Top 6 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 RDr. Nisha R, MBBS, MD DVL
By Amita MishraAmita Mishra  • 

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 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.

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.

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  XSwelling 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 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  XLow 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



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



Rat studies have shown that jiaogulan can have anti-hyperlipidemic effectsi  XIt 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  XA 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



This herb is known to be effective against many respiratory issues, like cough, chronic bronchitisi  XA 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.

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.

Stylecraze Says
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


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 (9).

  • 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.

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 properties. It is replete with beneficial antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Jiaogulan’s benefits include better heart health, stress relief, and better sleep. 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. 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.


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