Gynostemma Pentaphyllum is a perennial climbing vine that goes by many names including Jiaogulan, southern ginseng, and blue ginseng. It is known as one of Asia’s longevity herbs that are native to many countries in Asia and is cultivated in China, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Gynostemma is a member of the cucumber and melon family even though it shares no resemblance to either one, and it is naturally sweet in flavor making it a possible alternative to processed sugar. The vine grows small clusters of blackberries but only the leaves are used for tea and making supplement pills.
Benefits of Gynostemma Powder
Gynostemma is known as the “immortality” herb and its medical benefits have been recognized in traditional Chinese medicine since the Ming Dynasty of 1368-1644. Limited studies on the medicinal benefits have been performed on the herb, but it has long been used for its rejuvenating properties that boost cardiovascular health and lowers stress. It is also known for relieving coughing, colds, and bronchitis, and it has a large amount of Ginsenosides which makes its medicinal benefits similar to that of ginseng. A couple of studies that have been performed on the herb shows that some of the benefits of ingesting Gynostemma include regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, lowering blood sugar, it has anti-cancer and diabetic properties, and it can help people who are suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The FDA has not confirmed any of the medicinal benefits of taking Gynostemma. It is commonly stacked with Guarana.
There is no known dosage that shows the effectiveness of Gynostemma when taken in certain amounts. If someone is looking for an herbal alternative to traditional medication and discovers Gynostemma may be beneficial to their health, then they should seek the advice of a naturopathic physician or an herbalist who can guide them in the use of this herb. A good source to look for a naturopathic physician or herbalist would be the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Despite the lack of a known effective dosage, it is recommended that Gynostemma is taken as tea instead of in the form of a capsule, and two to four cups of Gynostemma tea per day is suggested.
There have been no significant studies on the side effects of ingesting Gynostemma, but some people are known to have developed severe nausea and have had an increase in bowel movement after taking the herb. There have been no tests performed on the herb’s interactions with other drugs or herbs, and there are no studies on the herb’s toxicity to humans. Gynostemma helps to increase the immune system which is why it is known as the longevity herb, so people who are on immunosuppressant drugs should avoid using this herb. The herb may also interact with blood thinning medications, so it is recommended that people who are on anticoagulants should not take Gynostemma. One final group of people who should avoid taking this herb are pregnant women because Gynostemma has a chemical that is deemed to be unsafe to unborn children and has been linked to birth defects.
Long and Short-Term Usage
There are no studies that show the effectiveness of using Gynostemma over a certain period of time. People who have used Gynostemma have stated they noticed an immediate positive effect on their symptoms when they started taking the herb. It is not known how long Gynostemma has had an effect on their symptoms.
There have been two research studies performed on the medicinal effectiveness of Gynostemma. A 2006 study focused on the herb’s effect on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in a hospital-based, random, single-blind clinical study that lasted six months. 56 subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were divided into a treatment group and a control group. Both groups followed a controlled diet for the first two months then the treatment group continued the diet and was given a daily 80 ml Gynostemma extract for the remaining four months. The control group also continued to follow the diet for the remaining four months and was given a daily placebo. Dieting alone helped both groups decrease their BMI and other biochemistry markers such as triglycerides, insulin, and fatty liver score after two months, but after six months, the treatment group saw an even more significant decrease in their BMI and biochemistry markers compared to the control group. Researchers concluded Gynostemma is an effective treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
In a 2014 study, researchers found the strong antioxidant ingredients in Gynostemma was effective in inhibiting the growth of cells needed for the growth of tumors. Researchers noted the cancerous cells were destroyed while no damage was done to any of the healthy cells. No studies have been done on the effects of Gynostemma on cancerous cells in humans.
Is Gynostemma Powder Legal?
Gynostemma is legal to use even though the FDA has not confirmed the medicinal benefits of the herb. It is openly sold on a variety of websites online and in health food stores.
Gynostemma may be an effective treatment for some illnesses and diseases, but there are not enough studies to confirm its capabilities as a legitimate treatment. People who are interested in using Gynostemma should make sure that it is cultivated from a source that uses clean, fresh water and is free of pesticides to ensure the herb has maximum potency. Some sources in the United States grow Gynostemma near farms where the herb is exposed to polluted water and pesticides, which is not good for daily usage for people as recommended.
People who feel they should take Gynostemma as a supplement should do so under the guidance of a trained professional who knows the effects of the herb and should not avoid it simply because the FDA has not confirmed any of its medicinal benefits. The FDA has not confirmed the medicinal benefits of many herbal medicines, but as more people become accustomed to taking herbal supplements and noticing the positive effects these herbs have on their medical conditions, then eventually the FDA will take notice and start performing more research on these herbs.