Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Honestly, we have all imagined what it would be like to be immortal at some point. Well, immortality is not achieved with Jiaogulan, but in the Asian region people swear by the effect of Jiaogulan and attribute their higher life expectancy to "the herb of immortality".

In our Jiaogulan test 2021 we tell you all the necessary information about Jiaogulan. In this article you will learn something about the plant itself and also why Jiaogulan is said to have a healing effect.




The most important facts

  • Jiaogulan is also called the "herb of immortality" in Asia. It owes its name to a region in China where more people than usual reach old age. Another name for Jiaogulan is "five-finger ginseng".
  • Jiaogulan contains many important nutrients and vitamins in its leaves. The leaves taste sweet and are suitable for tea, salad or smoothie.
  • Jiaogulan has been used in traditional medicine in Asia for a long time, but on the European market there are still too few studies on its actual effects.

The Best Jiaogulan: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for Jiaogulan

When buying Jiaogulan, you can pay attention to various aspects such as:

By making the right choice for you, you can save money and also ensure that you are not giving your body anything it does not need. Therefore, always look for high quality and, if necessary, ask to see the manufacturer's certificates.

Quality standard

As always, the effect of alternative medicine depends on the quality of the product. You will have the greatest effect if your product contains only the leaves. These contain the most healthy ingredients.

It is worthwhile to buy and grow a Jiaogulan plant. This way you really know 100% what quality you are getting.

It is important to make sure that you do not buy inferior products. You can recognise this by the fact that the stems of the plant have been added to a large extent. These also contain the ingredients, but not nearly as much.

Cultivation

If you decide to grow Jiaogulan yourself, you do not have to be a professional gardener to succeed. The plant needs space to climb. With sufficient soil moisture, it also develops very well in sunny locations. It is important for Jiaogulan to have a fresh, humusy and nutritious soil.

This allows the plant to feed and grow well. Thanks to its winter-hardiness, the plant can be overwintered without any problems. However, the temperature should not fall below -15° Celsius.

When buying a processed product, make sure that the leaves have been harvested by hand. This promises a higher quality product.

When buying products such as tea leaves, capsules or powder, make sure that no pesticides or other chemical additives have been used in the cultivation process. Jiaogulan does not thrive optimally under artificial light and this can lead to a loss of nutrients.

Product content

If you use products and do not grow your own, it is especially important to take a closer look at the product content. As mentioned above, you can often get products where the stems have been used. In this case, the quality is not as high and the effect may not be as desired.

It is also important how old or fresh the harvest is. Young leaves contain the most ingredients and also taste better.

If the leaves are dried, some of the substances are lost and the taste changes from sweet to slightly bitter.

How to use it

Depending on what you use the plant for, there are different criteria you should consider. When buying a plant, for example, we would advise you to get a seal or a certificate showing that it has been grown without pesticides. This means that the quality is higher.

Some dealers in Germany get the mother plants directly from China and can tell you which region Jiaogulan comes from and how it is cultivated there.

If you buy capsules, the price is usually higher than for powder or dried tea leaves. On the other hand, they are quite practical to use in everyday life and require little effort. However, it is often difficult to understand exactly which part of the plant has been pressed into these capsules.

The powder is also quite practical to use, just like the capsules. But it has the advantage that it is cheaper than the capsule form. Here too, however, you often don't know what quality you are getting. Buying tea in Germany, or in Europe in general, is difficult at the moment, as Jiaogulan is not officially recognised as a foodstuff.

But you can get the tea on the internet without any problems. This does not make you liable to prosecution, but you do not get precise information on how to prepare it.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Jiaogulan

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of Jiaogulan and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.

What is Jiaogulan and how does it work?

Jiaogulan, in Latin "Gynostemma pentaphyllum", is native to East and Southeast Asia. It is a plant and belongs to the gourd family. Because of its leaf shape, Jiaogulan is often called "five-finger ginseng".

Also because the properties of ginseng are very similar to those of jiaogulan. Furthermore, Jiaogulan is often called the "herb of immortality" in the vernacular. The plant owes its nickname to a southern Chinese province called Guizhou. A lot of Jiaogulan tea is drunk there and the province has an above-average proportion of people over 100 years of age.

Jiaogulan is cultivated from Japan via Korea to Malaysia and India.

