Gynostemma Studies – Powerful Stress Relieving Adaptogen
When it comes to stress, we could say it feels like being a rock on the beach. Stress comes crashing down on us in our busy lives from time to time, pounding away like waves from a wild sea.
Sure, no matter how overwhelming it gets, we learn to be resilient: to stand in place, unmoving, until the stress has passed. Still, each time this happens, a little piece of us gets taken away and floats out to sea.
That little piece of us may be a bit of good health: like a healthy relationship, a good eating habit, good energy, maybe even good mental clarity.
We all know the story. If we let the ocean of stress wash over us too much and with overwhelming force—while doing nothing about it—before long, it can have us whittled down to a tiny nub of what we used to be.
And while carving out time for self-care is important, not all of us can afford to.
INTRODUCING GYNOSTEMMA: THE ULTIMATE STRESS ADAPTOGEN
With that said, does this officially leave us stranded?
Not so if we call on the help of herbal adaptogens—and particularly the help of gynostemma (common name jiaogulan), an ancient plant shown to be one of the ultimate protectors against stress and its effects.
As the stories (and science) have told, this humble, unsuspecting plant has been consumed as a ritual tea by locals in a specific region of southern China for hundreds (and possibly thousands) of years.
Western scientists were absolutely astounded to find that these locals, compared to neighboring provinces, were centenarians that survived to the mind-blowing ages of 100 years and beyond! Their secret: their daily consumption of gynostemma.
It seemed that the plant helped protect the body against the onslaught of aging, stress, and its ill effects as a powerful tonic, much like the ginseng native to the not-too-distant regions of nearby Asia.
In fact, just like the famous ginseng itself, gynostemma falls into a category of therapeutic botanicals called adaptogens—botanical agents that could be some of our ultimate herbal guardians against stress.
ADAPTOGENS: WHAT THEY HAVE TO DO WITH STRESS
In ancient times, we called these herbs “tonics” because they strengthened overall health. Today, we call them “adaptogens” to make the true scope of their effects even clearer.
Namely: adaptogens are called thus because they help our bodies to “adapt” by better coping with stress, whether that is oxidative stress, internal stress, or mental stress.
In truth, sometimes these different levels of stress all manifest in the exact same ways, bring on the exact same symptoms…or they even go hand-in-hand. Science has even gone so far as to prove that when we experience tons of stress (at any age), this in effect speeds up the process of aging.
A 2013 review draws up many connections between the psychological stress we experience and the oxidative stress it literally triggers in the body.
Effects of oxidative stress are:
- Damaged DNA
- Chronic inflammation
- Increased cancer risk
- Low energy/fatigue
- Low immunity/high vulnerability to illness
- Cosmetic aging
- Increased risk of high stress, anxiety, depression
In summary: the more stressed out we are, the bigger a toll it takes on our bodies. In fact, it can make us age even more rapidly, since the body will start to rapidly break down and deteriorate the more stress it experiences.
With the help of an adaptogen like gynostemma, however, the oxidative stress from aging can be lessened—and partially through fighting psychological stress itself, which can be both a cause and effect of oxidative damage (as shown in a 2010 review).
What more, recent studies also reveal that one key to a long, healthy life may be in reducing stress as much as possible, as shown in this 2014 study. With this science, no wonder southern China’s locals lived to such long ages and in relatively healthy states!
HOW GYNOSTEMMA WORKS
History has its own story from China showing us how gynostemma promotes better health by reducing stress all-around. But how does it work exactly?
The Asian plant is apparently rich in what are called gypenosides, phytochemicals that are found within the gynostemma plant and no other. And it’s the studies on these compounds that show the herb’s promise as a powerful stress protector and healer.
Recent studies (one in 2011, one in 2013, and another in 2015) have tested how gynostemma effects subjects when they are exposed to great stress and anxiety. The outcomes were quite amazing: it appeared that the gypenosides helped balance dopamine and serotonin in the brain, two important hormones for regulating good mood, happiness, and relaxation.
