Posted by Ryan • Thursday, February 7th, 2013
Gynostemma: One Herb, Many Benefits
By C. Erich Cook, L.Ac.
You have probably never heard of Gynostemma before. In Asia it’s known as “miracle grass” due to its myraid of benefits. In many ways, I consider Gynostemma a perfect complement to one’s health regime.
A few amazing effects of taking Gynostemma are:
- It is a powerful antioxidant
- It combats pain and inflammation
- It increases endurance levels
- It decreases insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes
- It lowers “bad” cholesterol while raising “good” cholesterol
- It decreases triglycerides
But the benefits go way beyond these. This herb has been able to help decrease obesity in animal subjects, protect liver cells from damage, lower blood pressure, and help protect the stomach lining from ulcers. Gynostemma is a major adaptogen meaning it increases the body’s ability to adapt to environmental and internal stress and stabilize physiological functioning. Many well-known Chinese herbs function as adaptogens. Two popular products at Adams Avenue Integrative Health are combinations of different adaptogens, each with their own unique benefits. (See “Dragon Herbs: Super Adaptogen” and “Spring Dragon Longevity Tea” pictured above)
Gynostemma is known to have a balancing effect on the nervous system, providing mild stimulation when one is tired, or being slightly sedative when one is nervous. I’ve heard from patients how drinking the tea before bed can be profoundly relaxing, but taken in the daytime it is a great little “pick-me-up”. Double direction activity is often a hallmark sign of an adaptogen. As an example, ginseng can raise or lower blood pressure depending on dosage.
This year’s flu season is the worst in years. This wonder herb can bolster immunity by increasing the number of T-cells and Natural Killer cells which are your first line of defense against viral invaders. It also provides respiratory support by moistening the lungs and dispelling phlegm.
For all the above reasons it is regarded as a major anti-aging herb. It has shown to prolong lifespan in animal studies and in a human study two month’s consumption of the herb reduced general signs of aging including fatigue, lack of energy, aversion to cold, diarrhea, poor memory, decreased balance, insomnia and excessive dreams.
One of the best things about the herb is that it is almost universally benefiting without major side effects. Those with sensitive stomachs should avoid strong extracts or take it with food. Because of its blood-thinning and mild diuretic properties, persons taking prescription medication should consult with a qualified health professional to determine compatibility.
Adams Avenue Integrative Health offers two retail products that contain Gynostemma. We also take special orders for Pure Gynostemma capsules.
Spring Dragon Tea $9
Gynostemma leaves infused with adaptogen extracts
Super Adaptogen $23
Pure Gynostemma capsules $23