Jiaogulan or Penta
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Botanical:  Gynostemma pentaphyllum
Family:  Cucurbitaceae (gourd/squash)
Other common names:  Penta, Southern Ginseng, Sweet Tea Vine, Gospel Herb, Amachazuru (Japan), Dungkulcha (Korea)

Jiaogulan, often called "The Immortality Herb," is included in anti-ageing tonics and is revered in the Orient as an herbal tonic for its medicinal and cosmetic qualities.  Jiaogulan has been used to support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, ease nervous tension and exhaustion, stimulate liver function, enhance stamina, strengthen the immune system and boost the body's resistance to disease.  New research promises potential, positive antioxidant benefits with the use of Jiaogulan.

The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Jiaogulan is a hardy perennial climber from the genus, Gynostemma, a native of southern and eastern Asia, which consists of two climbers that attach themselves by means of tendrils. Jiaogulan bears palmate leaves and toothed leaflets, with a three-inch terminal leaflet and small, yellow-green, star-shaped panicles of six-inch flowers that bloom in the summertime. The flowers are followed by smooth, very dark green fruits that are marked with white lines, and the vines grow to twenty-five feet in length and thrive in moist, well-drained soil in partial shade in a warm climate. Jiaogulan is called "The Immortality Herb " in China and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as a remedy for hepatitis, tumors, bronchitis and peptic ulcers. The plant has a long history of folk use in the Guizhou province in China, and its properties are said to have been investigated when a Chinese census revealed a large number of elderly people in the province reported using it.   Commercialization and scientific study of the leaves have been promoted by provincial Chinese authorities fairly recently, and the discovery that several ginseng saponins occur in the leaves prompted aggressive promotion of the product as a substitute for ginseng.  Four main dammarane triterpene saponins (gypenosides) have been extracted from the aerial parts of G. pentaphyllum and identified as active constituents, with several of these saponins being identical to those found in ginseng's ginsenosides.  Wide variation in the amount and nature of gypenosides has made production of a product standardized with specific gypenosides somewhat problematic.  Most current products are standardized on total saponin content. The reasons for this variation have been investigated but have not been fully elucidated.  Other constituents reported in Jiaogulan include sterols with the ergostane, cholestane and stigmastane skeletons, with several examples containing an acetylenic functionality, which is considered unusual in plants. The flavonoid glycosides rutin, ombuoside and yixingensin, have also been identified.  Investigation as a potential sweetening agent stimulated chemical investigations in Japan, and a better understanding of its properties was gained in the 1980s, when Japanese researchers investigated its antioxidant properties.  It was rated one of the ten most important tonic herbs at the 1991 International Conference on traditional medicine in Beijing, China.  The whole plant is used in herbal medicine.

Beneficial Uses:
Jiaogulan is considered an excellent tonic herb that is said to restore, heal and nourish the entire body, and it is thought to exert a gentle strengthening effect on all body functions.  In the Orient, Jiaogulan is called "The Immortality Herb" and is thought to produce healing, anti-ageing effects.  Moreover, it is also believed to help enhance stamina and strength.

Jiaogulan is said to improve blood circulation and may be very helpful as a supplement for cardiovascular problems.  The herb is thought to support healthy cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels.  Pursuant to cardiac health, studies in the University of Messina, Italy, demonstrated that intravenous administration of Jiaogulan aqueous extract produced a protective effect against induced coronary spasm, arrhythmias and pressor response.

As a mild sedative, Jiaogulan is believed to support the nervous system, easing nervous tension and exhaustion.  It has also been used to alleviate peptic ulcers and relax spasms.

Jiaogulan is considered an "adaptogen," or agent that helps the body adjust and normalize its functions when exposed to stresses that would alter those functions. The herb also helps to enhance the body's immune system and increases its resistance to stress, which may be very helpful in fighting invasive infections. Jiaogulan is said to have potent antioxidant properties, which are also thought to detoxify and prevent free-radical damage to tissues and cells.

Jiaogulan has been used in China for a myriad of other conditions, including stimulation of liver function, reducing blood sugar and treating asthma, bronchitis, throat problems and chronic coughs.

Currently, there are no known warnings or contraindications with the use of Jiaogulan Herbal Supplement.

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