Top 7 Benefits Of Jiaogulan For Health And Its Side Effects

This medicinal herb benefits your health in more ways than you think.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Nisha R, MBBS, MD DVL Dr. Nisha R Dr. Nisha RMBBS, MD DVL facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Certified Sports Nutritionist & Qualified Yoga Instructor Amita Mishra Certified Sports Nutritionist & Qualified Yoga Instructor linkedin_icon Experience: 6 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Sindhu Koganti BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 6 years
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Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is an herb originating from Guizhou, a mountainous province of Southwest China. This Chinese herb is also known as the immortality herb and is used to prepare herbal infusions (tea). Jiaogulan benefits your health by enhancing endurance and treating many other conditions.

In addition, it has been incorporated into traditional and herbal medicine, and the people of Guizhou believe that this herb extends their life span. This article explores the other health benefits of jiaogulan. Keep reading.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Jiaogulan

What Is It?
A herbaceous vine, also known as Southern Ginseng, used as a traditional Chinese herb.

What Are Its Benefits?
Helps manage high cholesterol, diabetes, liver disease, and obesity.

Who Can Use It?
It can be consumed by anyone who wants to improve their health.

How Often?
It can be taken daily for a short period of time. However, consult your healthcare provider on the recommended dose.

The most common side effects are diarrhea and nausea. It can also interfere with the immune system and sometimes cause blood clotting.

What Is Jiaogulan?

Jiaogulan (also called five-leaf ginseng, southern ginseng, and sweet tea vine) belongs to the family of cucumbers and gourds. This plant is not fruit-bearing, though. It is a climbing vine, and its leaves are used to make tea. It grows widely in the southern regions of China, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea.

Jiaogulan contains saponins, which give the herb its antioxidant and adaptogenic properties, along with the capacity to regulate nitric oxide in the body.

The herb is thought to relieve many other conditions like cough, cold, and respiratory issues like bronchitis.

It has been classified as an adaptogen as it is believed to help the body without causing harm. The Chinese consider this herb immortal and believe that it can help in relieving stress and promoting cardiovascular health.

protip_icon Did You Know?
The earliest reference to jiaogulan as a medicinal herb exists in the Compendium of Materia Medica, a book by Li Shi-Zhen that dates back to 1578. Renowned herbalist Li Shi-Zen used jiaogulan to treat ulcers and edemai  Swelling or puffiness caused when the capillaries leak fluid and build up in the body’s tissues. .

In the following section, we will look at the health benefits of jiaogulan in detail.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Jiaogulan?

1. May Aid Diabetes Treatment

Jiaogulan may aid diabetes treatment
Image: Shutterstock

Jiaogulan helps lower blood glucose levels and may aid diabetes treatment. Studies show that it can lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity.

The herb stimulates the pancreas, producing more insulin and improving sugar metabolism. This herb, by itself, does not cause hypoglycemiai  Low blood sugar than normal. It is a common side effect of diabetes treatment and can be easily treated by consuming high-sugar foods. ; it only reduces the blood sugar levels if they are high. The damage that usually occurs to the liver, kidneys, and the cardiovascular system from diabetes has been shown to be significantly reduced by consuming the herb (1).

2. May Help Combat Obesity

Image: Shutterstock

Jiaogulan has been identified as a potent anti-obesity agent with no adverse effects. In a study involving 80 obese participants, half of them took the herb, while the other half was on placebo. The results showed a significant decrease in total abdominal fat area, body weight, body fat mass, and BMI in those who took the herb (2).

3. Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels

Image: Shutterstock

Rat studies have shown that jiaogulan can have anti-hyperlipidemic effectsi  It refers to the effects of reducing high levels of lipids (fats) in the body, which also helps reduce cholesterol. (3). The herb was used even in traditional Chinese medicine for treating elevated cholesterol levels.

In another study, the herb was also found to lower triglyceridei  A naturally occurring fat that gives you energy and is stored in the blood. It is also available in the foods you eat. levels. In addition, it also had increased the levels of good cholesterol (4).

4. May Help Relieve Stress

Jiaogulan is a calming adaptogen and is useful for relieving anxiety and stress (5).

Other studies also show that this herb can help individuals undergoing chronic psychological stress (6).

5. Can Help Treat Insomnia

The adaptogenic properties of jiaogulan may help treat insomnia. Studies show that adaptogens can help relieve pain and inflammation, which could be factors keeping someone awake at night. By relieving pain and inflammation, jiaogulan may help promote better sleep (7).

6. Can Help Treat Respiratory Disorders

Image: Shutterstock

This herb is known to be effective against many respiratory issues, like cough, chronic bronchitisi  A condition in which the lining of the bronchial tubes fills up with mucus, causing shortness of breath and coughing. , and inflammation of the trachea. The herb’s expectorant properties help achieve this (8).

Jiaogulan is also said to help with back pain, chronic pain, constipation, and high blood pressure. There is no significant evidence related to these conditions, though.

7. May Help Ease Anxiety

Jiaogulan consumption may help boost mood by alleviating signs of anxiety. A recent study explored the effects of jiaogulan leaf extract on mood and anxiety in healthy adults who perceived chronic stress and anxiety. Researchers observed that the extract could notably reduce anxiety scores by 16.8% compared to the placebo, indicating a decrease in anxiety proneness. The study also observed no adverse reactions associated with its intake (9).

Thus, these findings suggest that jiaogulan leaf extract may be a safe supplement for reducing stress and anxiety in the short term. However, additional research is needed to assess its long-term efficacy and safety.

