Among the many compelling studies done on jiaogulan, there’s one that shows that jiaogulan can actually enhance athletes’ endurance and physical performance. Now calling myself an “athlete” would be a bit too generous, but I’ll go ahead and say that I’m “athletically inclined”.
I like to work out, exercise, and shoot hoops as much as I can. (Before I know it I’ll be replacing the hardwood of basketball for the back-nines of golf courses, but that’s another story!)
What these studies demonstrated, more or less, was that the gypenosides found in jiaogulan enhanced the pumping function of the heart. Athletes were found to have better endurance and quicker recovery as a result.
My first response to this was, “Would the Olympic committee classify jiaogulan as an illegal performance-enhancer?” I personally think Lance Armstrong would’ve had better luck if he’d stuck with the gypenosides, but I digress.
I wanted to do my own field tests with jiaogulan and see if I noticed any difference. So the last couple times I played basketball with my friends, I drank a cup of jiaogulan before heading out to the court.
Basketball is a game of tremendous exertion, and the quick, explosive movements and constant motion put a high degree of stress on the body. What better way to test jiaogulan’s efficacy as a “pure” performance-enhancer?
OK, here’s what I would like to say: Jiaogulan increased my vertical, rocketed my quickness, transformed my conditioning and allowed me to slam-dunk on my friends multiple times like I’ve always dreamed of doing. But, as I’m sure you can deduce, this is NOT what happened. (Not exactly, anyway.)
What I did notice was that the feeling I had on the court was pleasantly alert; in other words, it didn’t feel unnatural to be engaging in a sport at that moment, as it might’ve after a cup of earl gray, for example. My body felt very present with the game, dialed-in and alert.
This field test would be a lot more ideal if I was in peak condition aerobically, which currently I’d say I’m not. Maybe I’d see a greater difference at a more elite level of conditioning. Even so, I think jiaogulan is an excellent pre-workout drink.
My legs are usually very sore after playing basketball competitively, especially as I’ve aged, but in the times I’ve dosed jiaogulan I’ve observed that my legs feel almost completely normal the next day. It might not be mind-blowing, but I do find it mildly amazing.
Shifting gears for a moment, I’ve been continuing to experiment with different tea combinations to mix with my daily Jiaogulan. Marc gave me the idea to start experimenting with other herbs and spices. It’s been a delight to find how well fresh mint leaves pair with jiaogulan!
The tea already has a sweetness on its own, but the mint really complements that sweetness and brightens the flavor. If you’re into cold-brewed ice tea on a hot day, this is definitely the way to go!
Imagine having people over for a summer barbecue, then astounding them when you pull out a punch-bowl of mint jiaogulan ice tea with floating slices of lemon. A cold glass of jiaogulan on a summer afternoon? I think it’s “mint” to be...
See you in a couple cups!