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When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied. Herophilus
Let me introduce you to Gynostemma or Jiaogulan. It’s not known of in the West, but in the East, it’s been used as tea and medicine for thousands of years. Inside the leaves are compounds similar to what’s inside Ginseng that give it anti-aging and longevity effects.
Gynostemma is an antioxidant and adaptogen. Antioxidants protect you against ageing free radicals. Adaptogens are plants that help you cope with stress. How? They restore balance to your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Your HPA co-ordinates the balance between hormones and your brain so is involved in mood, metabolism, energy and libido. So Gynostemma is used to reduce inflammation and pain, calm the mind, slow aging, reduce fatigue, increase vigour, improve digestion and improve libido. Because it reduces inflammation and increases metabolism, it’s been used as part of weight loss.
Jiaogulan is a magician in your body, compared with Vitamin C and E because it stimulates your body to produce its own Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Glutathione, and Catalase. Glutathione binds to toxins, pesticides and heavy metals until they are excreted. SOD protects against early ageing.(That’s why I use it in Drench!)
Jiaogulan regulates the nitric oxide levels in your blood so that you have the right amount. Imbalances of nitric oxide are associated with heart attacks, strokes and other disease.
The compounds called gypenosides appear to stop the DNA from being degraded and broken down too quickly. This is why it’s called the Herb of Immortality.
Pronounce it as gee-ow-goo-lan. It’s called the Herb of Immortality, and been used for food and as a tea substitute. Try blending it with jasmine! Its sweet flavour interested the Japanese government who were searching for sugar substitutes. It’s been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for hematuria, oedema and pain of the pharynx, heat and oedema of the neck, tumours and trauma. It may help your body increase its production of the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), that protects cells against early ageing.
It can also help for fatty liver disease and obesity.
Brewing fresh Gynostemma tea is easy – just add hot water and let the flavour infuse into the freshly boiled water. Strain then drink.
Suggested dose for dried leaves is a half teaspoon of dried powder per 250ml hot water. Let the leaves infuse for at least ten minutes. For fresh leaves you would double the amount. Put the used leaves into your compost or wormery.
At Glow these healing and protective benefits have been extracted by Wendy in a Special TCM elixir created to rejuvenate, rebalance and revitalize. impart calm and rebalance skin energies. I use it in my collagen protecting tonic Drench as well as the bespoke Bakuchiol Immortality Serum.
Jiaogulan offers potent antioxidant protection. When you consume Jiaogulan tea, your body increases its production of its own super antioxidant, known as SOD, or superoxide dismutase. This defends and protects the cells of the body from premature destruction due to exposure to harmful agents of all kinds.
What is Gynostemma good for?
Gynostemma is used in Chinese medicine for hepatitis, diabetes and heart/cardiovascular disease. Studies show it also has potent anti-cancer activities. (For more anti-cancer herbs read this article) These medicinal effects are due to the 230 compounds inside the leaves including, 189 gypenosides, sterols, flavonoids and polysaccharides as well as amino acids, vitamins and minerals, including selenium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese & phosphorus. Miniature factories!
Gynostemma is classified as an adaptogen – and it appears to stop DNA degradation, by protecting your telomeres. Telomeres are the ‘end caps’ on strings of DNA, and the remaining length of telomeres is a major factor governing your remaining life span. This is why Gynostemma is named the immortality herb,
Is Gynostemma a stimulant?
Short answer – it depends. Because Gynostemma is an adaptogen with biphasic effect on brain functioning. This means that it can either energise or calm you, depending on what is needed to restore balance. So if you are lethargic, it will give you an energy boost. If your adrenals are stressed out and overworked, the tea will help calm you down. It’s loaded with many useful minerals and vitamins and even tastes good.
Grow your own gynostemma tea:
If you like to grow plants, then consider ordering some Gynostemma plants to grow your own fresh leaves to make your own tea! It’ grows like a vine so be prepared for a messy looking plant, but perhaps you’ll trail it on a trellis or over a ledge.
I ordered three little plants online. They took about 3 months to arrive and then I potted them up into small containers so that they can live inside my kitchen. Ideally your containers will have draining holes so they don’t rot from wet roots!
Here you can see my new plant growing indoors in the UK. I have put in three bamboo chopsticks to act as a form of trellis but so far they show more interest in growing away from the container.
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