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SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino. Family: Cucurbitaceae (Squashes)
COMMON NAME(S): Jiaogulan, Penta tea, Amachazuru (Japan), Southern ginseng, Dungkulcha (Korea)
Jiaogulan ( Gynostemma pentaphyllum ), is a plant that grows wild in China, as well as many other countries throughout Asia. In China, it has been used for many years as a medicinal and energizing tea in the local regions where it grows. Jiaogulan is sometimes called " Southern Ginseng ", since it grows in south central China and because of its similarity to ginseng in chemical composition and function. It is also praised as X iancao , "Immortality" Herb, because it grows wild and has many health-giving qualities and anti-aging effects.
Jiaogulan has been incorporated into traditional Chinese medicine only in the last 20 years. The plant has a history of folk use in the Guizhou province in China. Its properties are said to have been investigated when a Chinese census revealed a large number of elderly people .in the province reported using the plant. Investigation as a potential sweetening agent stimulated chemical investigations in Japan. Commercialization and scientific study of the leaves have been promoted by provincial Chinese authorities, and the discovery that several ginseng saponins occur in the leaves has prompted aggressive promotion of the product as a substitute for ginseng. The appearance of jiaogulan in American commerce has been heralded by publication of a popular book.
Botany :- Gynostemma pentaphyllum is a climbing, perennial vine native to China, Japan, and parts of southeast Asia. The plant is dioecious, that is, it carries male and female flowers on separate plants. While the plant grows abundantly and is harvested from the wild, it has been brought under cultivation and tissue culture has been achieved. Adulteration by Cayratia japonica has been noted.
Uses of Jiaogulan
Gynostemma is effective in regulating blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, lowering cholesterol, and in increasing stamina and endurance properties. Gynostemma has also been found to have hyperlipidemic, lipid peroxidation, adaptogenic, anticancer, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular effects.
Side Effects of Jiaogulan
The side effects of Gynostemma include severe nausea and increased bowel movements.
Not recomended for pregnant women, small children and breast-feeding women since so little is known about its possible long-term effects. Possible minor side effect is nausea.
For lowering Cholesterol, take 10mg to 20mg of 100% Jiaogulan, 3 times a day. For maintenance of health take between 30mg to 150mg per day, depending on individual needs. Jiaogulan appear to be safe even at large quantity. However, no scientific documentation is available to confirm a maximum dosage.
ToxicologyOne study found an oral LD50 of 49 g/kg for the crude extract with no organ toxicity at 4 g/kg daily for 90 days. Side effects reported in clinical studies included severe nausea and increased bowel movements.
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