Gynostemma has been found to increase superoxide dismutase (SOD), which is a powerful endogenous cellular antioxidant. They are an important in the defense of all cells that are exposed to oxygen, such as skin cells. Studies have found it also increases the activities of macrophages, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, and that it acts as a tumor inhibitor. Gynostemma has a number of saponin compounds that are similar to those found in Ginseng. But Ginseng only has 28 different saponins, whereas Gynostemma has 82. There are more than 11.000 listings in the PUBMED database on the benefits of Sapoins.
A study at Guiyang Medical College in China has shown that Gynostemma increased strength and endurance in the body.It is frequently used by bodybuilders because of its ability to induce the release of Nitric Oxide. Gynostemma is the perfect herb for anyone who wants to improve their competitive edge in any field of athletic performance.
Gynostemma is known as an adaptogen, which is an herb reputed to help the body to maintain optimal homeostasis. Adaptogen is a controversial concept in the mainstram medical community. Its chemical constituents include the triterpenoid saponins gypenosides which are closely structurally related to the ginsenosides which are present in ginseng. Most research has been done since the 1960s when the Chinese realized that it might be an inexpensive source of adaptogenic compounds, removing pressure from the ginseng stock. Adaptogenic effects include regulating blood pressure and the immune system, improving stamina and endurance. Gynostemma is also believed to be useful in combination with codonopsis for jet lag and altitude sickness.
The adaptogenic nature of gypenosides have been found to keep blood pressure in a normal range. In vitro studies indicate that Gynostemma stimulates the release of nitric oxide in isolated heart cells; this is one proposed mechanism by which Gynostemma reduces high blood pressure. In a double-blind study, gypenosides administered to those with Grade II hypertension showed 82% effectiveness in reducing hypertension, compared to 46% for ginseng and 93% for indapamide (a hypertension medication).
Animal studies as well as clinical testing on humans suggest that Gynostemma, when combined with other herbs, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular system, increasing heart stroke volume, coronary flow, and cardiac output while reducing the heart rate, without affecting arterial pressure.
Numerous clinical studies in Chinese medical literature have shown that Gynostemma lowers serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) while raising HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels, with reported effectiveness rates ranging from 67% to 93% on over 980 patients with hyperlipemia.
Gynostemma pentaphyllum tea has been studied in a randomized controlled trial in type 2 diabetic patients. It may have potential as a hypoglycemic treatment to reduce blood glucose.
Caution: Currently, there is not enough available evidence about the side effects of jiaogulan. Nonetheless, use cautiously in patients with hematologic (blood) conditions or taking anticoagulants or anti-platelet agents (blood thinners). Also, use cautiously in patients with diabetes as Gynostemma pentaphyllum may decrease insulin levels and insulin index scores. Jiaogulan is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.