Due to the saponins, essential amino acids, vitamins and trace elements contained in the leaves of the plant, Jiaogulan is said to have some pharmacological effects. In the following we have listed and described the effects.

Antioxidant effect

Antioxidants stop free radicals and thus stop oxidative stress in the body. Antioxidants help our body to regenerate and ensure cell renewal. Especially polysaccharides show these antioxidant properties.

These polysaccharides are also ingredients that are present in Jiaogulan. According to a study, the polysaccharides contained help to stop free radicals. (3) Jiaogulan is even said to have a skin-rejuvenating effect. However, more studies are needed to be sure about this in the long term. (10)

Anti-carcinogenic

Because of its high content of saponins, Jiaogulan is said to have an anti-cancer effect. The Chinese study "Anti-cancer effects of gynostemma pentaphyllum" dealt with this connection and found positive effects against cancer both in vitro and in vivo. (1)

Another study proves that added gypenosides, which are contained in jiaogulan, can induce cell death in cancer cells. (2) But more studies, especially clinical studies, need to be conducted to substantiate this.

Adaptogen

With the help of Jiaogulan, our body's own balance can be regulated. Among other things, the hormone balance is regulated and blood pressure and blood sugar levels are also adjusted. (3)

Adaptogen means that plant substances help the organism to adapt to physical stress situations.

As an adaptogen, jiaogulan ensures that the body's natural resistance to disease is promoted. Here, too, further studies need to be conducted. Jiaogulan could also play a role as a treatment option for type 2 diabetes, obesity, fatty liver or immune diseases such as asthma. However, these areas of application still need to be investigated in more detail.

What ingredients does Jiaogulan contain?

Similar to ginseng, jiaogulan contains many important vitamins and nutrients in its leaves. We have listed the most important ingredients, which are:

  • Flavonoids
  • Saponins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Antioxidants
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Proteins

This variety of ingredients makes Jiaogulan so versatile. That is why Jiaogulan has been highly valued in Asian culture for years. For example, it has a calming effect on stress (8) or provides energy when you need it. Jiaogulan is also credited with lowering blood sugar levels (9), having a rejuvenating effect (4) and strengthening the immune system. (12)

Did you know that jiaogulan was only discovered because scientists were looking for alternative sugars? Then, as early as 1991 in Beijing, Jiaogulan was named one of the top 10 strengthening herbs. The use of Jiaogulan as a medicinal plant can even be traced back to the 15th century.

The effects of the ingredients have been investigated in various studies and summarised by the "International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences". (4)

How can I dose Jiaogulan?

With natural substances it is always difficult to find the right dosage. However, the remedy should be taken in moderation. In the following table we have given you an overview of how Jiaogulan can possibly be dosed for different areas of application.
Field of application dosage
Traditional Chinese medicine (tea) 3 - 9 g / day of dried leaves(15)
Diabetes type 2 (tea) 6 g / day (divided dose), drink 2 times 30 minutes before meals (14)
Obesity treatment period over 12 weeks with 225 mg 2 times a day, this study was conducted with 80 obese people who showed a significant improvement in the clinical picture after treatment(15)

This is only a rough overview of the dosages that were used in studies. However, more research needs to be done on this topic. In no case is this a guaranteed value and in any case a consultation with the doctor should take place beforehand.

What are the side effects of taking Jiaogulan?

There is currently no scientific evidence on the side effects of jiaogulan. However, it must be said that it is a natural herb and therefore the side effects are very low. Basically, there can be some risk with any remedy or medicine.

 Jiaogulan

No remedy rules out side effects 100%. There is always a certain risk that side effects will occur. (Image source: pixabay / nastya_gepp)

The only certainty one has at the moment is that jiaogulan is not toxic (11). The only side effects known so far include increased bowel movements and nausea. (13) However, these side effects are rare and did not occur in another study. (14) There are currently no study reports on the effect of jiaogulan in pregnant women. It is advisable to consult a doctor if the use of Jiaogulan is safe.

Why is Jiaogulan partly banned in Germany?

This is due to the "Novel Food Regulation". This was introduced in 2018 and is intended to protect the health of the consumer. In concrete terms, this means that there is still no reliable and sustainable evidence in Europe that jiaogulan is not harmful when consumed on a daily basis.
"Novel foods" are foods that were not consumed on a significant scale in the EU before 1997.