In effect, gynostemma helped reduce anxiety and stress much better compared to those who didn’t take it. With this evidence, scientists are beginning to look at the Asian herb as a possible anti-anxiety or sedative treatment, not all that different from anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals!
In these studies, gynostemma also curbed corticosterone levels, a hormone that increases stress in the human body. While these studies were performed on mice (and not on humans), these results show some amazing potential exploration for human benefit.
Not only did gynostemma reveal stress-fighting properties comparable to anti-anxiety medication, a few trials have shown that it could take things even a step further: for one, by protecting negative impacts on the brain altogether.
This was seen in a 2015 study, where gynostemma stopped oxidative damage from happening particularly to neurons in the brain. Yet two more studies (one in 2010, one in 2012) revealed that this, in turn, could even prevent stress-related nervous diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s!
This way, gynostemma provides an extra defense against the negative impacts of stress on the brain. Not only does this adaptogenic botanical create noticeable therapeutic effects on acute stress in the short term, but it can also be effective as a long-term preventative of the very worst of stress fallout: damage to neurons and the brain.
Last but not least, research shows that gynostemma can have a hand in protecting against the absolute worst stage of stress and burnout—depression. In yet another study on mice in 2012, use of the herb showed superior benefits to reducing depression than other agents used during the trial.
In addition to gynostemma’s already impressive arsensal—providing short-term stress relief, along with valuable protection against stress damage—the added benefit of keeping depression at bay once again makes the ginseng-like botanical a stress remedy for the ages.
WHAT ELSE CAN GYNOSTEMMA DO?
If people think that a plant couldn’t get any more amazing in the realm of stress relief, then they’ll be in for quite the surprise!
Because the plant has adaptogenic qualities that protect the body from stress (of all kinds, both physical and mental), people will be pleased to hear that in addition to helping tame stress directly, gynostemma has a positive domino effect elsewhere throughout the whole body—and all because of its ability to prevent stress in the first place.
We all know that stress can inevitably have consequences in other aspects of our health: our focus, our energy, our digestion, the list goes on. By kicking stress to the curb with this miraculous adaptogen, many more health issues will also get rooted out with the help of this wonder herb.
LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
The more high-stress our lifestyle is, the more likely we’ll experience a rise in high blood pressure. Fortunately, high blood pressure is one of those health issues that gynostemma can help with.
In a 2012 study, the herb was observed lowering blood pressure in rats, specifically those who were already experiencing really high blood pressure. In those that didn’t have high blood pressure, levels stayed the same.
If both high stress and high blood pressure have become a part of one’s life—whether it is related to the other or not—with gynostemma, we could be killing two birds with one stone.
Get migraines when stressed? Apparently, studies show that gynostemma could also help with that. In a 2014 profile of gynostemma as a possible medicinal agent, clinical treatment of migraines was referenced as one of its effective and well-studied uses.
EASE STRESS-RELATED DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS
Along with migraines (and not to mention diabetes prevention and as well as other benefits), the journal also cited that gynostemma could have very plausible clinical effects on the digestive system.
Two of the issues it referenced: chronic gastritis (ongoing irritation of the digestive tract) as well as gastric ulcers. Both of these digestive upsets can be caused by stress.
Once again, gynostemma could have the ability to handle a lot more than just one dimension of stress problems but instead function as a very holistic, far-reaching remedy for many systems throughout the body.
PROTECT AGAINST CANCER
Of all discoveries surrounding the health benefits of this herb, there are none with more research and interest than gynostemma’s very promising anti-cancer capabilities.
Once again, even cancer can have its roots in stress. Chronic stress from a hectic, busy lifestyle (or even traumatic experience) opens the door to oxidative damage, as studies have shown. And in turn, oxidative damage (also called free radical damage) can be a key trigger to the growth of tumors and cancers of all kinds.
USE GYNOSTEMMA TO FIGHT STRESS – ALONG WITH OTHER HERBS
The jury is in, along with all the evidence: gynostemma (or jiaogulan) is an irreplaceable ally for health. If there is any one tonic herb to turn to for keeping the very worst of stress’s negative effects at bay, people won’t find a better one—not even among some of the world’s very best adaptogens!
