Jiaogulan: benefits, side effects and drugs

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Jiaogulang ( Gynostemma pentaphyllum ) is a cucumber-like vine found in China and other Asian countries. It is believed to have medicinal properties and is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) .

Also known as southern ginseng, jiaogulang contains a saponin compound called hypenoside, as well as other plant compounds. The herb is sold in tea, powder, or capsule form to treat conditions such as diabetes , high cholesterol , and anxiety.

This article looks at some of the possible health benefits of the herb, the scientific evidence that could support these claims, and what you need to know before you start taking supplements.

What is jiaogulang used for?

Despite its long history of using the herb in traditional Chinese medicine, it is still difficult to find definitive studies supporting its medical use in humans. What does exist is limited to laboratory research and small clinical trials, many of which continue to be conducted in mice and other animals.

Diabetes, obesity, and stress are the applications behind the most prominent research. Other studies have looked at the role of the herb in various forms of cancer and in preventing liver damage.

Diabetes

Research shows that jiaogulan can help prevent or control diabetes. They start with a small clinical study published in 2010 that showed that the herb, taken in the form of tea, can lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

After 12 weeks of treatment, this study of 24 people showed that those who received jiaogulan showed greater improvements in blood sugar and insulin response than those who received no treatment.

The following years were followed by similar studies by the same researchers. In one, wild jiaogulan was harvested in northern Vietnam for a small group of 16 people who were first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In a 10-month study, some received jiaogulang tea while the control group received tea. green. Jiaogulan has been found to improve the response to insulin.

The most recent research on the role of jiaogulan in diabetes has focused on groups of animals. They include a 2019 study in mice that again showed benefits for the prevention and treatment of diabetes, with a reduction in fasting blood sugar when fed Jiaogulan extract.

While jiaogulan shows potential for treating type 2 diabetes, more research is needed before it can be recommended. Meanwhile, scientists continue to identify more compounds in jiaogulan to better understand the overall health benefits. So far, they have found more than 200 of them.

Obesity

Jiaogulan may have anti-obesity effects, according to a 2021 study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

Researchers in Australia administered 450 milligrams (mg) of the herbal extract or a sham treatment (placebo) to 117 overweight men and women. They monitored their progress for 16 weeks.

At the end of the study, the jiaogulan group showed significant reductions in total body weight, body mass index (BMI), and total fat mass compared to the placebo group.

Scientists say their work supports previous research showing that people who take this herb can lose weight. This expands the benefits to include those with lower obesity rates.

Previous animal studies have also shown benefits in the treatment of metabolic syndrome. It is a combination of symptoms and cardiac risk factors that result from obesity-related insulin resistance .

However, more research is needed.

Stress

Jiaogulan is one of the many medicinal herbs or adaptogens that are believed to relieve stress.

A 2019 study from South Korea enrolled 72 people with a history of chronic stress and anxiety. Half of them received a jiaogulang leaf extract and the rest received a placebo. They continued to take the supplement for eight weeks while being routinely evaluated for stress.

The authors found lower levels of stress in the jiaogulan group, but said more research is needed to further explore this issue.

Summary

Jiaogulang has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Scientists are still working to prove its health benefits. Research suggests that it may be beneficial for blood sugar control, weight, and stress, but more evidence is needed before jiaogulan can be recommended.

Possible side effects.

Jiaogulan is generally considered safe, although it can cause side effects. These can include nausea and increased bowel movements.

However, some people with special health problems raise serious concerns:

  • Jiaogulan can affect the immune system. People with conditions like lupus , multiple sclerosis , and rheumatoid arthritis should avoid consuming the herb until more research is done.
  • Jiaogulan can inhibit blood clotting and harm people with blood problems, taking blood thinners, or planning surgery.
  • Despite the benefits for people with diabetes, jiaogulan should be used with caution when taking insulin or other medications that increase blood sugar levels. This can lead to lower blood sugar levels.
  • The herb's safety for pregnant and lactating women has not been proven. It should not be used by pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant.

Talk to your doctor before using jiaogulan. Be sure to mention any other medications, supplements, and herbs you are taking.

Selection, preparation and storage

Jiaogulang teas, powders, and capsules are available at many health food stores. They are also available online and in specialty stores that sell traditional herbs or medicines.

Jiaogulan tea does not contain caffeine and, due to its sweet and sour taste, it tastes like mild green tea. It can be mixed with other teas, such as jasmine, or consumed alone. Soak the cage in hot water; many recommend doing this for at least 10 minutes.

There is no standard dosage for jiaogulan, although alternative practitioners often recommend two to four cups a day.

Food additives are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To ensure that you are buying a quality product, look for an independent third party seal on the label. It must come from a quality testing organization such as NSF International or ConsumerLab.

This does not guarantee safety, but it can give you confidence that what is on the label is actually what is in the product.

Store jiaogulan in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Summary

There is no standard dosage for jiaogulan. Follow product labels. To make sure what you choose contains what is written, look for a third-party seal like NSF International.

Summary

Jiaogulan supplements can provide health benefits for a variety of health problems. Diabetes, obesity, and stress are just a few for which there is supportive, albeit limited, research. There are many more potential health effects that are being studied.

Currently, the herb is considered safe to use, but some people, for example people with immunity and blood disorders, should do so with caution or avoid it altogether. It is always a good idea to speak with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.

Get the word of drug information

It is too early to recommend jiaogulan for the treatment or prevention of any disease. If you are thinking of trying this, you can consult with an alternative medicine doctor . The herbal remedy is available without a prescription, but an expert in the field can help you choose your options.

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