; sepal-cup and flower as in male flowers
Fruit Shape & Size Fruit indehiscent, black when mature, globose, 5-6 mm in diam., 2-seeded, glabrous or densely hispid and pubescent
Fruit Color Initially green turning to black when mature
Seed Brown, ovate-cordate, ca. 4 mm in diam., compressed, both surfaces papillose, base cordate, apex obtuse
Propagation Stem tip cuttings, Seed
Taste Bitter, sweet
Plant Parts Used Root and aerial parts
Season April to December
Health Benefits
  • Anti- cancer
  • Anti-aging
  • Beneficial for Skin
  • Help Combat Obesity
  • Mood booster
  • Good Night Sleep
  • Diabetes Treatment
  • Respiratory Health
  • Energy Boost
  • Immune System
  • Heart Defender
  • Digestive Health
Other Facts
  • The plant is used in proprietary preparations for cosmetics and anti-ageing tonics.

Plant Description

Jiaogulan is a hardy, twining, short-lived, deciduous, herbaceous climbing vine which attach itself to supports using tendrils that normally grows about 8 m tall and spread 4m after 10-20 years. The plant is found growing in forest, thickets or road sides on mountain slopes. The plant requires rich well-drained but moisture-retentive soil in a warm sheltered position in partial shade. Stem and branches are slender, angular-grooved, hairless or sparsely velvet-hairy.


Leaves are pedately 3-9-foliolate, usually 5-7-foliolate, membranous or papery, velvet-hairy or hairless. Leaflets are ovate-oblong or lance shaped, median leaflets 3-12 cm long and 1.5-4 cm wide, lateral leaflets smaller, both surfaces sometimes bristly, lateral veins 6-8 pairs, base narrowed, margin rounded toothed, tip pointed or shortly tapering; leaflet-stalk 1-5 mm. Tendrils are thread-like, 2-split.


The plant is dioecious, meaning each plant exists either as male or female. Male flowers are borne in panicle. Flower-cluster-stalk is thread-like about 10-15 cm long and many branched. Flower-stalks are thread-like and about 1-4 mm long. Bracteole is subulate.  Sepal-cup tube is very short. Segments are triangular, about 0.7 mm, tip pointed. Flowers are pale green or white; segments ovate-lance shaped, 2.5-3 x about 1 cm, 1-veined, tip long tapering. Female flowers are also borne in panicle shorter than that of male flowers. Sepal-cup and flower as in male flowers. Ovary is spherical, 2- or 3-loculed; styles 3; stigmas 2-lobed and staminodes 5, short. Flowering normally takes place in between March till November.


Fertile flowers are followed by indehiscent fruit, globose, 5-6 mm in diam., 2-seeded, glabrous or densely hispid and pubescent. Fruits are initially green turning to black when mature.

Health benefits of Jiaogulan

Various researches have been accompanied into the effects that Jiaogulan has on our health. These research shows that Jiaogulan has a huge positive effect on the heart and blood vessels. It aids in healthy insulin production and protects the pancreas. These facts have been established in animal studies and have subsequently been explored in humans only on a small scale. This shows that the use of Jiaogulan, over a period of at least 12 weeks, had a beneficial effect on insulin resistance and the general condition of the liver and pancreas. The Immortality Herb has numerous other benefits; some of them are listed below

1. Digestive Health

Jiaogulan can do wonders for our gut. Experts say that Jiaogulan can protect the gastrointestinal tract from damage caused by toxins and prevent ulcers. Drinking Jiaogulan tea may also be a natural remedy for constipation and it will help balance the bacteria in your gut, leading to better health altogether.

2. Heart Defender

Jiaogulan can offer your heart the natural protection it needs. Numerous studies have confirmed that Jiaogulan help to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising the good HDL cholesterol in the blood. Not only it can regularize the cholesterol levels, there is proof that Jiaogulan can also normalize blood pressure levels. The active ingredients found in Jiaogulan help dilate and relax the blood vessels, thus improving the blood flow through the arteries.

3. Immune System

Strong immune system is crucial for our overall health and wellbeing. If you are prone to catch colds or feel that your immune system has been compromised, then Jiaogulan is for you. Jiaogulan help to strengthen the immune system and helps to prepare for changing seasons or upcoming winter.

4. Energy Boost

The Thai and the Chinese had it in their tradition to drink Jiaogulan tea for energy boost before heading out to fields for a day of hard work. Now whether you have a laborious day ahead or just feeling a little bit run down, Jiaogulan can help you. Jiaogulan tea can provide you with that much needed energy boost to help you get through the day.

