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Herb Profile: Gynostemma

Gynostemma-300x199Since the dawn of civilization, traditional medical practitioners have been endeavoring to find cures for maladies and diseases that have been constantly afflicting mankind. Simultaneous with this search for cures was the search for the “Fountain of Youth” that could rejuvenate the human body and restore its vigor and youthfulness. Great and daring men had traveled the high seas to look for this fountain but failed. Maybe the fountain doesn’t really exist, or maybe it is just a metaphor and it exists in different forms like in the forms of plants or herbs. At present, the online information regarding natural medicines and health supplements are overflowing online. This overflowing of information may hold the secret to the elusive “herb of immortality,” and for this reason, it is not wise to readily dismiss of the findings of traditional medicines, for they may hold the so-called Fountain of Youth.

Gynostemma as the “Herb of Immortality”

Gynostemma is a climbing vine that belongs to cucumber/gourd (Cucurbitaceae) family. Gynostemma Pentaphyllum is an adaptogenic herb that is widely abundant in southern China, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Korea. Popularly known as Jiaogulan in China, Gynostemma is an adaptogenic herb with similar properties with, but unrelated to the Panax Ginseng. Due to this similarity, Gynostemma is often referred to as “Cheap Ginseng.” Gynostemma is also known as the “Southern Ginseng” in China in reference to its origin. Moreover, Gynostemma is also known by many other names like Xiancao, Amachazuru, Dungkulcha, and Immortality Herb.

Like the more popular Ginseng, Gynostemma contains triterpenoid saponins that provide its adaptogenic properties. The saponins found in Gynostemma are called Gypenosides. Gypenosides are responsible for Gynostemma’s antioxidant and adaptogenic properties as well as the regulation of the human body’s nitric oxide production.

What Does Gynostemma Do to the Body?

Being an adaptogenic herb, Gynostemma promotes homeostasis in a person’s body. Gynostemma’s gypenosides do the following to the human body:

  • It restores balance to the body’s physiology.
  • It invigorates the body.
  • It increases the body’s resistance to physical, emotional, chemical, environmental, and biological stress.
  • It regulates the body’s production of nitric oxide.

Gynostemma stabilizes the body bi-directionally by normalizing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, nervous system, and body weight. Likewise, Gynostemma’s adaptogenic properties have been found to have modulating effects on the immune system and adrenal glands. Moreover, it has a hepato-protective effect on the liver and anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

Gynostemma Counteracts Free Radicals

The human body produces its own antioxidants. These antioxidants are said to be more potent than other antioxidants digested by people. In actuality, there are several kinds of antioxidants in nature, and the most potent antioxidants are those of glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. These three antioxidants are essential to longevity and good health; however, they are very difficult, if not, almost impossible to obtain. Without these antioxidants, there is no way to counteract the destructive effects of the free radicals in the human body.

Free Radicals Steal Electrons from Substances in Human Cells

Free radicals oxidize, damage, and kill human cells. They do this by attacking and damaging the cell’s membranes, lipids, and DNA because they are capable of stealing electrons from the cell’s chemical structure. This action is called oxidation. If these minute destructive actions of free radicals remain unchecked, overtime this continuous loss of electrons can cause cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and many other maladies.

Gynostemma Promotes Longevity

Unlike other dietary supplements, Gynostemma’s action stimulates the human body to produce sufficient levels of antioxidants, especially, those of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. Superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase are clinically proven to promote good health and longevity.Furthermore, Gynostemma is known to be capable of regulating the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is probably the essential element for cardiovascular health. Nitric oxide is instrumental to the overall health of the arterial walls and prevents the formation of arterial plaques that eventually lead to strokes and heart attacks.

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