Jiaogulan is officially listed as a medicinal and spice plant by the German Federal Plant Variety Office, but it is not recognised as a food. Therefore, suppliers circumvent this ban and call the products "potpourri".

In addition, there are no instructions on the packaging on how to consume the product. In order for jiaogulan to be officially recognised, it has to be tested by means of numerous studies from the European region.

So far, there have only been studies from Asia. So you can see that this process is quite lengthy and very expensive, which means that official recognition is not to be expected any time soon.

Where does Jiaogulan grow?

The plant Jiaogulan originally grows in China, Korea, Malaysia, India and Japan. But in Central Europe, too, you have a good chance of planting one in your garden or on your balcony.
Jiaogulan does not need much to thrive.

A sunny, semi-shaded location that is sheltered is ideal for the plant. It works best if the humidity is also somewhat higher in the location. In addition, the plant needs a well-drained soil that is rich in humus, moderately moist and contains many nutrients. Jiaogulan can grow up to five metres high and three metres wide.

So you should plan enough space for cultivation.

What does Jiaogulan cost?

Jiaogulan comes in different price ranges depending on the type of product and the quality. We have compiled a rough overview of the average costs in the following table.
Product type unit price
Jiaogulan plant 4 - 10 euros
Jiaogulan tea (100 g) 10 - 24 euros
Jiaogulan capsules 13 - 22 euros
Jiaogulan powder(100 g) 10 - 15 euros

With Jiaogulan products, quality is the most important thing in order to achieve a good effect. Therefore, it can be somewhat more expensive than the average prices given here.

What types of Jiaogulan are there?

Basically, we can say that Jiaogulan differs in its dosage form. So you have the choice between liquid administration or dry administration.

  • Tea
  • Powder
  • Plant
  • Capsules

With the liquid form of administration, you are limited to the Jiaogulan tea. The advantages and disadvantages of the different forms of administration will be explained in more detail in the following paragraphs.

Jiaogulan tea

Depending on whether you use fresh or dried leaves for infusion, the taste of the tea is sweetish or slightly tart. Basically, however, both versions are suitable.

Jiaogulan

Thanks to the loose dried leaves, you can individually dose the strength of the tea. (Image source: unsplash / Sheelah Brennan)

Jiaogulan tea is the best-known form of administration. You should not pour boiling water over the leaves, but rather water at 90° Celsius. It is ready to drink after 5 minutes.

Advantages
  • Individual dosage
  • Available as organic tea
Disadvantages
  • No control over ingredients, as they are not listed on the packaging
  • Comparatively expensive if a lot of tea is drunk

The packaging is not in bags, but the leaves are filled in loosely. This allows you to dose the tea individually. All you need is a tea strainer, then nothing stands in the way of your drinking pleasure.

Jiaogulan powder

Similar to the capsules, the powder can also be integrated into everyday life. Stir a teaspoon into water and drink. The powder can also be used as a tea substitute.

Advantages
  • Practical in everyday life
  • storage pack for several months
  • good tea substitute
Disadvantages
  • No control over what is in it
  • Very expensive in the long run

Another advantage is that the powder often comes in a storage pack that lasts several months. This means you don't have to constantly worry about replenishing your supply. The disadvantage is that it becomes very expensive in the long run.

Jiaogulan plant

If you are blessed with a green thumb, you can safely grow a plant yourself. If you decide to buy a plant, you will not only have a decorative element in your garden or on your balcony, but you will also have an overview of the quality.

Advantages
  • Year-round harvest
  • Control over quality
  • Cheaper
Disadvantages
  • More effort

However, this also means more effort and year-round care. You should pay attention to when it is best to plant the plant and how to care for it properly so that you can harvest for a long time.

Jiaogulan capsules

If you do not want to take so much time in your daily life and do not have the possibility to brew fresh tea all the time, capsules are recommended. The prerequisite is, of course, that you do not have problems swallowing tablets. Capsules offer the advantage that a high dosage is possible. In addition, they hardly have any taste of their own because the contents are coated. In most cases you get 60 or 90 capsules per pack. This means you are ideally equipped for several months.

Advantages
  • Hardly any flavour of their own
  • stock pack
  • easy to use in everyday life
Disadvantages
  • Possibly not vegan
  • Only to be swallowed whole
  • No individual dosage

A possible disadvantage is that the capsules are not always vegan. However, many manufacturers usually state whether the thin coating is suitable for vegans or not. In addition, such capsules cannot be divided well. Individual dosage is therefore not possible.

