Gynostemma (Gynostemma pentaphyllum)

jiaogulan Gynostemma herb

Gynostemma Summary

Gynostemma is an ancient herb that's remained out of the public eye for most of human history.

This is because it mainly grew in the high mountains of China. The locals that lived in its growth range, and it was a highly revered herb for its spectrum of health-promoting benefits. However, it wasn't until the 1400's that it started to attain its celebrity status amongst herbalists.

Its Chinese name, Xiancao, translates to "immortality herb."

There are many benefits of the mighty gynostemma, but perhaps its strongest asset is its ability to interact with insulin and blood sugar levels.

Recent studies have shown that gynostemma exerts a lot of its benefits by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin, making it more effective at keeping blood sugar levels at optimal levels.

This is important because the source of a lot of our cardiovascular problems is rooted in dysfunctional blood sugar metabolism.

By allowing insulin to do its job more effectively, gynostemma can prevent or slow the resulting inflammation, and high cholesterol that eventually follows.

It has a high saponin content, several of which are shared with other tonic herbs like Panax ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, and Panax notoginseng.


+ Indications

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • To promote weight loss
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Insomnia
  • Psoriasis
  • Hangovers
  • Headaches & Migrains
  • Fatigue

+ Contraindications

  • None noted

Herbal Actions:

  • Antidiabetic
  • Adaptogenic
  • Vasodilator
  • Hypotensive

What is Gynostemma Used For?

Gynostemma is mainly used as an adaptogen, and for regulating blood glucose levels. It's most often constumed in the form of tea.


Herb Details: Gynostemma

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Leaves

Family Name

  • Curcubitaceae


  • Tropical regions of outheast Asia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Japan

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Constituents of Interest

  • Gypenosides (Saponins)
  • Flavonoids
  • Gypensapogenin A-D
  • Gylongiposide I
  • Gypenosides GC1 to GC7

Common Names

  • Gynostemma
  • Immortality herb
  • Southern Ginseng
  • Jiaogulan (Vietnam)
  • Xiancao (China)


No adveersee reeactions expected.

Duration of Use

  • Avoid long-term use in therapeutic doses.

Botanical Information

Gynostemma is a member of the Cucurbitaceae (squash family). This family contains around 965 species and 95 different genera.

Other members of the squash family that are of significance includes Lagenaria (calabash gourds used for drinking Yerba Maté), pumpkins, squashes, zucchini, and cucumber.

The Gynostemma genus contains around 19 different species, all native to the tropical Southeast including China, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and the Himalayas.


Research Overview:

Still compiling research


Clinical Applications Of Gynostemma:

Gynostemma has many uses due to its adaptogenic and relaxing qualities. Conditions including diabetes or metabolic syndrome, sleep maintenance insomnia, hyperactivity, debility, and obesity can all benefit from Gynostemma.



No drug interactions have been noted. However, it has not gone through formal testing in this area, so caution is advised when using Gynostemma, especially in combination with drugs known to be sensitive to changes in CYP liver enzyme metabolism.



  1. Withania somnifera, Eleutherococcus senticosus, or Rhodiola rosea for fatigue and low energy
  2. Gymnema for blood glucose dysregulation.
  3. Glycyrrhiza glabra and Rehmannia glutinosa for stress management.
  4. Echinacea spp., Astragalus membranaceus, and Eleutherococcus senticosus for poor immune function.


Justin Cooke, BHSc

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated May 2019)


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