It said that the greatest wealth any man can possess is good health. Throughout human history, mankind is obsessed with finding the “Fountain of Youth.” The truth is that some people have already found this “fountain.”
In China, the Gynostemma Pentaphyllum plant is dubbed as the “herb of immortality.” Also known as Jiaogulan in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Gynostemma possesses adaptogenic, therapeutic, and antioxidant properties that can prevent the manifestation and/or treatment of a prevailing ailment while increasing longevity.
Herb of Immortality
Gynostemma is almost unknown to the world until 1970’s after an accidental discovery of an unusually high number of elderly people over 100 years old were living in Southwestern and south-central China. The discovery prompted the Chinese government to investigate this phenomenon that eventually led to the discovery of Gynostemma, which is locally known as “Xiancao” – “the immortality herb”.
According to the studies conducted by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, the gynostemma or more commonly known as Jiaogulan contains a saponin called gypenosides which gives the plant its adaptogenic, therapeutic, and antioxidant properties.
Adaptogens in Gynostemma increases the human body’s ability to resist stressors from outside or within the body. Consequently, the adaptogens limit the body’s vulnerability to disease by “adapting” to the prevailing condition of stress, thereby increasing the level of the body’s immune system. Known in China as the “Southern ginseng,” Gynostemma is often described as similar to ginseng, but much better.” Despite having similar saponins as those of ginseng, there are 174 different identifiable saponins (gypenosides) in the Gynostemma plant compared to ginseng’s 28 saponins, and these other saponins are known as panaxosides or ginsenosides. These saponins or gypenosides give the Gynostemma plants its adaptogenic qualities.
Likewise, this adaptogenic property gives the Gynostemma the capability to restore balance to the human body or homeostasis while regulating and restoring normal metabolism. The Gynostemma has clearly passed all predefined criteria and adaptogenic qualifications such as:
- Non-toxicity which means that gynostemma possesses no toxic effect on its recipients.
- Increased resistance to stress by producing nonspecific response towards various stressors.
- Normalizing effect that balances the body’s physiology from whatever direction.
Gynostemma has many health benefits and best known to prevent or treat heart disease, chronic inflammations, stroke, hypertension, Alzheimer’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, Parkinson’s and anti-immune disease, etc. The cardiovascular disease, for example, develops due to insufficient nitric oxide inside a person’s body. This deficiency can lead to arterial damage that can progress into blood clot development that can eventually cause strokes or heart attack. Gynostemma works to prevent the cardiovascular diseases in multiple ways:
- Gynostemma’s adaptogen (gypenosides) stimulates the release of the nitric oxide to prevent arterial damage and plaque buildup.
- Gynostemma lowers excessive cholesterol and triglycerides reducing plaque buildups.
- Gynostemma stabilizes blood pressure levels.
Antioxidants are natural products of the human body. However, as the body ages, its capability to produce sufficient amount of these antioxidants diminishes resulting into the need for more intake of antioxidant-rich food, vitamins, and supplements. Gynostemma is one such supplement, but unlike most supplements that boost the body’s antioxidant by daily intakes, gynostemma stimulates the body to produce sufficient amounts of antioxidants like glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase. These antioxidants are vital to a person’s good health and promote longevity.