Jiaogulan, or Gynostemma, an edacious vine related to the gourd or cucumber family, is an ancient weed considered since early Asia to be one of the most essential health assistants for humans who wish to live a long and healthy life. Even today it has maintained its reputation as one of the most respected folk medicines of the ancient mountains of southern China. It was described in the Ming Dynasty by Zhu Xio as the “fairy herb”, “gospel herb” and “immortality herb”. Much praise is associated with this herb especially due to the beneficial composition it contains to prevent life threatening illnesses.
This wonderful gift from Mother Nature has so many qualities that it is no wonder why herbalists love it and recommend it to everyone. Jiaogulan’s shy but beautiful tiny flowers and fruit come out very rarely. And although it is a modest looking plant, it undoubtedly has a very clever way of climbing and creeping to spread up on branches or across the forest beds to reproduce itself. Some herbalists would consider this to be symbolic of its adaptive virtues. Anyone can consume this nutritious herb as a tea to help boost the immune system or prevent cancer. It is even recommended to cancer patients.
The first records for Jiaogulan were found in Zhu Xio’s Materia Medica for Famine in 1406 CE, making it an important survival food of ancient China. Also being one of the most vigilant adaptogen medicines, Jiaogulan certainly can boost a person’s health by helping with adaptability during physical, emotional or mental stress. It does this by reducing high levels of stress hormones in the blood. It works on boosting energy, endurance and stamina, along with regulation of blood glucose, which can be most beneficial to people suffering from diabetes, as that is one of the most common diseases of our modern times.
Let’s look at how this plant is able to support longevity. Due to its high content of saponins, Jiaogulan has been compared to Ginseng for its superior adaptogen qualities. Indeed this herb can repair and protect the entire body, including cardiovascular and cognitive impairments.
Today Jiaogulan is widely cultivated for medicinal use. however, if you happen to find it growing wild, you can indeed forage it. Many gardeners who are familiar with the healing wisdom of this ancient plant, allow this lovely weed to grow in their gardens. The lovely leaves can be clipped off and hung dry indoors, and later used as an herbal infusion. It is said that Jiaogulan has a soothing, cooling effect on the body.
Protective Qualities of Jiaogulan
It is a tragedy that we find ourselves surrounded by radiation in the modern age. And yet Mother Nature has intuitively sent us Jiaogulan with its incredible therapeutic and protective influence on radiation. Due to the high risk of cancer in these times, Jiaogulan can be considered a natural superhero. Some therapies such as chemo weaken the immune system and therefore make this herb a perfect supplement for people who are being treated for cancer or similar radiation related therapies.
Brew your own balanced Anti-Aging and Longevity Tea
As an ancient remedy, Jiaogulan was prepared as a tea to help with balancing of the whole body. One can learn from the poetic appearance of this enchanting herb, how Mother Nature secretly allows this vine to creep up slowly and by quietly using the support of branches all around it, become such a powerful ally for the health and support of athletes and other humans alike.
Jiaogulan has a mild sweet taste. Herbalists like to compliment their cup with a little bit of honey. If you’re using this herb to improve blood circulation and your overall heart health, it’s best to keep up with mild exercise as well. You only need a teaspoon of dried leaves for the tea, as it high-yielding and will leave you feeling completely relaxed, calm and de-stressed. Many people even like to enjoy a cooling “ice tea” with dried Jiaogulan leaves in the summer.
1.Winston, David, and Steven Maimes. Adaptogens: herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. Healing Arts Press, 2007.
2.Smith, John E. 100 herbs of power: world herbs, their ancestry and uses. Strategic Book Pub., 2008.
3.Saleeby, J P. Wonder Herbs: A Guide to Three Adaptogens.