5. Respiratory Health

Jiaogulan is a natural cure for several respiratory conditions including asthma, cough and bronchitis. Over 90% of the subjects in a clinical study for chronic bronchitis showed significant signs of improvement after taking Jiaogulan extracts. Traditional Chinese medicine used Gynostemma Pentaphyllum as an expectorant, because it helped clear mucus build-up in one’s airways, making your breath easier.

6. Diabetes Treatment

Jiaogulan helps lower blood glucose levels and may aid diabetes treatment. Studies show that it can lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity.

The herb encourages the pancreas, producing more insulin and improving sugar metabolism. This herb, by itself, does not cause hypoglycemia; it only reduces the blood sugar levels if they are high. The damage that usually occurs to the liver, kidneys, and the cardiovascular system from diabetes has been shown to be significantly reduced by consuming the herb.

7. Good Night Sleep

The Chinese drank Jiaogulan tea not only in the morning to boost their energy levels, but also in the evening, after a long day at work. This helped them relax and settle down their excited senses to a good night’s sleep.  If you have trouble falling asleep, Jiaogulan tea can be a wonderful cure. Just brew a cup of Jiaogulan tea 30 minutes before your bedtime and you will feel the magic for yourself.

8. Mood booster

Like many herbal teas, a nice cup of warm Jiaogulan can help restore balance to your mind and take away the anxiety and stresses from the day. Nobody is claiming that it will help deal with serious cases of stress and anxiety but if you are feeling a little stressed, it might just bring a smile to your face.

9. Help Combat Obesity

Jiaogulan has been recognized as a potent anti-obesity agent with no adverse effects. In a study involving 80 obese participants, half of them took the herb, while the other half was on placebo. The results showed an insignificant reduction in total abdominal fat area, body weight, body fat mass, and BMI in those who took the herb.

10. Beneficial for Skin

Jiaogulan is an excellent source of natural antioxidants which help prevent skin damage caused by free radical damage.  Drinking Jiaogulan regularly may help reduce some of the signs of cellular damage as well as slowing down those unwanted signs that we are getting older.

When applied topically, Jiaogulan can actually help protect the skin from UV damage caused by over exposure to the sun’s rays. Chinese research states that even drinking Jiaogulan or taking it in capsule form can also help prevent UV damage.

11. Anti-aging

Research has revealed that those who consumed Jiaogulan regularly were living longer and significantly healthier lives. Researchers believe that the main reason for this general benefit is that it consists of two very important antioxidants – glutathione and superoxide dismutase. Research has proven that Jiaogulan when taken each day for a two month period helps to reduce several signs of aging including fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, diarrhea and poor balance.

12. Anti- cancer benefits

Chinese researchers did a meta-analysis of research to try and determine possible anti-cancer benefits of Jiaogulan and its components.  Researchers discovered several gypenosides that had research showing anti-cancer effects ranging from preventing the spread to killing cancer cells directly.  Research concluded noting many potential curative effects could be found from the “GpM formula” (Gynostemma pentaphyllum).

Traditional uses and benefits of Jiaogulan

  • Whole plant is a tonic herb that improves the circulation, stimulates liver function, strengthens the immune and nervous systems, and reduces blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • It also has sedative effects, relieving spasms and lowering the blood pressure.
  • It is used internally in the treatment of nervous tension and exhaustion, peptic ulcer, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • It encourages physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
  • It makes the body capable in dealing with stress.
  • It is especially suitable to the chronic bronchitis.
  • It cures numerous mental ailments like anxiety, depression, alzheimer, and schizophrenia.
  • Take Jiaogulan early morning for improving your strength, endurance and stamina.
  • Jiaogulan improves the quality of sleep and is widely used for treating Insomnia.
  • It fights diabetes by increasing the production of Insulin.
  • It cures heart diseases like arrhythmia and angina.
  • It balances blood pressure and regulates the levels of cholesterol in the blood.
  • It increases the production of White Blood Cells.
  • Jiaogulan is an effective cure for various types of cancers like skin, prostate, breast, uterus, kidney and esophageal Cancers.
  • It is widely used in treating hepatitis and even reverses the effects of liver damage.
  • It improves digestion and helps the stomach in absorbing essential nutrients.
  • Jiaogulan nourishes the skin and makes the skin glow and is even used for removing dead Skin.

Culinary Uses

  • Leaves and young stems are consumed after being cooked.
  • The leaves have a sweet taste and are used as a tea.
  • Jiaogulan is consumed primarily as a tea, and is also used as a natural sweetener in Japan.
  • Jiaogulan is also available as an alcohol extract and in capsule or pill form.


  • Avoid use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Excess intake may cause Nausea and an increase in bowel movements.
  • If you are taking any blood thinning medications please consult your health care professional before using Gynostemma.
  • Do not use if you have an autoimmune condition or are taking immunosuppressant medications it stimulates and strengthens the immune system.






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