The Healthy “Ginseng” Jiaogulan Tea

What is Jiaogulan tea?

Jiaogulan tea, is also known as Gynostemmapentaphyllum.

It can be bought from most good health food shops and has a taste similar to green tea. It is native to China where it is often referred to as “Southern Ginseng” due to the comparable medicinal properties.

It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, with beneficial effects reported to include the treatment of inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Jiaogulan Tea.

It is said that people from the Mountainous regions of Southern China would drink the tea before work to increase energy and stamina, and that many people from the Guizhou province who drank the tea lived to be over 100 years old.

This has given the tea a grand-mystique in towns and villages of China for centuries, with some locals even referring to it as “the tea of immortality”.
The tea’s legendary reputation for delaying the effects of aging was reinforced by a census of China taken during the 1970s.  Upon investigation, it was confirmed that people living in regions where Jiaogulan tea was a popular drink, had a much greater likelihood of living into their 100s.

Jiaogulan tea- Rich Anti Oxidant source

This impact upon longevity may be due to the fact that the tea is a proven adaptogen and antioxidant- it can enhance one’s ability to cope and respond to the physiological effects of stress. Recent studies have also suggested that the tea may have anti-cancer properties; due to it’s capacity to act as an antioxidant and to directly influence the death (apoptosis) of cancer cells.

The antioxidant effect was demonstrated by a study conducted by Wang &Luo in 2007 and Razmovski-Naumovski et al, 2005, who attributed the antioxidant value of the tea, to a substance called “gypenoside”, a type of saponin.

Saponins are phytochemicals which have beneficial effects on cholesterol, the immune system and prevention of cancer.  They have the distinctive ability to produce foam when soaked in water, and are found in several plants such as legumes and yucca. There are several studies to suggest that saponins can help to prevent cancer, particularly colon cancer.

Health Benefits of Jiaogulan tea


1. Adaptogen – the tea helps to neutralise the physical effects of stress and fatigue, and enhances stamina. It helps to keep the body ‘in balance’ i.e. if the body shows signs of stress and/or fatigue, adaptogens will help to bring it back to the natural state in terms of stress hormones etc.

2. Cholesterol Reduction – saponins contained in the leaves help reduce blood-cholesterol levels, by combining with secondary bile acid and cholesterol and preventing the body from absorbing them.

3. Immunity booster – the antioxidant properties of the tea, and the saponins within the leaves help to boost the immune system.

4. May help prevent cancer – gypenoside has been linked to the death of cancer cells, and may particularly help to prevent bowel cancer.

5. Anti aging – by virtue of its ability to scavenge free radicals and act as an antioxidant; the tea can potentially prevent some of the effects of aging.  It has also been suggested that the tea may increase longevity and susceptibility to certain conditions by reducing nitric-oxide production in the body.



Whilst jiaogulan tea may not have gained the popularity of the likes of green tea; it certainly has many noteworthy health benefits that justify giving it a try.  What makes jiaogulan unique from other teas is the huge array of health benefits it offers. From cholesterol reduction, to treating diabetes, insomnia and bronchitis, consider picking some up next time you are in a health food store or Chinese herbalist’s.


About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. A Stoic Hippy with no hair. Not to boast but - 1st Class Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough, MSc in Nutrition from the University of Liverpool. 20 years experience of weight & fitness training.
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