Gynostemma, or jiaogulan, has long been used in herbal medicine, where it earned the nickname the “immortality herb.” It’s also referred to as “poor man’s ginseng,” as gynostemma benefits are similar to that of Panax ginseng but at a fraction of the cost. Both gynostemma and ginseng, while unrelated, contain compounds called ginsenosides that are not found in other plants. (1) To learn more about the immortality herb, read below.
Here are 9 health-related gynostemma benefits:
1) Fights Allergies
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, gynostemma can offer you some relief. Allergies and asthma crop up as a result of an overactive Th2 system. (2) Gynostemma benefits those with allergies by boosting Th1 immune cell production, which balances the Th2 system. (3)
Gynostemma treatment lowers multiple inflammatory molecules associated with allergies in animal studies. Furthermore, there are multiple animal studies that have shown gynostemma’s ability to combat various symptoms of seasonal allergies. For example, gynostemma stabilizes mast cells and reduces histamine production. It also reduces airway inflammation as brought on by Th2 cytokines. (4)
And compounds from gynostemma also limit inflammation by boosting nitric oxide and activating AMPK. This in turn could provide further relief of allergy symptoms. (5)
2) Neuroprotective Abilities
Gynostemma benefits also include its ability to protect brain cells from damage. In one study, gynostemma protected the brain from damage caused by low oxygen. (6) Additionally, this plant is undergoing studies as part of a potential treatment for stroke. (7)
Furthermore, gynostemma may help treat Parkinson’s disease as well as Alzheimer’s disease. High doses of this herb protected cells from damage in animal models of these conditions. (8)
Gynostemma also protects the brain from oxidative stress and boosts energy production. (9)
3) Supports Weight Loss
As compounds in gynostemma can improve blood flow during exercise, it may also increase exercise capacity. This in turn may help those who are trying to lose weight see faster gains. (10)
Moreover, gynostemma benefits a weight loss plan by boosting fat burning. It also makes cells more sensitive to insulin by activating the energy sensor molecule AMPK. (11)
And a third way gynostemma benefits your weight loss goals is by reducing production of a protein that promotes obesity. (12)
4) Improves Symptoms of Diabetes
Gynostemma can also offer relief from diabetic symptoms. It does this by regulating blood sugar and boosting antioxidant enzymes. (13) Furthermore, gynostemma improves insulin sensitivity by activating the energy sensor AMPK. (14)
And in various studies, diabetic animals supplemented with gynostemma showed improvements of blood sugar levels. (15)
Gynostemma benefits also include its ability to reduce cholesterol. In one study, gypenosides extracted from gynostemma decreased pathways that lead to cholesterol production. And another study saw that regular consumption of tea made from gynostemma was linked with lower cholesterol. (16)
5) Shows Cancer-Fighting Capabilities
Add cancer to gynostemma’s list of diseases it can fight. Compounds extracted from it, for example, prevented lung cancer from spreading in human cell studies. (17) And in various animal studies, it prevented the spread of colon cancer, as well as increased the production of antioxidant enzymes that help fight cancer. (18)
Moreover, gynostemma may reduce the risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
6) Promotes Heart Health
So far, you’ve learned what gynostemma can do in terms of fighting cancer and diabetes, and how it can protect the brain, fight allergies, and help you lose weight. Additionally, gynostemma benefits the cardiovascular system. For example, it helps maintain healthy blood flow and prevents the arteries from narrowing. Furthermore, it won’t widen arteries that are already open, which makes it less likely to cause flushing and nasal congestion compared to other drugs and supplements.
And with its ability to improve cellular energy, those who are exercising to improve heart health may see quicker results by using this supplement. Moreover, gynostemma benefits include protecting the heart from damage during a heart attack in animal models. (19)
7) Reduces Asthma Symptoms
Allergic inflammation in the lungs is one of the causes of asthma symptoms. Gynostemma can help prevent asthma-causing inflammation. (20) Gynostemma, acting as an antihistamine, can also provide relief similar to the asthma medication cromolyn sodium. Moreover, gynostemma can dialate blood vessels, such as the veins in your lungs that become constricted when asthma flare-ups occur. (21)
8) Protects Cells
Gynostemma can also offer protection for your cells. For example, it can enhance antioxidant enzyme activity as well as increase levels of immune cells, as shown in animals studies. (22)
Furthermore, gynostemma protects brain cells from various stressors, neutralizes free radicals, and boosts available energy in cells. (23)
9) Boosts Healthy Liver Function
Gynostemma benefits also include support of healthy liver function. For example, it can reduce liver fat, improve liver cell survival, and prevent the growth of cancer cells. It also protects the liver from oxidative stress and inflammation. (24)
Cautions Concerning Gynostemma Usage:
You should not take this product with drugs that suppress the immune system, as it could possibly make them less effective by acting as an immune stimulant.