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What is Jiaogulan?

May 21, 2018

What is Jiaogulan?

Jiaogulan (Je-OW-goo-län) is a powerful super herb that has been used for centuries in Asia for its healing properties. Known widely across the continent, it has been praised in a similar way to ginseng but even more so. In a region where ginseng is so revered, this says a lot about how powerful Jiaogulan truly is.

Jiaogulan is finally reaching the mainstream in the western world and is quickly gaining popularity with good reason.

It’s list of therapeutic benefits seems to never end, and it’s safe to say that Jiaogulan is one of the healthiest plants on the planet for the human body. Both research and history support that statement, and this delicious herb is poised to be the next big thing in terms of superfoods and optimal health.

But where did it come from?

It’s Origins - What is Jiaogulan?

what-is-jiaogulan-southeast-asia-greenThe plant is native to Southeast Asia in particular where it has been consumed on a daily basis for hundreds of years as a health beverage. Traditionally prepared as a tea, Jiaogulan has acted as a way to naturally prolong life for this region’s inhabitants.

They would drink Jiaogulan tea before and after work because of the wide variety of health benefits they knew this plant contained. Doing so would help them increase endurance and strength, and it would also reduce fatigue at the same time. As a result, they were able to perform tasks more efficiently and maintain high levels of energy throughout the day.

Therefore, to answer the question “what is Jiaogulan?” with a simple answer would not suffice to describe it. It’s a superfood herb with a long list of health benefits. It can be made into a delicious tea or taken in capsule form. And it also has one of the most interesting backstories.

An Immortal Brew

Jiaogulan was known by the people of Southern China to promote optimal health, treat common colds, and prevent other diseases. They saw it as a rejuvenating elixir that was so effective in promoting wellness in the human body that they began to call it “The Herb of Immortality.” (1)

In addition, there were pockets of people in this region of the world who were regularly living to 100 years of age. While the fresh mountain air and a natural lifestyle (without all of the toxins of industrial societies) no doubt contributed to this impressive life-expectancy, there was another important trait that these people shared.

They all drank Jiaogulan tea instead of the much more common green tea. As you can imagine, this was one of the main reasons Jiaogulan became known as The Herb of Immortality.

Now while this herb probably won’t transform you into an immortal being, it can help you naturally extend your life if consumed on a regular basis. In addition, it can help you enjoy a more fulfilled life while you are alive.

Stress Relief and Life Extension

When answering the question “what is Jiaogulan?” it is impossible not to mention stress relief and life extension. Jiaogulan helps many of our body’s systems operate properly. Some of these systems include our blood pressure, the reproductive system, immune system, nervous system, endocrine system, and our mental functions. (2)

what-is-jiaogulan-stress-relief-and-life-extensionWhen our bodily systems are fully supported and functioning optimally, we are much more likely to live a long and healthy life. Not only that, but when things are in balance, we feel great about being alive! I can imagine that you don’t just want to live a long also want to feel energized and healthy for your entire life. Jiaogulan helps us naturally achieve both.

Another important part of living a long and fulfilled life that we talk about a lot here at Aum Tea is making sure that you have low levels of stress in your life. Stress truly is a killer; It shortens your life, and it also decreases your level of happiness while you are still alive.

Jiaogulan is highly effective in calming your mind and any mental irritations that you might experience due to stress in your life. It does so by balancing and normalizing your brain activity as well as your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. (2) It's abilities are largely due to the fact that it's an adaptogenic super herb with powerful antioxidant properties.

Jiaogulan’s Adaptogenic Properties

Jiaogulan belongs to a special family of plants called adaptogens. And it just so happens to be one of the most powerful adaptogenic herbs in the world. We have an entire article on adaptogens, but to put it simply here, adaptogens help the human body adjust to any stress that it experiences.

They help restore balance within your body. Jiaogulan increases blood supply to various internal organs through enhanced cardiac output. As a result, Jiaogulan directly nourishes your internal organs and help them function optimally.

In addition, as briefly mentioned above, it stabilizes and normalizes any over-irritated brain and sympathetic nerves. (3) Jiaogulan helps regulate your entire neuro-endocrine system, allowing you to naturally lower the amount of stress in your life.

