Gynostemma (Gynostemma pentaphyllum)

jiaogulan Gynostemma herb

Gynostemma Overview:

Gynostemma is an ancient herb, but 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 living where it grew knew it well, 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 modify problematic 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

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Antidiabetic
  • Adaptogenic
  • Vasodilator
  • Hypotensive

Main Uses:

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


Daily Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:1

3-6 mL

Weekly Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:1

21-42 mL


Part Used

Gynostemma pentaphyllum

Family Name



Tropical regions of Southeast 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)

Botanical Info:

Gynostemma is a member of the Cucurbitaceae (squash family). This family contains around 965 species, and 95 different genera. Other members of this family of importance includes Laganaria (calabash gourds used for drinking Yerba Maté), Curcubita spp. (pumpkins, squashes, zucchini), and Cucumis spp. (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

Level Of 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.


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