Here at Primal Herb, we manufacture the purest, most sustainably-sourced gynostemma so people can conveniently experience the stress relieving benefits for themselves at home and for wherever they are in life: old or young, stressed or unstressed.
Regardless of where people are at, our gynostemma extracts provide the very best in stress protection. That being said, everyone can take stress relief and protection to the next level by pairing it with even more stress-relieving herbs, clinically supported and proven by research to bring even more benefits.
Combine our gynostemma extract with our Tranquil Mind formula, which includes, even more, stress-reducing herbs: such as ashwagandha, passion flower, schisandra, and griffonia simplicifolia, all equally well-studied and praised for their stress-reducing potential. Fight stress with every possible ally and at every possible angle!
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Stefania Schiavone, Vincent Jaquet, Luigia Trabace, Karl-Heinze Kraus (2013). Severe Life Stress and Oxidative Stress in the Brain: From Animal Models to Human Pathology. Antioxidants and Redox Signaling 18(12) 1475-1490. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3603496/
Liris Hovatta, Juuso Juhila, Jonas Donner (2010). Oxidative stress in anxiety and comorbid disorders. Neuroscience Research 68(4) 261-275. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168010210027793
Elissa S. Epel, Gordon J. Lithgow (2014). Stress Biology and Aging Mechanisms: Toward Understanding the Deep Connection Between Adaptation to Stress and Longevity. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A Vol. 69 Issue Suppl_1, S10-S16. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/69/Suppl_1/S10/586943/Stress-Biology-and-Aging-Mechanisms-Toward
Zhao T.T., Shin K.S., Choi H.S., Lee M.K. (2015). Ameliorating effects of gypenosides on chronic stress-induced anxiety disorders in mice. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 15(323). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26370834
Hyun Sook Choi, Ting Ting Zhao, Keon Sung Shin, Seung Hwan Kim, Bang Yeon Hwang, Chong Kil Lee, Myung Koo Lee (2013). Anxiolytic Effects of Herbal Ethanol Extract from Gynostemma pentaphyllum in Mice after Exposure to Chronic Stress. Molecules 18(4) 4342-4356. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/4/4342/htm
Dong Jia, Chunguang Rao, Shengxiang Xue, Jinli Lei (2015). Purification, characterization and neuroprotective effects of a polysaccharide from Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Carbohydrate Polymers 122(20) 93-100. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0144861714012284
Hyun Sook Choi, Mi Sook Park, Seung Hwan Kim, Bang Yeon Hwang, Chong Kil Lee, Myung Koo Lee (2010). Neuroprotective Effects of Herbal Ethanol Extracts from Gynostemma pentaphyllum in the 6-Hydroxydopamine-Lesioned Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease. Molecules 15(4) 2814-2824. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/4/2814
Zhou Wei-Hua, Tan Li-Ming, Mi Chang-Zhong (2012). Effects of gypenosides on the hippocampal cholinergic system in D-galactose induced Alzheimer’s disease in mice. Chinese Journal of Gerontology Retrieved from http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-ZLXZ201222042.htm
Wang Jun-Ming, Wang Shuai, Cui Ying (2012). Antidepressant Activities of Extracts from Gynostemma pentaphyllum. Lishizhen Medicine and Materia Medica Research Retrieved from http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-SZGY201204014.htm
Liang Xiao-Hui, Li Wei-Jian, Chen Wen-Pu, Yang Li-Li, Chen Zhi-Ming, Chen Li-Xin, Weng Wen, Zhu Lin-Yan (2012). Anti-hypertensive Effect of Gypenosides in High-glucose-and-Fat-induced Hypertension in Rats. Lishizhen Medicine and Materia Medica Research Retrieved from http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-SZGY201210016.htm
Hildebert Wagner, Rudolf Bauer, Dieter Melchart, Pei-Gen Xiao, Anton Staudinger (2014). Herba Gynostemmatis – Jiaogulan. Chromatographic Fingerprint Analysis of Herbal Medicines Volume III 55-67. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-06047-7_6
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