Gynostemma is considered legendary in the traditional Chinese medicine community. The Chinese regard the gynostemma herb as being a potent balancing agent of the 5 major body systems: cardiovascular, digestive, immune, nervous and reproductive systems. Consequently, gynostemma is said to contribute to optimum well-being and longevity. And practitioners of ancient Chinese medicine have come to regard gynostemma as an immortality herb.
Gynostemma broke into the consciousness of health practitioners from all over when in the 1970s, a nationwide census in China revealed that in a certain mountainous area, there lived a large amount of people that reached the age of 100 years and above. Research into the lifestyle of the people revealed one common dietary element: they all drank gynostemma tea on a regular basis.
Gynostemma, also known as jiaogulan by the Chinese, is a herbaceous vine that is indigenous to the southern China, southern Korea and Japan. It possesses leaves that most often are divided into five leaflets – usually with a larger leaflet at the end of the leaf stem surrounded by leaflets of decreasing size on either side. Gynostemma is of the same family of plants as cucumbers and melons. It produces small dark berries that follow light yellow flowers.
Gynostemma is best known as an herbal medicine reputed to have powerful antioxidant and adaptogenic effects.
The chemical constituents of gynostemma include the triterpenoid saponins gypenosides, which are closely structurally related to the ginsenosides from ginseng.
Pregnant and breast-feeding women, as well as small children are advised not to take gynostemma tea or extracts. This is because so little is known about its possible long-term effects. Caution should also be taken by those who are taking medication and herbs that affect blood clotting as the herb is known to delay clotting.
To make gynostemma tea, simply place a handful of dried gynostemma leaves and roots in a pot of newly-boiled water. Let the mix stand for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the mix, then drink. Drinking about 2 to 3 cups of gynostemma tea per day is recommended.
The following are some health benefits attributed to this herbal tea:
- May be helpful in fighting tumors and cancer.
- May be helpful in boosting the immune system.
- May be helpful in treating asthma.
- May be helpful against migraine headaches.
- May help lower cholesterol.
- May be useful against disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
- May be useful against bronchitis and other disorders of the respiratory system.
- May be useful against depression, anxiety, stress, and other disorders of the nervous system.
- May help in weight loss.