Jiaogulan is a plant that grows wild in China its leaf is used to make medicine. Jiaogulan is sometimes referred to as “Southern Ginseng” because it grows in south central China and is used in similar ways as ginseng. As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, it is related to the watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin and other melons and gourds. There are several health benefits attributed to drinking jiaogulan tea, with no documented toxicity or drug interactions.
Chinese studies have shown that Jiaogulan can improve the ability of the muscles and the liver to change sugar into energy instead of fat. By doing this, the blood’s HDL will go down and the LDLs will go up, lowering cholesterol significantly. Plus, Jiaogulan can stop platelets from collecting in the blood, which could have brought about high cholesterol, as well. While it is great for rectifying high cholesterol and obesity problems, it can also improve and strengthen the digestion, allowing an underweight person to increase absorption of nutrients and gain weight in the form of lean muscle mass. This regulatory effect on bodily functions is the hallmark of an adaptogen.
It also improves athletic performance and may be beneficial in reducing cellular aging and age-related illness. Patients using Jiaogulan experience renewed energy, mental alertness, sounder sleep, and a better balance in their stress response. It’s been found to balance the bodies hormonal and nervous system response so that it calms and soothes stress, but provides stimulation and energy if you’re tired or depressed. The tea is rich in glutathione and superoxide dismutase, two antioxidants that protect the body’s cells from damage, preventing illness and starting the healing process naturally.
Athletes also use this herb to enhance their performance, as jiaogulan has been found to enhance the heart pumping function, improving contractility of the heart muscle. Endurance during heightened physical activity and recovery afterwards are the most pronounced benefits.