How should Jiaogulan be prepared?

Jiaogulan can be prepared in different ways. The most common, or best known, form of preparation is Jiaogulan tea. But you can also add the leaves to a salad or make a smoothie. We have put together a table with the different ways of preparing the leaves.
Preparation method Preparation
Tea Take a heaped teaspoon of the leaves and infuse. The temperature should not exceed 90° Celsius. Then let the tea steep for about 5 minutes. This quantity is intended for 1/4 litre.
Salad You can simply add the leaves or make a delicious dressing with them. For example, with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, yoghurt and lime juice
Smoothie The leaves taste especially good in a smoothie if you add apples and bananas. Or you can mix them with walnuts, raspberries and flax seeds. You can vary here and there are no limits to your creativity.

These are just a few examples of how to prepare it. Jiaogulan leaves can also be cooked and prepared like spinach. Or you can eat them in the form of raw vegetables and simply put them on a butter or cream cheese sandwich.

What are the alternatives to Jiaogulan?

Long before Jiaogulan was discovered, ginseng was considered a health supplement in Asia. The root of ginseng has the shape of a human being and was said to strengthen all five organs (heart, lungs, spleen, kidney, liver).

Jiaogulan

Ginseng has similar ingredients with a similar mode of action as Jiaogulan and is also considered a miracle plant in traditional Chinese medicine. (Image source: pixabay / whaltns17)

In the Asian region, the root was therefore integrated into the diet. Above all, because regular consumption was expected to increase life expectancy.

The root and its 150 different ingredients have similar effects to those of Jiaogulan.

Today, ginseng is said to be a pick-me-up for cancer-related fatigue (6), to be effective against exhaustion and to help against stress (5).

However, there are not yet enough studies to prove this. Human root is also said to have antioxidant properties. A double-blind, randomised study could prove this effect. (7)

Image source: Bbtreesubmission/ 123rf.com

References (15)

1. Li Y, Lin W, Huang J, Xie Y, Ma W. Anti-cancer effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino (Jiaogulan). Chin Med. 2016;11:43. Published 2016 Sep 27. doi:10.1186/s13020-016-0114-9
Source

2. Chen J C, et al. Gypenosides induced apoptosis in human colon cancer cells through the mitochondria-dependent pathways and activation of caspase-3. Anticancer Res 2006; 26(6B):4313–4326
Source

3. Li K, Ma C, Li H, Dev S, He J, Qu X. Medicinal Value and Potential Therapeutic Mechanisms of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino and Its Derivatives: An Overview. Curr Top Med Chem. 2019;19(31):2855-2867. doi:10.2174/1568026619666191114104718
Source

4. Mishra, Ram & Joshi, Dharnidhar. (2020). Jiao Gu Lan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum): The Chinese Rasayan-Current Research Scenario.
Source

5. Bachmann C: Die Wirksamkeit und Sicherheit von Ginseng: Eine grosse Zahl von Studien zeigt verschiedene Anwendungsmöglichkeiten. Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2017;29:272–274 (DOI).
Source

6. Barton DL, Liu H, Dakhil SR, et al.: Wisconsin Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) to Improve Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial, N07C2. J Natl Cancer Inst 2013; 105(16): 1230–1238.
Source

7. Kim HG, Yoo SR, Park HJ, et al. Antioxidant effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer in healthy subjects: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011;49(9):2229-2235. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2011.06.020
Source

8. Choi EK, Won YH, Kim SY, et al. Supplementation with extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum leaves reduces anxiety in healthy subjects with chronic psychological stress: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2019;52:198-205. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2018.05.002
Source

9. Wang Z, Zhao X, Liu X, et al. Anti-diabetic activity evaluation of a polysaccharide extracted from Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Int J Biol Macromol. 2019;126:209-214. doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.12.231
Source

10. Phu HT, Thuan DTB, Nguyen THD, Posadino AM, Eid AH, Pintus G. Herbal Medicine for Slowing Aging and Aging-associated Conditions: Efficacy, Mechanisms and Safety. Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2020;18(4):369-393. doi:10.2174/1570161117666190715121939
Source

11. Choi HS, Park MS, Kim SH, Hwang BY, Lee CK, Lee MK. Neuroprotective effects of herbal ethanol extracts from Gynostemma pentaphyllum in the 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rat model of Parkinson's disease. Molecules. 2010;15(4):2814-2824. Published 2010 Apr 16. doi:10.3390/molecules15042814
Source