Jiaogulan is a popular herb that is being heavily researched on. Some feel it could be similar to ginseng. But both are different in their own ways.

Ginseng is often used to treat insomnia, stress, and cases of flu. It is also used for improving endurance, physical strength, and stamina. Though ginseng and jiaogulan do help relieve similar symptoms, the compounds present in them are not identical.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can mix jiaogulan tea with other teas like jasmine tea. Additionally, you can add mint leaves or lemon juice to enhance the flavor of the tea.

Jiaogulan sure has wonderful benefits, but it may also cause certain potential adverse effects. We will look at them in the next section.

What Are The Side Effects Of Jiaogulan?

  • May Stimulate The Immune System
Image: Shutterstock

Jiaogulan may stimulate the immune system. Hence, it must not be taken with drugs that suppress the immune system as the herb can potentially make them less effective (10).

  • May Cause Nausea

Jiaogulan was found to cause nausea and increased bowel movement in a few people.

  • May Increase Bleeding

Some sources say that jiaogulan may inhibit blood clotting. This can increase bleeding in susceptible individuals. However, there is less research to support this fact. To be on the safe side, please avoid taking this herb if you are at risk of bleeding or are about to undergo a surgery.

Jiaogulan supplements have not been tested for their safety, and their sales are often unregulated. The products may also be contaminated with other metals. The safety of these supplements has not been established for those with medical conditions, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children.

protip_icon Fun Fact
Due to its bittersweet flavor, jiaogulan is used as a natural sweetener in Japan.

Infographic: Benefits Of Jiaogulan

Jiaogulan, also known as the miracle plant or Southern ginseng, offers an array of benefits. It is also termed an immortality herb. This Chinese herb has been included in traditional medicine recently.

The following infographic provides information about the benefits of Jiaogulan. Check it out!

benefits of jiaogulan (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Jiaogulan is a nutritious Asian herb renowned for its adaptogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is replete with beneficial antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Jiaogulan’s benefits include better heart health, stress relief, better sleep, and cancer prevention (11). It may also help manage diabetes and weight loss. You can enjoy its benefits by infusing jiaogulan in hot water to make tea. However, excess consumption can lead to a few side effects. It may interact with blood thinners, interfere with blood clotting, or cause nausea. If you experience any adverse effects, limit its use and seek medical advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Jiaogulan give you energy?

The Chinese believe drinking Jiaogulan tea helps improve energy and promotes longevity. However, there is not enough evidence to support this claim.

What is another name for Jiaogulan?

Jiaogulan is also known as “Southern Ginseng” or “miracle plant”.

How long does Jiaogulan take to work?

Jiaogulan may take 4 to 8 weeks to work.

How do you dry Jiaogulan leaves?

Cut the plant into 3- to 5-inch pieces. Place these inside a food dehydrator or spread on screens in an area protected from rain. Leave them there until they are crisp and completely dry. You can later store them in a glass jar in a cool dim place.

Key Takeaways

  • Jiaogulan, also known as southern ginseng, is a herb native to southern parts of China that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat various ailments.
  • This herbs aids weight loss, reduces glucose and cholesterol levels, and helps treat respiratory conditions.
  • However, jiaogulan should not be taken before surgery as it may increase the risk of bleeding in susceptible individuals.
jiaogulan benefits

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Discover the amazing benefits of Jiaogulan tea in this video. From boosting immunity to promoting heart health, explore the natural wonders of this herbal tea. Watch the video and embrace the power of Jiaogulan for a healthier you!


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Gynostemma pentaphyllum Tea Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetic Patients, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  2. Antiobesity effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract (actiponin): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Obesity, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  3. Anti-hyperlipidemic and hypoglycemic effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum in the Zucker fatty rat, Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  4. Phytopreventative anti-hyperlipidemic effects of gynostemma pentaphyllum in rats, Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  5. Adaptogens: Herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief, Academia.
  6. Supplementation with extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum leaves reduces anxiety in healthy subjects with chronic psychological stress: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, Phytomedicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  7. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide, Chinese Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  8. Effects of Polysaccharides from Gynostemma Pentaphyllum (Thunb.), Makino on Physical Fatigue, African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  9. Supplementation with extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum leaves reduces anxiety in healthy subjects with chronic psychological stress: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial Phytomedicine US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  10. Immunomodulatory and Antioxidant Effects of Polysaccharides from Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino in Immunosuppressed Mice Molecules US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  11. Anti-cancer effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino (Jiaogulan)
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Dr. Nisha R
Dr. Nisha is a clinical dermatologist and aesthetic physician with 7 years of experience. She completed her MBBS at Chettinad Hospital & Research Institute and earned her master's degree from Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education & Research.

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Amita Mishra
Amita MishraCertified Sports Nutritionist and Qualified Yoga Instructor
Amita is a qualified yoga instructor, a Certified Sports Nutritionist, and a Zumba lover. She has completed her master's in Food Science and Nutrition from Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University and has 6 years of experience.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla
Ravi Teja TadimallaSenior Editor
Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a senior editor and a published author. He has been in the digital media field for over eight years. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University.

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Sindhu Koganti
Sindhu KogantiSenior Health & Wellness Writer
Sindhu Koganti is a Certified Health and Nutrition Life Coach and has over 6 years of experience in writing on health and wellness topics. She has a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, and a diploma in nutrition from Fab Academy.

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