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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dr. Saleeby contributes to Wikipedia - Gynostemma pentaphyllum

Gynostemma pentaphyllum

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Gynostemma pentaphyllum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Subfamily: Zanonioideae
Subtribe: Gomphogyninae
Genus: Gynostemma
Species: G. pentaphyllum
Binomial name
Gynostemma pentaphyllum
(Thunb.) Makino 1902
Baby jiaogulan plants
Gynostemma pentaphyllum, also called jiaogulan (Chinese: ; pinyin: jiǎogǔlán, literally "twisting-vine-orchid") is an herbaceous vine of the family Cucurbitaceae (cucumber or gourd family) indigenous to the southern reaches of China, southern Korea and Japan. Jiaogulan is best known as an herbal medicine reputed to have powerful antioxidant and adaptogenic effects that increase longevity.




Jiaogulan is a vine hardy to USDA zone 8 in which it may grow as a short lived perennial plant. It can be grown as an annual in most temperate climates, in well-drained soil with full sun. The plant is dioecious, meaning each plant exists either as male or female. Thus, if seeds are desired, both a male and female plant must be grown. Unlike most plants of the Cucurbitaceae family, jiaogulan does not show toxicity.[1],[2]



The plant is best known for its use as an herbal medicine in traditional Chinese medicine. A botany book by Wu Qi-Jun from 1848 Zhi Wu Ming Shi Tu Kao Chang Bian discusses a few medicinal uses and seems to be the earliest known documentation of the herb. Jiaogulan had been cited previously as a survival food in Zu Xio's 1406 book Materia Medica for Famine. Until recently it was a locally known herb used primarily in regions of southern China. It is described by the local inhabitants as the "immortality herb", because people within Guizhou Province, where jiaogulan tea is drunk regularly, are said have a history of living to a very old age.[3][4]
Jiaogulan is most often consumed as an herbal tea, and is also available as an alcohol extract and in capsule or pill form.[5] It is known as an adaptogen and antioxidant that has been found effective in regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and improving endurance.[6] Because of its adaptogenic effects, it is frequently referred to as "Southern Ginseng," although it is not closely related to true Panax ginseng. Its chemical constituents include the triterpenoid saponins gypenosides which are closely structurally related to the ginsenosides from the well-known medicinal plant ginseng.[7] Jiaogulan is also believed to have calming effects and to be useful in combination with codonopsis for jet lag and altitude sickness.[4] Most research has been done since the 1960s when the Chinese realized that it might be an inexpensive source of adaptogenic compounds, taking pressure off of the ginseng stock. Gynostemma pentaphyllum tea, has been used in a Randomized Controlled Trial to treat type 2 diabetic patients.[8] It has been shown to be hypoglycemic[9]

Alternate names

Western languages such as English and German commonly refer to the plant as jiaogulan. Other names include:[10]
  • Chinese: xiancao (, literally "immortal grass"; more accurately "herb of immortality")
  • English: five-leaf ginseng, poor man's ginseng, miracle grass, fairy herb, sweet tea vine, gospel herb, Southern Ginseng
  • Japanese: amachazuru (kanji: ; hiragana: あまちゃずる; literally 甘いamai=sweet, tasty 茶 cha=tea, 蔓 zuru=vine, creeping plant)
  • Korean language: dungkulcha (덩굴차) or dolwe (돌외)
  • Latin: Gynostemma pentaphyllum or Vitis pentaphyllum
  • Taiwanese: sencauw
  • Thai: jiaogulan (เจียวกู่หลาน)
  • Vietnamese: giảo cổ lam
  • Portuguese: cipó-doce
Jiaogulan tea is also marketed in the United States under the trade names Panta tea or Penta tea, depending on the supplier.


  1. ^ Chronic toxicity of Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Attawish A. Chivapat S. Phadungpat S. Bansiddhi J. Techadamrongsin Y. Mitrijit O. Chaorai B. Chavalittumrong P. Fitoterapia. 75(6):539-51, 2004 Sep.
  2. ^ Neuroprotective effects of herbal ethanol extracts from Gynostemma pentaphyllum in the 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rat model of Parkinson's disease. Choi HS. Park MS. Kim SH. Hwang BY. Lee CK. Lee MK. Molecules. 15(4):2814-24, 2010.
  3. ^ Winston, David; Steven Maimes (April 2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Healing Arts Press. ISBN 978-1594771583.  Contains a detailed herbal monograph on jiaogulan and highlights health benefits.
  4. ^ a b Bensky, Dan; Andrew Gamble, Steven Clavey, Erich Stöger (September 2004). Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica, 3rd Edition. Eastland Press. ISBN 978-0939616428. 
  5. ^ Blumert, Michael; Jialiu Liu (2003). Jiaogulan: China's "Immortality" Herb. Badger, CA: Torchlight Publishing. pp. 66–70. ISBN 1-887089-16-0. 
  6. ^ "Complete Jiaogulan information from". 
  7. ^ Histochemical localization of ginsenosides in Gynostemma pentaphyllum and the content changes of total gypenosides]. [Chinese] Liu SB. Lin R. Hu ZH. Shih Yen Sheng Wu Hsueh Pao: Journal of Experimental Biology:. 38(1):54-60, 2005 Feb.
  8. ^ Antidiabetic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum tea in randomly assigned type 2 diabetic patients. Huyen VT. Phan DV. Thang P. Hoa NK. Ostenson CG. Hormone & Metabolic Research. 42(5):353-7, 2010 May.
  9. ^ Screening of the hypoglycemic effect of eight Vietnamese herbal drugs. Hoa NK. Phan DV. Thuan ND. Ostenson CG. Methods & Findings in Experimental & Clinical Pharmacology. 31(3):165-9, 2009 Apr. UI: 19536359
  10. ^ "Other Names for Jiaogulan". Immoralitea. 2005. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  • Saleeby, J.P., Keefer, A., "Wonder Herbs: A guide to three adaptogens", Xlibris, 2006. Entire chapter devoted to G. pentaphyllum.

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