12. Yang X, Zhao Y, Yang Y, Ruan Y. Isolation and characterization of immunostimulatory polysaccharide from an herb tea, Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(16):6905-6909. doi:10.1021/jf801101u
Source

13. Chen Z, Su H. Progress in the research on the pharmacology of Gynostemma pentaphyllum [in Chinese]. Zhong Yao Cai. 1989;12(6):42–44.
Source

14. Huyen VT, Phan DV, Thang P, Hoa NK, Ostenson CG. Antidiabetic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum tea in randomly assigned type 2 diabetic patients. Horm Metab Res. 2010;42(5):353-357. doi:10.1055/s-0030-1248298
Source

15. Park SH, Huh TL, Kim SY, et al. Erratum: Antiobesity effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract (actiponin): A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.). 2015 Dec;23(12):2520. DOI: 10.1002/oby.21362.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftliche Studie
Li Y, Lin W, Huang J, Xie Y, Ma W. Anti-cancer effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino (Jiaogulan). Chin Med. 2016;11:43. Published 2016 Sep 27. doi:10.1186/s13020-016-0114-9
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Chen J C, et al. Gypenosides induced apoptosis in human colon cancer cells through the mitochondria-dependent pathways and activation of caspase-3. Anticancer Res 2006; 26(6B):4313–4326
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Li K, Ma C, Li H, Dev S, He J, Qu X. Medicinal Value and Potential Therapeutic Mechanisms of Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino and Its Derivatives: An Overview. Curr Top Med Chem. 2019;19(31):2855-2867. doi:10.2174/1568026619666191114104718
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Mishra, Ram & Joshi, Dharnidhar. (2020). Jiao Gu Lan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum): The Chinese Rasayan-Current Research Scenario.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Bachmann C: Die Wirksamkeit und Sicherheit von Ginseng: Eine grosse Zahl von Studien zeigt verschiedene Anwendungsmöglichkeiten. Schweiz Z Ganzheitsmed 2017;29:272–274 (DOI).
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Barton DL, Liu H, Dakhil SR, et al.: Wisconsin Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) to Improve Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial, N07C2. J Natl Cancer Inst 2013; 105(16): 1230–1238.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Kim HG, Yoo SR, Park HJ, et al. Antioxidant effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer in healthy subjects: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011;49(9):2229-2235. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2011.06.020
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Choi EK, Won YH, Kim SY, et al. Supplementation with extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum leaves reduces anxiety in healthy subjects with chronic psychological stress: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2019;52:198-205. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2018.05.002
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Wang Z, Zhao X, Liu X, et al. Anti-diabetic activity evaluation of a polysaccharide extracted from Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Int J Biol Macromol. 2019;126:209-214. doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.12.231
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Phu HT, Thuan DTB, Nguyen THD, Posadino AM, Eid AH, Pintus G. Herbal Medicine for Slowing Aging and Aging-associated Conditions: Efficacy, Mechanisms and Safety. Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2020;18(4):369-393. doi:10.2174/1570161117666190715121939
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Choi HS, Park MS, Kim SH, Hwang BY, Lee CK, Lee MK. Neuroprotective effects of herbal ethanol extracts from Gynostemma pentaphyllum in the 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rat model of Parkinson's disease. Molecules. 2010;15(4):2814-2824. Published 2010 Apr 16. doi:10.3390/molecules15042814
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Yang X, Zhao Y, Yang Y, Ruan Y. Isolation and characterization of immunostimulatory polysaccharide from an herb tea, Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(16):6905-6909. doi:10.1021/jf801101u
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Chen Z, Su H. Progress in the research on the pharmacology of Gynostemma pentaphyllum [in Chinese]. Zhong Yao Cai. 1989;12(6):42–44.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Huyen VT, Phan DV, Thang P, Hoa NK, Ostenson CG. Antidiabetic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum tea in randomly assigned type 2 diabetic patients. Horm Metab Res. 2010;42(5):353-357. doi:10.1055/s-0030-1248298
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Park SH, Huh TL, Kim SY, et al. Erratum: Antiobesity effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract (actiponin): A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.). 2015 Dec;23(12):2520. DOI: 10.1002/oby.21362.
Go to source
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