Therefore, by drinking Jiaogulan on a regular basis, we can naturally strengthen our immune systems, increase our energy, and counteract the negative effects of stress on our mind and body.

Life can be unpredictable, and we are bombarded with stressors from many directions on a daily basis. In a world where stress is the norm, adaptogenic herbs like Jiaogulan may be seen as saviors. They allow your body to naturally adapt to and correct processes that may otherwise be damaging your overall health, especially in the long term.

Jiaogulan is an Antioxidant

Jiaogulan also has important antioxidant properties. Most people know the term antioxidant and have probably heard the term used many times before. But how many people know what they are or why they are important for the human body?

To put it simply, antioxidants are substances that search for free radicals in the human body and disable them. Because free radicals are very toxic, antioxidants are very important for the human body.

Free radicals have been associated with the progression of a number of (life-threatening) diseases and with the process of aging. (4) When unnatural stressors such as pollution, pesticides, smoke, etc. are present in the environment, free radicals in the human body increase substantially.

Experimental and clinical studies have shown that Jiaogulan strengthens the antioxidant defenses of the body in scavenging free radicals, which is conducive to the prevention and treatment of various diseases. (5)

One of the body's most important antioxidants is called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). It not only repairs cells in your body, but it also makes every cell stronger, allowing you to better avoid disease and to slow down the aging process. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory effects in your body and supports your immune system.

Research has shown that Jiaogulan increases SOD in the human body. By doing so, it becomes a valuable teammate in the battle against free radicals. (6) Therefore, when answering the question "what is Jiaogulan?" you can see that it is so much more than just a plant.

Interesting fact: Jiaogulan is also commonly known by its scientific name, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum. It is also referred to by a variety of other names depending on what part of the world you are in. Some of these names include: xiancao, amachazuru, and dungkulcha.

Scientific Discovery of Jiaogulan

As you can imagine, when scientists caught wind of this super herb adaptogen that was helping people in the mountains prevent and treat disease, increase energy and reduce fatigue, and naturally extend their lives to over 100 years of age, they began to enthusiastically study it. As soon as they did, they started uncovering the incredible potential of this plant.

They discovered that Jiaogulan was not only a powerful adaptogen and antioxidant, but also that it contained important trace minerals, amino acids, proteins, and vitamins. (7) It was not until the early 1970s that the scientific community discovered Jiaogulan. However, when it did reach the scientific field, it quickly became recognized as medicine in China.

Major Findings in Japan

In Japan, a researcher named Dr. Takemoto heard reports of Jiaogulan (called Amachazuru in Japan) and its amazing healing properties. As a result, he began to rigorously analyze the plant. His research was pioneering, and it demonstrated Jiaogulan’s many health-supporting and medicinal properties.

Ginseng was already well known in the region as a root with powerful healing effects on the human body. Saponins are the main active ingredients in ginseng that give it such healing properties. Dr. Takemoto studied Jiaogulan over the next 10 years and discovered that it contains 82 saponins (at least).

Ginseng only contains up to 28 saponins, which that means that Jiaogulan has 54 more saponins than ginseng does! (8)

Interesting fact: Jiaogulan literally translates to “twisting vine orchid” because of its appearance. (7) It is a green, leafy herb and is a member of the same family as the cucumber. The leaves are the most potent parts used for medicinal purposes.

Further Research on Jiaogulan

We are only scratching the surface here in terms of research. Since the 1970s, countless studies have been conducted that show the powerful healing effects of this sweet-tasting herb. We will be writing additional articles that share much more detailed information about the health benefits of Jiaogulan, the uses of Jiaogulan, the side-effects of Jiaogulan, and so on.

If you have any specific requests or questions, always feel free to send us a message. And if you want to learn other ways to reduce stress in your life and to live a long, vibrant life, then enter your details at the bottom of this page and join the Aum Tea Family.



  1. Jiaogulan: China’s ‘Immortality’ Herb: p. 22
  2. Jiaogulan: China’s ‘Immortality’ Herb: p. 15
  3. Jiaogulan: China’s ‘Immortality’ Herb: p. 13
  6. Jiaogulan: China’s ‘Immortality’ Herb: p. 16
  7. Jiaogulan: China’s ‘Immortality’ Herb: p. 12
  8. Jiaogulan: China’s ‘Immortality’ Herb: p. 25

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